Got a pedigree pooch? You may know that your best friend comes at a price beyond its purchase and upkeep.
Dogs that have been selectively bred by humans for centuries usually have genetic disadvantages. This is due to the non-natural selection of their genes. It means that they are born with a higher likelihood of developing certain physical complaints and diseases. These hereditary complaints include difficulty breathing, giving birth, walking, eye issues, and skin complaints, says the RSPCA of Australia. Even mixed-breed dogs can be prone to these problems, so it’s a great idea to test your mutt’s DNA to find out which characteristics s/he might have.
If you know what to watch out for, you can make sure your purebred pooch is safer, and healthier.
10 popular dog breeds and their health and wellness dangers
Avoid injury or suffering caused by your pet’s genetics. Even if you can’t avoid it, you can often pre-empt and treat it.
- Talky Yorkies
Tiny Yorkshire Terriers have huge personalities. They can suffer digestive issues, trachea collapse and Portosystemic shunt (PSS), a blood vessel birth defect where toxins are not removed from the blood. Feed yours the best food you can afford (there are ones for tricky digestion), listen to the breathing, and watch out for poor growth, vomiting, confusion, and seizures from PSS. Surgery can usually correct it.
- Curly-haired Cocker Spaniel
Those lovely locks on the ears will require lots of grooming, of course, but the Cocker Spaniel’s inner ears are the real culprits here. They’re prone to infection, so take care to clean them delicately and regularly with a suitable solution recommended by your vet. You can also gently trim the hair at the bottom of the ears to help keep the canal dry. Cocker Spaniels may get eye complaints like cataracts and glaucoma, so keep a careful watch on their vision. They may develop heart or liver disease, and even epilepsy. The sooner you diagnose such issues, the better. It helps to have regular check-ups at your vet to monitor these potential issues.
- Joyful German Shepherd
Leaping and bounding around, the Alsatian is, unfortunately, prone to hip issues. Hip dysplasia is when the ball and socket in the hip don’t fit which can make movement, getting up and lying down, painful. Observe your magnificent mammal and limit movement if the condition has been diagnosed. Swimming is a great alternative to running and running on soft ground can reduce the impact and discomfort from hard ground. Only choose pups whose parents have healthy hips and have been screened for this.
- Dashing Daschunds
We mean dashing, literally. These delightful, shiny bullets may suffer back problems. The spinal discs are vulnerable because their backs are so much longer than their legs and other parts of the skeleton. Keep your little ones a healthy weight so that the back isn’t strained and avoid situations like leaping excitedly off the bed or couch by considering lower-placed furniture. Stairs and stairwells might need gates, too, and you could invest in some removable steps for getting into and out of the car.
- Delightful Labrador Retriever
Relatively robust, the lab is likely to carry excess weight. This tendency towards obesity can cause other health issues. Make sure your huggable hound gets regular exercise to use up excess energy. Monitor your darling’s mass regularly and adjust his or her diet under the guidance of an experienced vet. Remember that it’s also important to feed a dog the right food for their age and life stage. If you give snacks, make sure they’re included in the overall calorie count (and are healthy, too!)
- Gorgeous Golden Retriever
Friendly and playful, these lovely-looking dogs are susceptible to allergies. If you see a lot of licking, it may be a sign your Goldy has skin irrits. Use only hypoallergenic, retriever-safe bathing products. Make sure you’re using regular tick and flea treatment as these parasites can cause reactions. Avoid swamps, bogs, and still, stagnant water as well as other areas where water bacteria may flourish and transfer onto your dog’s coat and skin. Have an allergy test to find out if there’s a specific cause that you can avoid or eliminate from the home environment.
- Wide-eyed Chihuahua
The adorable Chihuahua can suffer a collapse of the trachea (breathing tubes or windpipes). When the trachea flattens, it may require medication or surgery. Many Chihuahuas live their whole lives with a collapsed trachea, but the quality of life may be improved by careful observation and correct medical attention. Listen carefully to the breathing and avoid compressing the throat area.
- Pushed-in Pug
Comical and candid, these charming pooches may suffer breathing issues. Avoid extreme weather and humidity and listen for snoring. The bulging eyes are also a danger zone. The eyeballs may ‘pop out’ of the socket. If this happens, advises PetMD, “cover the eye with a damp cloth and rush your dog to the vet.” Avoid altercations or fights with other dogs or pets, as well as rough play with children.
- Pretty Doberman Pinscher
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is an incurable heart condition common to these sleek beauties. Annual check-ups for this are important to avoid a sudden surprise collapse. The condition can be managed with medication.
- Benign Boxer
Beautiful Boxers are more likely than other dog breeds to get cancers like lymphoma and mast cell tumours. Inspect your dog for lumps and bumps; the earlier you catch the big C, the better. These types can be treated.
First find a reliable breeder with a good reputation (and all the required papers). Your local breed club or rescue group might suggest some. “Once you’ve decided on a puppy,” PetMD muses, “find out about the health of the parents, and make sure the puppy has been screened for breed-related health problems.”
Then, insure your little baby from the get-go. Here’s how to do it online, in your pyjamas, in minutes with dotsure.co.za pet cover.
Maybe you’re curious…
- About the real running costs of having a doggie. Read this.
- About proper food for puppies at all stages. Tap here.
- About dog food as medicine. Mild medicine, yes. Check this out.
- About the raw versus cooked dog food debate? We are, too.
- About pets and poison? These are the signs.
- If snacking on poop is a Jack Russel thing? Naah, it’s nature.