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    6 Most Common Dog Health Problems

    When Fleas Find Your Dog

    It takes just three weeks for one flea to turn into an infestation of 1,000 biting bugs. A very common canine health problem, fleas are easy for your dog to pick up, but they're also easy to treat. Signs your dog may have fleas include:

    • Excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin
    • Hair loss
    • Hot spots
    • Allergic dermatitis (allergic response caused by contact)
    • Tapeworms (which are carried by fleas)
    • Flea dirt (looks like small black dots) against your dog's skin

    Untreated, fleas not only make your dog intensely uncomfortable, they can also cause allergic reactions, infections, and even lead to anemia from blood loss.

    Talk to your vet about the right flea medicine for your dog, which may include collars, oral medicine, shampoos, sprays, or topical liquids.

    Read more about flea control and prevention in dogs.

    How to Help Hot Spots in Your Dog

    They’re commonly known as hot spots, but the medical term for those bare, inflamed, red areas you often see on dogs is acute moist dermatitis -- a bacterial skin infection. Anything that irritates your dog's skin enough to make him scratch or chew can lead to the pain and itch of hot spots, which, if left untreated, can quickly grow larger.

    A hot spot's location can help your vet diagnose its cause. Fleas, for example, may be the source of a hip hot spot, while a hot spot at the ear might point to ear problems.

    Treating hot spots may involve shaving and cleaning the irritated area, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, or topical medications, depending on how bad the hot spots are, and how much pain your pooch is in.

    Read more about hot spots in dogs.

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