Learn the most common dog health problems your pup might encounter so you can be proactive in maintaining your dog’s optimal health.

You already know preventative care is essential in maintaining your pet’s good health and well being. And that’s why you’ll want to read the 2016 “State of Pet Health” Report from Banfield Pet Hospital.

Compiled from the nearly 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats seen in Banfield hospitals in 2015, the report lists the top 10 most common diagnoses in dogs and cats. Additionally, it details six specific health conditions that are increasingly affecting our pets and have a considerable impact on our pet’s overall health.

The health issues outlined in the report are below, along with notable highlights. What’s significant about these conditions is they’re preventable. With awareness of symptoms to watch for in your dog or cat, and preventative measures to discuss with your vet and put into action, you can help your pet stay healthy.

Find a link to the study in its entirety below and read about symptoms, preventative treatments and a breakdown of the health concerns by a dog or cat’s age, breed, and geographical location.

Dental Disease

Named the most common disease in dogs and cats, dental disease affects 76% of dogs and 68% of cats over age 3, and its prevalence is on the rise with an 8% increase in dogs since the initial report five years ago. Dental disease includes tartar, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and other conditions affecting the teeth and gums, and in severe cases, it can lead to bacterial infections that impact the heart, liver and other vital organs.

Prevention: Regular teeth cleaning, weekly brushing (try a piece of gauze wrapped around your fingertip if a toothbrush sounds too daunting), chew and rope toys that promote dental health and other dental cleaning options (see Woof Report’s past tip for more on the topic).

Otitis Externa (Ear Infection)

While there has been a 6.4% decrease in the prevalence of otitis externa (inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal) since the 2011 study, it’s still a prevalent condition with 12.9 cases per 100 dogs. It remains very common in some breeds, particularly Golden Retrievers with 1 in 4 and Labrador Retrievers with 1 in 5 receiving the diagnosis. The condition common can become chronic, which is expensive to treat, and uncomfortable for your pet. Worse yet, if left untreated, the infection can spread further into the ear and eventually lead to hearing loss.

Prevention: Weekly ear cleaning (particularly for dogs that love to swim or spend time outdoors, and those with long floppy ears) and other preventive care techniques your vet may recommend as needed.


Diabetes mellitus, linked to obesity, is a serious health concern which for adult, mature adult and geriatric dogs and cats. Just as diabetes is increasing in humans, Banfield hospitals saw a 79.7% increase in canine diabetes since 2006.

Prevention: Manage your pet’s healthy weight through proper nutrition and exercise (see Woof Report’s favorite site for useful info and tips for pet weight control, petobesityprevention.com). Also, monitor your pet’s health and see your vet regularly so he or she can detect any early signs of diabetes.

Luckily the prevalence of some preventable health concerns is decreasing.

Since Banfield first published their State of Pet Health report in 2006, the prevalence of the following health concerns is actually decreasing overall.

Fleas and Ticks

Prevention: Choose and regularly administer an EPA-approved spot-on treatment, chewable pills, shampoos, rinses or other treatments. In addition, check your dog for ticks when returning from the outdoors where ticks may be present. An interesting note from the report to tell your cat friends: The prevalence of fleas in cats (10.9 cases per 100) is almost twice that of dogs (5.9 cases per 100).


Prevention: Annual heartworm tests for dogs and year-round preventative medications. (A heartworm test is required prior to receiving a prescription for preventatives since the medication cannot be given to dogs that test positive).

Internal Parasites

Prevention: Deworming medication as needed and administered by a vet.

The Scoop:

View or download the 38-page “State of Pet Health” report its entirety.

Thank you to maskedcard on flickr for the photo of Piper.