Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

5 Often-Overlooked Dog Care Areas

Learn these five overlooked dog care areas.

Even though we all love our dogs, some areas of their health care often get ignored. Usually, that isn't intentional—it's just because these issues can be "invisible." Check them out and learn how to care for them, so your pet can have better quality and quantity of life.

Ear Health

Canine ear care can be a bit mystifying to some dog owners. Especially for floppy-eared dogs, problems can hide in the ear canals, unseen and untreated.

Many dogs suffer from chronic ear infections, either secondary to another condition like allergies or because they are swimmers and often have wet ears. It's essential that you learn to check your dog's ears and possibly even learn to clean them regularly to help avoid infections

Lift your dog's ear flap and examine the skin surrounding and just inside the canal. If it is red, stinky, or has a brown, yellow, red, or white discharge, visit a veterinarian right away.

Dental Health

Your dog's mouth is another spot that often goes unchecked because it's usually hidden behind dog-lips. But most dogs have some degree of dental disease by the time they are three years old, and that can result in pain, suffering, infections, and even systemic conditions like heart valve disease when bacteria from the mouth are swallowed.

Learn to brush your dog's teeth at home, and do so daily if possible. Make sure you have your vet look at your dog's mouth every time you go for a routine exam, and follow any recommendations the doctor gives you. Dogs need periodic dental cleanings done under anesthesia, so plaque and tartar can be cleaned out from under the gum line and any problems identified and addressed.

Taking good care of your dog's mouth can add years to his life.


It's easy for a pet owner to miss the fact that their dog is gaining too much weight. That's because when you are looking at your dog every day, you tend not to see he's losing his waist.

It's crucial that you know your dog's weight and body conditions score and take steps to help him reach and maintain his most healthy weight. Ask your doctor for a weight evaluation every time you go in and follow any recommendations.

Obesity is widespread in dogs, and it can cause or exacerbate all kinds of medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Parasite Control

All too often, people forget about parasite control for their dog until they see a flea or tick on them or they develop severe scratching. It's crucial that you ask your veterinarian the best parasite prevention plan for your individual dog and your geographic area.

Fleas and ticks can transmit illnesses to your dog, and allergies to them can be severe and miserable. For instance, if a dog is allergic to flea saliva, just one flea bite can cause a horrible, itchy reaction that may last for weeks, especially if a secondary bacterial infection takes hold.

Don't forget that parasite control includes heartworm preventative. Heartworm disease is widely prevalent in the US, and it's spread by the bites of infected mosquitoes. Once a dog is infected, the condition can be deadly without costly and dangerous treatment.

Joint Problems

Arthritis is common as dogs age. Unfortunately, the signs associated with it are often dismissed as normal age-related slowing down. That means that lots of dogs suffer from pain and decreased mobility related to arthritis in silence.

Arthritis can cause a dog to be stiff when getting up from a lying or sitting position, decreased interest in exercising or playing, and even decreased appetite and lethargy. Learn more: "Arthritis in Dogs."

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