Save yourself a pricey trip to the vet with expert advice on avoiding four common health issues.

By Ardenis Perez


Signs: Red irritated skin, intense scratching and tiny dark specks on the fur called flea dirt.

Why It Matters: Fleas reproduce quickly and can infest your home and lead to other complications, like tapeworms.

How to Prevent: Keep fleas at bay year-round with preventive flea solutions such as spot-on treatments and oral tablets.

Ear Infection

Signs: Odor or discharge in the ears and redness or swelling of the earflap.

Why It Matters: Ear infections can cause significant discomfort and become a chronic condition.

How to Prevent: A moist ear can create an environment for bacteria and yeast, especially on dogs with floppy ears. When bathing, use a wet washcloth to wipe down head and face. If your pet likes to swim, talk to your vet about cleaning his ears regularly.


Signs: Visible belly fat and ribs, spine or hip bones that are hard to detect when touched.

Why It Matters: About 1 in 4 dogs and 1 in 3 cats suffer from obesity, which can lead to diabetes and respiratory problems.

How to Prevent: Cut back on treats and make sure your pet gets regular exercise. Take your dog on daily walks for 20 to 30 minutes and have your cat chase a toy or laser point 3 to 4 times a day for 5 minutes.

Dental Disease

Signs: Tartar buildup, gingivitis, bad breath or any oral health concern.

Why It Matters: Severe dental disease can cause oral pain and bacterial infections.

How to Prevent: Brush your pet's teeth at least 3 times a week; give him dental chews, which can prevent tartar buildup; and mix oral care additives into drinking water to help keep his mouth clean and reduce plaque.