After the initial excitement of choosing your puppy and taking them home with you for the first time. The hard but rewarding work of being a pet parent begins.
During the first six months of their lives, it’s quite common for puppies to experience some form of sickness or illness. The important thing to remember is not to panic.
We looked at Bought By Many's claims data from 2020 to find out what the most common conditions our puppy owners made claims for.
Here are the five most common claim conditions for dogs aged of six months or younger.
- A foreign body
We found that the average pet insurance claim made by our customers for puppies under six months of age was £428.93.
Common puppy illnesses
Our 2020 claims data for puppies tells us that what goes inside your puppy’s mouth can lead to some form of sickness.
Diarrhoea, vomiting, foreign bodies and gastroenteritis are conditions which are caused due to your dog eating something they shouldn’t have.
We spoke with our colleagues at FirstVet who offer a 24/7 vet consultation service for all Bought By Many customers. If your pet is unwell you can video call a vet wherever you are and whenever you need help.
The pie chart below shows the most common case types FirstVet have received in the last 12 months for puppies under six months old from Bought By Many customers.
Just under half of all FirstVet consutlations (42.5%) received are related to gastrointestinal problems.
Gastroenteritis means your puppy has inflammation of their stomach and intestines. The condition can be either chronic where it can last for more than a couple of weeks, or acute and occurs suddenly before resolving quickly.
Gastronenteritis is again caused by eating or ingesting foods or foreign objects that are not suitable for your puppy.
Why is my dog vomiting?
Our Veterinary technical lead, Sarah Dawson explained that diarrhoea and vomiting are very common problems for dogs of a young age.
Eating something they shouldn’t have is one of the main reasons why puppies experience vomiting and diarrhoea.
At this early age, puppies are keen to discover everything around them, and this can unfortunately lead to them eating things that don’t agree with them.
One cause of diarrhoea that dog owners may not be aware of is changing their pets food too often.
Unlike humans, our dogs quickly become used to eating the same type of food. A change of diet can be a shock to their stomach and diarrhoea can develop because their gut hasn’t had time to adjust to the change in diet.
"German Shepard's usually suffer with upset stomachs more than most breeds, and again a common reason is due to owners changing their puppies food too often which does not help. Pick your food and stick with it – or speak with your vet to discuss the appropriate diet that will be required."
If your puppy is vomiting or suffering from diarrhoea it may be a sign of gastrointesteritis. If this isn’t the case, other signs of gastroenteritis can include stomach pain or a lack of appetite. Other causes of the condition in puppies can include certain viruses or bacteria such as parvovirus.
You should immediately contact your vet who can advise you on the best course of treatment. If identified and treated quickly gastroenteritis in puppies can clear up quickly within a few days to a week.
Signs of foreign bodies in dogs
A foreign bodies are objects that a dog shouldn’t be eating and can cause various forms of sickness.
Our Vet technical lead Sarah Dawson says:
"All puppies suffer from Foreign bodies because they eat and chew everything."
Vets across the country are used to seeing dogs that have eaten something they shouldn't have. Dogs swallow all sorts of strange and unusual objects but some common examples include:
- Food wrappers
- Stones and rocks
Foreign body objects that are small and smooth can often safely pass through your puppy’s body without causing any harm. However, larger objects can get stuck within the intestine and block any food from getting through and this can cause vomiting.
If your puppy starts vomiting, drooling, shows signs of lethargy or diarrhoea; this can be a sign that they’ve swallowed a foreign body.
If this is the case, it's best to take them to a vet as quickly as possible. In some cases your vet may be able to give your puppy and injection which will make them sick but they will only do so if it's safe.
If the situation is more serious, and your puppy is suffering from some form of blockage, a vet may need to take x-rays or a scan. This will let your vet know the best course of action to take and whether surgery is a possible requirement.
Lameness and skin problems in puppies
Lameness in puppies is one of the most common aliments that Bought by Many customers claim for.
If you notice your puppy is suddenly limping and can’t bear its full weight on one or more of its legs, this is normally a sign of lameness.
It's best not to over exercise puppies. Their bones and joints are not fully formed (they don’t properly form until they’ve passed puberty) and too much exercise can damage their joints; this can adversely affect their growth.
Depending on the breed of dog you have, skin problems are very common amongst puppies. Some skin conditions can be fairly mild and won't cause too much discomfort while other conditions can be more serious and severe.
Typical symptoms include:
- Dry skin
- Excessive scratching
- Bald patches
- Ear and skin infections
Various things can cause your dog skin problems. Fleas are one of the most common and puppies can catch flies very easily. Puppies may itch and scratch when the fleas bite and some puppies may also have a flea allergy. After fleas, allergies are normally the second most common casue of skin conditions.
Depending on the home environment which a dog is living in, dry skin problems can develop in low-humidity or dry environments. This can lead to a lack of moisture in their skin. When the skin becomes too dry, puppies will begin to scratch at it. Diets can again have an affect on skin conditions. Poor diets that lack Omega 3 can contribute to skin problems in puppies.
When discussing skin problems in dogs, our Vet technical lead Sarah Dawson says:
"Bulldog puppies have a lot of skin problems... they suffer with this as a breed but lot's of puppy owners like to bath them A LOT! they often do not dry in-between the skin folds properly resulting in sore patches.”
Skin conditions can be both painful and uncomfortable for dogs of any age, particularly if the condition is severe and continues for a long time.
How pet insurance can help?
During 2020 and 2021, the average paid claim made for Bought By Many customers with dogs under the age of six months was £428.93.
Pet insurance gives you peace of mind that you can take care of your puppy in those crucial early months of their lives.
Insurance can help cover any veterinary costs for many of the most common medical conditons that puppiers suffer from.