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10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy During the Holidays

Dogs rely so much on their humans to keep them healthy. A proper diet, regular exercise, grooming, and routine check-ups at the veterinarian will help keep your dog in top form. It’s also important for you to get to know your dog’s habits like eating, drinking, sleeping, and so forth since sometimes, a variation in those habits can be an indication that he isn’t feeling well. During the holiday just like us, humans and our dog friends are most likely susceptible to illnesses and diseases. Let us go over our friend's common diseases and how to keep them away from them.

Common Holiday Illness

Holiday Allergy

In a pet with an allergy, the immune system overreacts and produces antibodies to substances that it would normally tolerate. This excessive response is termed an allergic or hypersensitive reaction. Allergies can develop into any substance that a pet is frequently exposed to, such as food, fleas, seasonal environmental allergens (like pollen or grass), or indoor allergens (like dust mites or mold). There is no cure for food allergies in dogs. The only treatment is avoidance. Some dogs will require medication during severe episodes, but most pets can be successfully treated with a hypoallergenic diet. As much as possible let us keep our dog friend away from dust, pollen, or grass.

Canine Influenza

Canine Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory viral infection that can cause kennel cough. It is transmitted between dogs in close proximity to each other. Common symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, breathing difficulties, variable fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Vaccination can reduce the risk of a dog contracting canine influenza. Vaccination may not altogether prevent an infection, but it may reduce the severity and duration of clinical illness. The canine influenza vaccine is a "lifestyle" vaccine and is not recommended for every dog.

Ear Infections

If your dog suffers from recurring ear infections, it’s very likely that allergies are the culprit and the most likely allergens are corn, wheat, and soy in their food. However, dogs with large, pendulous ears tend to be more susceptible to ear infections. If you notice your dog scratching or pawing at his ears, shaking his head, or rubbing his ear against the floor or furniture, that is a good indication that he may have an ear infection. More severe symptoms might include redness of the ear canal, scabs or crusts around the ear, hair loss around the ear, balance issues, walking in circles, pain, and hearing loss.

Dental Disease

Oral infections are actually the most common dog disease and tend to become an issue in dogs after the age of three. Tartar and gingivitis are among the most common oral issues while the more severe periodontal diseases, such as abscesses tend to occur more often in older dogs in the later stages of their life. Symptoms of dental disease are bad breath, loose teeth, changes in appetite particularly refusal to eat dry food, discharge of blood or pus from the mouth, drooling, bad temper, lumps on the gums or under the tongue, and discolored teeth and gums. Treatments for dental disease include teeth cleaning, extractions, and sometimes even a root canal is needed. All of these treatments would need to be administered by your dog’s vet. Oral care for your pet is very important and regular vet visits are the best way to keep the serious dental disease at bay. If your pet is groomed regularly, ask your groomer to clean his teeth as well.

Kennel Cough

Also known as canine tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a highly contagious and infectious disease. It is transmitted through the air, usually in areas where there is a dense population of dogs such as a kennel or a show. The treatment for kennel cough is usually administered as a nasal spray, although there is an injection available for dogs who find it extremely uncomfortable. Common symptoms include dry hacking or honking cough, retching, and nasal discharge. Most dogs that contract kennel cough will show a lack of appetite, but some may not. The illness may progress into secondary pneumonia and include a high temperature, lethargy, and in extreme cases death. Just like any other immune system ailment, it is always important to have the dogs completely vaccinated.


Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems. To avoid this from happening Make sure your dog is up-to-date on his vaccinations. Parvovirus should be considered a core vaccine for all puppies and adult dogs. Generally, the first vaccine is given at 6-8 weeks of age and a booster is given at four-week intervals until the puppy is 16-20 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age. Older dogs who have not received full puppy vaccination series may be susceptible to parvovirus and should also receive at least one immunization.

Doggy Diarrhea

Diarrhea in dogs, as with vomiting, can have lots of causes, including stress, infections like parvovirus, intestinal parasites, and food problems. Diarrhea symptoms are pretty obvious -- look for loose, watery, or liquid stool. Because diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration, be sure your dog has plenty of clean water available, then take your pooch to the vet if diarrhea persists for more than a day, or immediately if there's also fever, lethargy, vomiting, dark or bloody stools, or loss of appetite.


Vomiting is a common dog health problem, with dozens of possible causes, from infection or intestinal parasites to pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, an obstruction in the stomach or intestine, or poisoning. Symptoms include abdominal heaving and drooling caused by nausea. If your dog also has diarrhea, blood in the vomit seems lethargic, continues vomiting, or can't hold down liquids, contact your vet right away to prevent life-threatening dehydration. Treatment depends on what's causing a dog's distress and may include fluid therapy, drugs to control vomiting, surgery for obstructions, and homemade foods like well-cooked skinless chicken, boiled potatoes, and rice.


Ringworm is a fungus that can affect the skin, hair, and nails. This disease can lead to patchy areas of hair loss on a dog and can spread to other animals and to humans too. Symptoms include skin lesions, patchy, crusted, circular red bald spots, and broken hairs. Ringworm usually happens to malnourished, immunocompromised, and stressed dogs. So it is safe to say that to keep our dog friends from getting ringworm we need to give them nutritious food, do daily dog walks, and always keep them away from other dog friends with the given symptoms.


Rabies is a viral disease that can often be fatal. It is usually transmitted when an animal that carries the disease, like a fox or bat, bites the dog, but it can also be transmitted via a wound on the dog from the saliva of these animals. There are two forms of rabies, “furious” and “paralytic”. Furious rabies causes dogs to develop extreme behavioral changes and will make them extremely aggressive. Paralytic rabies causes weakness and loss of coordination, and finally paralysis. If your dog has been bitten or scratched by another animal, or you suspect that he might have come in contact with rabies, get in touch with your vet immediately. It is important that you contact your vet even if your dog has been vaccinated against the disease.


There are 10 most common illnesses/ailments during the holiday. These are allergies, Canine Influenza, Ear Infections, Dental Disease, Kennel Cough, Parvovirus, Doggy Diarrhea, Vomiting, Ringworm, and Rabies. Since during the holiday everyone including our dog friend is free from eating any food than usual, travel is most common and of course, close contact with the fellow dog is very rampant it is typically more possible for them to get ill. It is advised to always be very vigilant with their food intake and always make sure that they are vaccinated to enjoy the holiday.



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