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Common Health Issues In Puppies

There is nothing greater than bringing a new puppy into your home.

With a new puppy comes a lot of responsibility, which most pet parents are ready to take on.

Yet, what many new puppy owners might not realize is that while most puppies are generally healthy, there are many diseases that can occur in puppies that need to be monitored.

If left untreated, these illnesses can become life-long issues as the puppy grows up.

The 8 Most Common Health Issues In Puppies

Cute Healthy puppy chewing on toy


When puppies are seven weeks to six months of age, they are the most susceptible to parvo.

Younger puppies will still have the mother’s antibodies to protect against Parvo.


  • Vomiting
  • Bloody Diarrhea
  • Weight Loss
  • Weakness, lethargy
  • Depression

Of course, all of these are symptoms of other illnesses, but it’s important to take your dog to the vet if you notice any of these issues.

Vaccinations for Parvo need to be given to puppies at ages up to 12 weeks old.

Puppies are vulnerable to Parvo until the whole series of vaccinations have been administered to the puppy.

If a puppy gets Parvo, hospitalization is usually the safest way to rid your puppy of the disease.  IV fluids are usually administered as well as antibiotics.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is another infectious disease that can be very harmful to a puppy.


  • Upper respiratory condition
  • Sneezing
  • Eye Discharge
  • Sometimes pneumonia

Canine Distemper is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms are very similar to a cold.

If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms, take your puppy to your veterinarian.

It will take some time to recover and your puppy will usually require respiratory medication and treatment.

The vaccination for distemper is very effective. There are two different vaccinations from eight weeks of age and then again after 10 weeks.

Make sure that your puppy doesn’t interact with any puppies that have not yet had all their vaccinations.

Make sure to discuss with your vet the best course of action against distemper.


Puppies are a magnet for many different parasites.

Intestinal parasites, even hookworms, and roundworms are found in many puppies.

The best way to remove these parasites is with deworming medicine.

There are also parasites (external) that can weaken a puppy’s immunity and include ticks, fleas, and scabies that usually result in mange.

There are many flea and tick medications that can rid of both fleas and ticks on the market (ask your vet for a puppy- safe recommendation).

If you think your puppy might have mange with any hair loss, scabby or itchy skin, it is important to see the vet for an evaluation and prescription.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious disease caused by a parasite, Dirofilaria Immitis, which will reside in the lungs, heart, and intestine of an infected puppy.

Mosquitoes spread heartworm disease.

The disease can cause heart failure, lung disease and even deadly.

It can take up to eight months before any puppy shows any of the signs of Heartworm disease.


  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Heart failure
  • Mild cough

Heartworm disease can be easily prevented with a chewable medication that your vet can prescribe.

These pills are typically given to dogs less than 6 months old and without any extra blood work.

There are also topical solutions that can help with Heartworm disease that are applied to your puppy’s skin.

Lyme Disease

This disease is caused by the bite on an infected tick, which can cause lameness and arthritis in puppies.

Lyme disease is more prevalent in certain areas of the United States: the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, and upper Midwestern states.

Lyme disease can cause heart, kidney, and even neurological problems in puppies if not treated properly.

Lyme disease, also known as a zoonotic disease, can be spread from puppies to humans and the reverse.


  • Fatigue
  • Puppy is tired all the time
  • Pain in joints
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever

Symptoms come and go and can last for months.

Treatment of Lyme disease typically antibiotics or other meds to help alleviate the pain in the joints and any other symptoms.

Most dogs will improve quickly but it’s always best to finish the full treatment which can take up to 30 days.

Watch your puppy for any sign of relapse.


Regular testing is the best way to see if your puppy has Lyme disease.

Even if your dog is using tick medication, it remains a good idea to get blood work done occasionally.

Congenital Conditions

Puppies can be born with some genetic health issues that are referred to as congenital conditions that should be taken care of right away.

Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose any condition immediately.

The most common abnormalities in male pups are when the puppy’s testicles don’t form properly and need to be removed surgically.

A few other congenital abnormalities can include umbilical cord hernias, heart failure, and hip dysplasia.

Injuries and Accidents

Puppies are known to be super energetic and with that excitement comes a lot of injuries.

Scratches, fractures, injured paws, and even fractured teeth are not uncommon.

After all, they are running around exploring the world and don’t understand what is dangerous and what is safe!

Always be aware of your puppy in new environments and if anything happens, you should see your vet as soon as possible.

The sooner you see the vet, the more likely you will help not only fix this injury but it can help prevent future or chronic injuries.

Eating Something Foreign

Puppies love to put everything in their mouths from socks to shoes or anything they can chew on and sometimes swallow.

Of course, with this inquisitiveness and lack of awareness, many puppies can and do swallow something that they shouldn’t.

Your puppy will typically get rid of it by pooping or vomiting.

But, if you see something missing or that your dog is lethargic and can’t go to the bathroom, take your puppy to the vet right away.

Anything foreign in your puppy’s body can cause sickness and sometimes damage to his intestines if left untreated.

Usually, the object will come out naturally.

And, if the cause is not a parasite, it is important to make sure your puppy is drinking enough fluids.

While puppies are mostly healthy, there are some issues that can occur. Or even accidents that can lead to longtime injuries.

And, while it might seem counterintuitive, pet insurance can be really important from puppyhood and throughout your dog’s life.

The rates are very low to start and can help with those big, unexpected medical bills if your puppy eats something harmful, has a congenital condition, or even minor injuries.

If your puppy is behaving differently or if his or her pooping habits change, be certain to take your newest family member to the vet.

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