The Top 5 Reasons Dogs End Up At The Vet–And How To Prevent It


You take your pooch for her annual check-up, but some ailments warrant more than just a once-yearly vet visit. According to a pet insurance company and an Ontario-based vet, we’ve compiled some of the most common reasons that pets go to the doctor.

Life is certainly unpredictable, but the more you know, the more you can try to do to prevent certain health issues from happening–and possibly, from happening again!

5 Of The Most Common Reasons Patients Make Appointments, According To A Vet

1. Bad Breath / Teeth Issues 

“Brushing teeth is great and you should start your pet when they are young to at least get them used to the idea and the feeling,” Dr. Llera writes on the OSPCA blog.  “You’ll want to use an enzymatic pet toothpaste since human toothpastes can damage the enamel of your pets’ teeth.”

He adds, “When it comes to dental cleanings, it can be expensive because your pet needs an anesthetic.  It’s better to have a prophylactic [disease-preventative] cleaning done before the teeth get so bad that extractions are required.”

(Side note: We at iHeartDogs are passionate about dental care, because the effects are far more serious than just stinky dog breath. We recently launched a line of Grain free, Triple Enzyme dental brushing chews that our pups have been going nuts for)

2. Limping

Of course this can happen when your energetic dog has an accidental tumble at the dog park, but older arthritic dogs can also develop a limp.

“As pets live longer, we are seeing more cases of arthritis but you can help by starting a glucosamine supplement,” says Dr. Llera.  “Other medications, along with keeping them at a good body weight, can also help alleviate discomfort.”

He also adds that the culprit could be a torn ACL, so if the limp lasts more than a day, consult with your vet. In the meantime, don’t let your dog run free, which could cause even more damage.

3. Urinary Issues

“Females are prone to infections whereas males suffer more problems from bladder crystals or stones,” Dr. Llera says.  “To help reduce this risk, it’s always a great idea to keep your pet at an ideal body weight as obesity has been shown to make these problems worse.”

4. Gastro-Intestinal Problems

While the occasional upset tummy happens to all of us, Dr. Llera explains that you should not wait several days to see your vet if your dog is consistently vomiting, has diarrhea, or isn’t eating.

“If you ever see blood in the stool or vomit, they should be seen right away,” he says. “Bottom line, if they still won’t eat, are lethargic, vomiting or having diarrhea for more than 24 hours, then it’s time for a check up.”

5. Vaccines

While it’s very important to keep your pup up-to-date with his shots, Dr. Llera explains that routine vet visits are even more pertinent in regards to your pup’s continued health.

“I want to stress that vaccines are important but not the most important part of these visits,” he says. “The actual examination is the most critical part of the visit as it allows us to assess your pet’s total body health and possibly find problems before they become more serious.  It also gives us a chance to discuss the things you should be watching for especially as your pet gets older.”

Have you taken your pooch to the vet for any of these reasons?

Sources: Veterinary Pet Insurance / Ontario SPCA and Humane Society

The 10 Most Common Pet Insurance Claims For Dogs In 2015

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) compiled a list of the 10 most common conditions that policy holders claimed in 2015.

1. Ear Infections

2. Skin Allergies

3. Arthritis

4. Hot Spots

5. Soft Tissue Trauma (which includes “sprains, strains, and pulled muscles,” according to

6. Stomach Upsets

7. Intestinal Inflammation / Diarrhea

8. Hypothyroidism (symptoms can include flaky skin, weight gain, sluggishness, toenail & ear infections, and intolerance to cold, according to WebMD)

9. Benign Skin Tumor

10. Eye Infections


Many of these common ailments are also regular issues that one vet sees when he’s treating his patients in Canada. Dr. Ryan Llera wrote a blog for the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society (OSPCA) describing 5 of the most common reasons he gets visits from both canine and kitty clients. With each point, Dr. Llera also gives some sound advice. (To read the entire post, click here.)

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