8 Dog Diseases Your Pup May Catch and the Signs to Look Out For

Last Updated on 1 year ago by Nicky Johnson

While it’s true that dogs don’t have as many diseases as humans, they do still get sick. And it’s important to know the symptoms of when your pup might be coming down with something so you can take them to the vet immediately.

Or else, you will spend quite a bit of time building your theories and wondering aloud, ‘my dog has cancer’. Here are some of the most common ailments your pup could be affected by:

8 Dog Diseases Your Pup May Catch and the Signs to Look Out For


Parvovirus is an extremely common and highly contagious disease that can be fatal for dogs. A virus causes it, but it doesn’t affect cats or humans.

Your puppy can catch parvo from coming into contact with an infected dog’s poop or just from being in close contact with another animal that has it.

The symptoms of parvo include vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain. They’ll also have low energy levels and won’t eat or drink much.


Distemper is an extremely serious disease that can cause significant damage to a dog’s internal organs, including the brain and nervous system. It is caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV), which is spread through direct contact with infected dogs or their bodily fluids.

The virus travels from the nose and mouth through mucus membranes to enter the body, replicating in lymph nodes and then traveling throughout the body’s circulatory system before causing damage to multiple parts of your dog’s body.


Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals. It can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of an infected animal, usually by biting or scratching. In the United States, rabies in dogs and cats has been eliminated through vaccination programs on both ends of the spectrum (i.e., preventing pets from getting sick rather than treating humans). The virus is found in all animals but is most prevalent in wild animals like bats and raccoons.


Coronavirus is a common virus affecting dogs and cats. It causes diarrhea, vomiting, respiratory problems, and fever.

Coronavirus can also spread to humans. If your dog has been diagnosed with coronavirus – or if you believe he has it – take him to the vet immediately; the sooner treatment begins, the better his chances of survival.

Kennel Cough

The first step in preventing kennel cough is to vaccinate your dog. Yearly vaccination is the best way to protect him from disease, but it’s not foolproof. There are several ways he could catch kennel cough: if you bring a new dog into the house or someone sneezes around him (because they may have been exposed).

If your pup becomes ill with kennel cough, some signs include coughing, runny nose, and fever. In that case, it’s important that you take him to a veterinarian immediately so they can prescribe antibiotics and start treatment early enough to prevent complications or serious illness.


Heartworm is a parasite in your dog’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. It’s spread by mosquitoes and is treatable if caught early. If left untreated, however, a heartworm can lead to serious health issues such as congestive heart failure or an enlarged heart—sometimes causing death.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects animals and humans. It’s transmitted through the urine of infected animals, most commonly rats, raccoons, deer, and cattle.

Symptoms in dogs include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Leptospirosis can also cause liver or kidney damage in some dogs.


Giardia is a parasite that can infect dogs. It causes intestinal upset, including diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss.

Giardia can be treated with antibiotics, but if you notice your dog’s symptoms over the course of several days or weeks without treatment (or if you’ve recently been on a trip where he might have picked up the parasite), it’s best to see your vet immediately instead of looking up results on ‘my dog has cancer.


Now that you know the signs of these diseases, it’s time to take action. You can start by taking your pup in for regular vet check-ups and ensuring they’re vaccinated against all diseases listed here. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.