Dog Health

Dog Health

Collie dogs require like all long haired dogs
lots of grooming

Since the dog has been our companion for such a long part of our history and forms such strong bonds with us, dog health is one of the most comprehensively studies fields of veterinary medicine. Today, a wide range of common dog ailments, from mild flea infestations to serious cancers, can be successfully treated. It is also possible to reduce the suffering for a sick dog by giving it pain-killers, anti-nausea medication, beneficial training and so on.

Just as with humans, there are many things that can be done to reduce the risk of poor dog health. Giving your dog the available vaccinations against dangerous dog diseases like rabies and canine distemper is strongly recommended to ensure proper dog health, and in some countries it is even mandatory for dog owners to make sure that their dogs are vaccinated. This is not only a question about dog health; dog diseases such as rabies can spread to humans and livestock and making sure that all dogs are vaccinated is therefore a question of public safety. In addition to vaccines, there are several types of drugs that can be administered to dogs on a regular basis to prevent certain types of dog health problems. You can for instance improve the health of your dog by administering preventatives that will keep it free of heartworm and tick borne illnesses.

Dog health is naturally not just about drugs and surgery; giving your dog a high quality of life is just as important. Dogs need nutritious food, regular exercise, suitable grooming, and plenty of time together with their pack. When its requirements are not met, it can take a substantial toll on the strength of a dog and result in poor dog health. The amount of necessary exercise varies a lot from dog breed to dog breed and should be taken into consideration before you get a dog. If you prefer taking your dog for a fairly short stroll a few times per day, get a Maltese or Pug, not a sled dog. If you on the other hand dislike having to groom your dog once a day, stay away from the Maltese and other dog breeds with high maintenance coats. Here at Dog Breed HQ we have gathered a lot of information about numerous dog breeds to make it easier for you to pick the dog breed that has the highest chance of staying happy and healthy in your care. Regardless of which breed you pick, you must however be prepared to provide it with at least basic mental and physical exercise. A dog that spends it entire life in a dog crate will become under stimulated and might develop poor mental dog health.   

Before you bring home a puppy, it is important to make your home puppy-safe to ensure good dog health. Poisoning is unfortunately still very common among dogs and each year numerous dogs die as a result of poisoning. A lot of the things that are poisonous to humans are poisonous to dogs as well, and it is therefore very important to store medications, household chemicals and similar products where your dog can not reach it to if you want to prevent dog health accidents. Mouse and rat poison is not only dangerous for rodents; it can kill dogs as well. You should also be careful with coins made from zinc, such as the US penny, since a swallowed piece of zinc can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.

In addition to this, it is also important to remember that a lot of the things that are tolerated by humans or even beneficial for us can cause serious dog health problems. Chocolate can for instance cause serious dog health problems since dogs cannot effectively metabolize theobromine. 30 grams of baking chocolate per kilogram of body weight is enough to be poisonous. Serious chocolate poisoning is more common in small dogs than large dogs, since small dogs weigh less. Giving your dog grapes or raisins is also a bad idea, since it can cause acute kidney failure. Other food stuff to keep away from your dog in order to promote optimal dog health are macadamia nuts, hops, garlic, onions (especially dangerous when exposure is continuous), and the pits of fruits such as peaches and apricots. The situation for xylitol is yet unconfirmed and caution is advised.

Last but not least, you can increase your chances of getting a healthy dog by picking a healthy and well-cared for puppy. Generally speaking, puppies sold in pet stores should be avoided since many pet stores purchase their dogs from puppy mills and unskilled backyard breeders that are not very interested in long-term dog health. Serious breeders do not wish to sell their puppies to pet stores, since pet stores rarely provide their puppies with the kind of care and socialization that young dogs need during the extremely important first months of their life. If you want a healthy dog, your safest bet is to turn to a serious breeder. Purchasing from a serious breeder can be more expensive, but ending up with an unhealthy, non-socialized puppy can be much more costly in the long run. In order to reduce the risk of poor dog health, a serious breeder will for instance only use vet-checked dogs for breeding purposes and he or she will make sure that the puppies get screened for hereditary disease. If a puppy is shown to have an increased risk for a severe genetic defect that might cause poor dog health, a serious breeder will have the puppy euthanized or make sure that the puppy is spayed or neutered in order to prevent the genetic dog health problem from spreading. A serious breeder will naturally also tell a prospective buyer about the problem, while a backyard breeder only in it for the money will be reluctant to tell you anything that would lower the price of the puppy.

Genetic conditions are more common in pure breeds than in mixed breeds, but mixed breeds can naturally also suffer from genetic problems and poor dog health. To decrease the risk of genetic conditions that leads to poor dog health in the breed, many kennel clubs have made it mandatory to screen dogs for certain genetic problems before they are registered or used for approved breeding. Some genetic problems are seen in a wide range of purebreds and hip dysplasia is for instance fairly common in almost all dog breeds where the dogs grow really big. Other genetic disorders are much more limited and white dog shaker syndrome is for instance only seen in small, white dog breeds.