9 Dog Diseases That Should Be Avoided

Although sometimes difficult to avoid, the risk of catching canine diseases and infections can be minimalised.

Most diseases are spread where there are many dogs in close proximity such as dog shows and boarding kennels so it always pays to be mindful whenever your dog is exposed in these situations.

Airborne diseases and infections can easily enter into the bloodstream and can be contracted from feeding bowls, common feeding areas in parks, bedding, and infected grooming equipment. They can also be contracted from infected insects or due to close proximity with other dogs. Generally, other diseases fall into the category of physical contact with saliva and feceas.

Canine Coronavirus

This is a highly contagious intestinal infection and can affect both wild and domesticated dogs. This virus is limited to the upper two-thirds of the small intestines.

Often there may be no symptoms and the infection can clear up on its own. However, it can cause complications for puppies and dogs that could have other infections and underlying conditions.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration occur, treatment will involve administering extra fluids and electrolytes. Many older dogs can have no symptoms but as with all symptoms, if you suspect that your dog has contracted coronavirus it is important to get him to your vet as it can be fatal for puppies.

Canine Distemper

This is a serious viral disease and can be transmitted through the air from one dog to another. As it is highly contagious and there is no known cure and for this reason it’s important to have your dog vaccinated against it.

Symptoms can include high temperature, heavy breathing, lethargy, runny nose, red eyes, coughing, general loss of appetite. Also, diarrhea and vomiting.

Because this disease is highly infectious you need to call your vet’s receptionist first so that they can arrange a visit without being in contact with other dogs in the waiting room area.

Canine Hepatitis

Also known as Rubarth Disease, Canine Hepatitis is a viral disease that can often be mistaken for canine distemper.
It can be transmitted via saliva, blood, urine and feces. Because this disease infects the liver and kidneys, symptoms similar to jaundice may occur.

Other symptoms include high temperature, loss of appetite, depression, coughing, vomiting, pale gums and abdominal pain.

It is imperitive to clear up your dogs faeces and avoid contact with other dogs if you suspect canine hepatitis. Contact your vet imediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Canine Influenza

This viral respiratory infection is a highly contagious airbourne disease that can cause kennel cough and because of this it can easily transmitted between dogs in close proximity.

Symptoms can includelethargy, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties, coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge.

If left untreated, canine influenza virus can lead to complications like pneumonia. It is for this reason that you should contact your vet as soon as you can.

Canine Parainfluenza Virus

As with canine influenza, the canine parainfluenza virus is contagious and affects the respiratory area. This airbourne virus is the most common contributing cause of kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis).

It can be contracted through contact with other dogs in close proximity – kennels and shared dog bowls being a common source.

Although antibiotics will be prescribed by your vet for this virus, it is worth noting that your dog can pass on the vurus upto 2 weeks after treatment.

Common symptoms are a lack of energy, fever, cough, nasal discharge and a loss of appetite.

Canine Parainfluenza Virus needs early treatment so contact your vet immediately.

Kennel Cough

Also known as canine tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a highly contagious and infectious disease. It is transmitted through the air and via contaminated objects. This virus is usually contracted in areas where there are other dogs such as shows, kennels and dog parks where drinking bowls are provided.

Treatment for kennel cough is usually administered as a nasal spray. there is also a vaccination available for dogs who find kennal cough very uncomfortable.

Symptoms include a dry hacking cough, nasal discharge and in some cases retching. Most dogs that contract kennel cough can show a lack of appetite.

Because this disease can progress into secondary infection like pneumonia, high temperature and lethargy you should contact your vet immediately. The vet receptionist will arrange an appointment separate from other dogs because of its contageous nature.


This disease is caused by a specific bacteria and is usually contracted from contaminated water such as ponds, puddles, reservoirs, canals. It is therefore, advisable to prevent your dog from drinking from these ares of water.

This bacteria comes mainly from the urine of rats, pigs and cattle, so farms are the most likely source from where the disease is transmitted, particularly afetr it rains.

Symptoms include blood in the urine, diarrhoea, vomiting, lethargy, depression, muscle pain, high temperature and loss of appetite.

As leptospirosis affects the liver and kidneys you need to watch out for excessive drinking and urinating, yellow eyes and frequent vomiting.

Contact your vet immediately if you suspect leptospirosis.

Parvovirus – CPV

Canine parvovirus is a nasty highly contagious life-threatening and highly contagious virus.

It can be contracted from infected dog faeces, sniffing other dogs’ hind quarters from feeding bowls and general surfaces.

vaccination against parvovirus is imperitive as it is highly contagious and this virus can live on objects for months.

Symptoms: Loss of appetite, persistent vomiting, lethargy, bloody diarrhoea, anorexia, and temperature loss (hypothermia).

Parvovirus, if diagnosed requires hospitalization for 24-hour care and monitoring in most cases. If left untreated, dogs with the virus are likely to die. Because this is a viral infection, there is no cure for CPV which means that your vet will treat and support your dog to help them weather this infection.

Because this disease is highly infectious you need to call your vet’s receptionist first so that they can arrange a visit without being in contact with other dogs in the waiting room area.


Rabies is a viral disease which infects the brain and central nervous system (CNS) it is mostly fatal.

Rabies is usually transmitted from a bite which could be from a fox or bat. It can also be transmitted by being in contact with a wound of from saliva of these animals.

If you suspect that your dog has come into contact from rabies, it must be quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease.

This quarantine period will be in line with current UK regulations, whether or not your pet was vaccinated against rabies, and/or whether or not the animal your pet encountered is a confirmed rabies case.

Rabies causes dogs to become very aggressive and to develop extreme behavioural changes. It can cause paralysis, weakness and loss of coordination but in all cases where vaccination hasnt been carried out, it is fatal.

Symptoms include lack of coordination, seizures, fever, paralysis. A change in behavior, irritable, shy or aggressive, change in tone of bark, salivation and frothing of the mouth.

Even if your dog has been vaccinated against rabies it is important to get in touch with your vet if you suspect that he’s been bitten or scratched by a wild animal. The good news is that, at the time of writing, there are no cases of rabies in the UK.

In conclusion your dog needs to be upto date with his/her vaccinations and this should be documented. It’s also worth pointing out that good nutrition can play a major role in your dog’s health and immune system.

Our premium dog feeds come are grain free and include the best dried ingredients. To find out more have a look at our range of nutritious dried food and treats.