When adding a puppy to your family, you’ll want to do everything possible to ensure they stay healthy. But unfortunately, there are some health issues that puppies are more prone to. Keep reading to learn more about puppy health issues and how to care for your furry friend.

What Causes A Puppy To Get Sick?

As with every dog, puppies are just as prone to health conditions. Even if the breed and the puppy’s bloodline are relatively healthy, they can still get illnesses.

For example, genetics can play a huge role in whether or not a puppy will be healthy. Ask for health certifications and family tree history when going through a breeder. Then, you can tell whether you’ll receive a healthy dog.

As a side note, if the breeder doesn’t have these documents for you, that’s a red flag.

You’ll want to be wary of going through puppy mills or backyard breeders. They don’t breed their dogs in healthy or safe conditions. Thus, you may receive a sick puppy.

If your puppy is inbred, meaning their parents are siblings or mother and father to each other, for example, then the puppy will be prone to health problems.

On the other hand, one of the biggest reasons puppies get sick is that they’re not fully vaccinated. So when they get old enough, bring them to the vet regularly to keep them up to date with their shots and boosters.

Finally, puppies are still growing and developing. So, they have a weakened immune system and are prone to specific health problems.

9 Mainstream Puppy Health Issues You Need To Know | PetSimplified.com

Common Puppy Health Issues

A puppy can get sick for several reasons. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t care for your puppy or nurse them back to health. So let’s discuss some common puppy health issues your furry friend may have. 


Also known as Parvo, Parvovirus is a stomach bug. It can be highly contagious and possibly fatal if not treated. It’s passed through feces, so it’s recommended that puppies do not go out in public places or on walks until they are fully vaccinated.

You should also go outside with your puppy to ensure they don’t get into anything in the yard that they’re not supposed to. 

Symptoms of Parvovirus include the following:

  • Diahrrea (usually bloody)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Seizures
  • Stomach pain
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

Call your vet immediately if you notice these signs in your puppy. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parvo. Your puppy will need supportive care and will likely be hospitalized until they’re strong again.


This virus is highly contagious and can be fatal. Distemper attacks the gastrointestinal, nervous system, and respiratory systems. It’s often spread through the air due to coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread through shared water and food bowls.

Signs of Distemper include the following:

  • Circling
  • Coughing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fever
  • Green or yellow eye discharge
  • Green or yellow nasal discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Thickened paw pads
  • Vomiting

Sadly, there is no cure for Distemper. Puppies rarely recover from this virus; if they do, they will have dental diseases for the rest of their lives.

9 Mainstream Puppy Health Issues You Need To Know | PetSimplified.com

Kennel Cough (Bordetella)

A well-known upper respiratory illness is kennel cough, which used to be known as canine infectious respiratory disease. Kennel cough can occur through bacteria or viruses in dogs or puppies, depending on whether they’re vaccinated.

Kennel cough is often spread through places with a lot of dogs. Shelters, boarding, grooming, and dog parks are excellent examples of where kennel cough can originate and get passed around from dog to dog.

There is a vaccine for it, and it’s typically mild. As a result, you’ll notice your dog coughing more often, but they’ll seem healthy otherwise.

Usually, kennel cough will work itself out of your pup’s system. However, in some cases, your doggo will need an antibiotic. 


Infected urine often spreads this virus and attacks the kidney and liver. Unfortunately, this disease is fatal. And, if your puppy survives, they have an increased risk of developing chronic kidney or liver disease.

Symptoms of Leptospirosis include:

  • Bleeding (from the nose or gums, in the urine, stool, and vomit)
  • Coughing
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Sore muscles
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans. If your puppy has this disease, be extra careful around them. Wear gloves when cleaning up their urine and other messes, and always wash your hands.

9 Mainstream Puppy Health Issues You Need To Know | PetSimplified.com


There are internal parasites and external parasites that live on a host. For example, puppies are prone to parasites because their immune system isn’t fully developed.

Some internal parasites to be wary of are the following:

  • Coccidia
  • Giardia
  • Heartworms
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Whipworms

On the other hand, some external parasites that may get on your puppy are:

  • Cheyletiella Mites (walking dandruff)
  • Demodex
  • Ear mites
  • Fleas
  • Lice
  • Scabies (Sarcoptic Mange)
  • Ticks

Treatment is available. You can keep up with deworming and flea and tick prevention through your vet.


Canine Adenovirus, also known as infectious canine hepatitis, isn’t as common in puppies as the other health problems on this list. However, puppies can still get it. This virus attacks the liver and the cells that line the blood vessels.

Your doggo can get vaccinated against this, so Adenovirus is rare. However, it’s still an issue to be aware of.

If your pup does get it, there is no treatment. However, there is supportive care. Unfortunately, Adenovirus can be fatal; if the dog does recover, it’ll be at risk for chronic liver disease. 

Signs of Adenovirus include the following:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Eye and nose discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
9 Mainstream Puppy Health Issues You Need To Know | PetSimplified.com


This skin disease is highly contagious. Mange occurs when mites burrow under your pup’s fur and into its skin. Then, they lay eggs, creating more mites. 

Luckily, mange can be treated by the vet.

Symptoms include:

  • Crusted skin
  • Hair loss
  • Scratching
  • Skin rash

Canine Influenza Virus

Also known as dog flu, this virus is an airborne respiratory disease. It’s typically spread through coughing, sneezing, and barking. 

There is no cure for the flu, but it can be preventable by a vaccine. It can also be treatable by the vet. So, if you notice the following symptoms, call the vet.

  • Coughing (dry or moist)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Nasal discharge
  • Runny eyes
  • Sneezing

Diarrhea And Vomiting

As a bonus, we’ll discuss two symptoms. First, diarrhea and vomiting are not diseases, but underlying issues may cause them.

For example, your puppy might have a foreign object in their body, meaning it might have eaten something it shouldn’t have, such as a toxin or garbage. 

In addition, your puppy might have a parasite, bacterial, or viral infection.

Finally, they may simply be stressed out, or a recent diet change isn’t agreeing with them.

If your puppy is vomiting or has diarrhea, call your vet. They’ll be able to help you pinpoint the reason why your puppy is acting that way.

9 Mainstream Puppy Health Issues You Need To Know | PetSimplified.com

Other Common Puppy Health Issues

Unfortunately, there are a lot of health problems that puppies can have. However, most issues are preventable or treatable, especially if your pup is vaccinated. Once they build a robust enough immune system, they’ll be okay.

So, let’s go over some other health conditions puppies may have.

  • Allergies
  • Anal Sac Conditions
  • Bloat (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus)
  • Colitis
  • Diabetes
  • Dysplasia (hip or elbow)
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Obesity

How To Keep Your Puppy Healthy

One of the best ways to keep your puppy healthy is to bring them to the vet regularly. During their first year, they should visit more often than once a year.

During these vet visits, you and the veterinarian can keep track of your puppy’s growth and development. You’ll also be able to get them vaccinated and keep up with their shots and boosters.

Different dog breeds have different needs. Some breeders are good, while others are backyard breeders. In addition, you may not know where the puppy originated.

You won’t know some things and need to be ready to roll with the punches. So, research these diseases and viruses to prepare yourself for the “just in case” event. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Pet insurance is great to have, regardless, for surprise vet visits and hospital visits. 

Keep Your Puppy Happy And Healthy

Be sure to give your puppy time for its immune system to build. Also, keep them up to date with their vaccinations. Then, your pup should have a long, happy, and healthy life.

9 Mainstream Puppy Health Issues You Need To Know | PetSimplified.com
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