M&S Pet Insurance

Early signs of common health problems in your pet

Our pets are our world, and it can be heartbreaking to watch them in distress. Just like humans, our pets can catch diseases, suffer from allergies or simply become unwell. The earlier you catch the signs of pet health problems, the more time you have to get effective treatment. Here are a few common pet health issues and how to spot them.

Common dog diseases


Diabetes is one of the most common dog diseases. Diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce the right amount of insulin, and diagnosed pets will require insulin therapy to survive. Signs that your dog may be diabetic include changes in appetite, weight loss, dehydration, blindness, urinary tract infections and increased thirst. Every dog is individual, but getting the correct vet treatment is paramount for enabling your pet to live comfortably.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough is similar to a chest cold in humans where you’ll notice your dog has a persistent dry cough, potentially with gagging and nasal discharge. Kennel cough is caught from other dogs and is particularly prevalent in kennels where there is poor ventilation. If you notice any symptoms, isolate your dog immediately to stop it from spreading and call your vet for further guidance.

Ear infections

Ear infections are very common in pets with larger and floppy ears and are one of the main causes for vet visits. Caused by infection or parasites, you’ll notice your pet shaking their head, scratching their ears and whining. Luckily, most ear infections can be easily treated with some ear drops or medicine.

Skin or food allergies

Just like humans, our pets can suffer from allergies. The most common dog allergies include cigarette smoke, cleaning products and mould spores. These triggers can cause hypersensitivity, itching, dry skin, inflammation, excessive scratching, bald patches, diarrhoea and vomiting. Depending on the cause, your vet may prescribe medicines, creams or a change in diet.


Arthritis can cause chronic pain in pets, with the smooth cartilage that protects the bone wearing away and rubbing together. Arthritis may occur as a result of injury or through simple lifetime wear. You’ll notice your pet will be less active and they may limp or have swelling around their joints. Depending on the level of arthritis, your vet may recommend surgery or prescribe medication.

Identifying the early signs of these common health issues can be life saving, and contacting your vet at the earliest opportunity can make a significant difference. With M&S Pet Insurance, you’ll have a pet insurance policy in place to provide the cover your pet needs should the unexpected happen.

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