Just like us, dogs can suffer from a wide range of health problems. Our dog health problems guide offers information about dog symptoms, dog illness, dog health problems, dog care and more. From congestive heart failure in dogs to parvo and hip dysplasia, you’ll find information – and hope – here at the Dog Pages.
All About Pet Medications, Dog Medicine, Pet Meds and More
Most dogs will need pet medications at some point in their lives. If you are fortunate and your dog is a healthy one, you may only need dog medicine when your dog reaches his senior years, to alleviate health symptoms associated with aging, such as dog arthritis. Most veterinarians recommend pet medications as a preventative measure throughout your dog’s life. These pet meds include heartworm preventative and flea and tick prevention medications.
Whatever the reason for your dog to be on pet medication, it’s a good idea to learn everything you can about the type of medicine that has been prescribed for your dog. Through understanding what the pills are for, how they work and any side effects they may cause, you’ll be well equipped to be the best advocate for your dogs’ health.
In this section of our dog health site, we will explore the different kinds of pet medications. We will look at what they are, how these pet meds work, and any side effects they may cause which can affect your dog’s behavior.
There are a number of common dog health problems which can cause owners a great deal of worry. Fortunately, many of these issues have simple remedies, and are not cause for alarm. On the other hand (or should we say “paw”), there are some common dog health issues that are more serious, and should be investigated by your veterinarian.
In this section of our dog health site, we explore common dog health conditions, their signs, symptoms and treatment. This information should help you to better understand your dog’s health, but should not be considered as veterinary advice. Only a qualified veterinarian can diagnose and treat dog health problems.
- Diarrhea in dogs is a common health complaint. Although worrisome, dog diarrhea is often caused by changes in diet, and resolves very quickly once your dog is given a steady, nutritious diet. We offer information that can help you determine if your dog’s diarrhea is a simple case of upset tummy from food changes – or something more serious that your vet needs to attend to.
- Dog allergies are very common. Like humans, dogs can have sensitivities to food, products and their environment. They can have allergies to grass, pollen, laundry detergent and other substances – just like us.
- Fleas and Ticks in dogs. An ages-old problem, fleas can make your dog’s life miserable. Not only that, once a dog is infested with fleas, your entire home can become a veritable flea circus.
- Ticks can pose a serious health concern to your dog. Learn all about dog fleas and ticks, and how to prevent them and keep your dog safe.
- Dog worms are very common. Learn all about the different parasites that can live and thrive in your dog’s digestive system, and what you must do to prevent and treat dog worms.
- Arthritis affects most dogs as they age; some breeds of dog more than others. Learn about arthritis in dogs, and how you can help your dog stay happy, comfortable and active well into their senior years.
Shiba Inu Dog Health Problems, Issues, Concerns and Symptoms
Shiba Inu Health problems include glaucoma, cataracts, hip dysplasia, and seen in greater numbers; luxating patella. Some other concerns for Shibas are food allergies, CHD, epilepsy, distichiasis, PPM, PRA.
Do get regular check-ups on your Shiba’s knees, hips and eyes as these are the most common sites for Shiba Inu health problems.
On the whole, Shiba Inus are genetically sound and few defects occur when compared to other dog breeds.
Additional Resources About Shiba Inu Health Problems
Bichon Frise Dog Breed Health Problems, Concerns Issues and Symptoms
Bichon Frise health problems are not a major issue. Bichons are generally a healthy, long lived breed of dog. They have relatively few health issues, especially compared to other purebred dog breeds.
The breeder from which you choose to purchase your Bichon puppy will be very important to the health of your new companion. As with any popular purebred breed of dog, there are reputable breeders who breed for the health, well-being and longevity of their dogs and puppies. On the other and, there are other sources of purebred puppies that can be a very bad choice. It’s up to you to learn the difference, and be very careful in selecting the right breeder from which to buy a Bichon Frise puppy.
Make sure you buy your Bichon puppy from a responsible Bichon Frise breeder who health screens and breeds only the best to the best. This will help make sure that your Bichon lives a long, happy and healthy life with you and your family.
Common Bichon Frise health problems are:
Both of these Bichon Frise health problems can be easily prevented or helped with regular grooming and proper care.
Rarely occurring Bichon Frise health problems are:
*Bladder infections and stones
A responsible breeder will be well educated about common Bichon Frise health issues . They will health screen her dogs. They will follow a carefully selective breeding program where only healthy, disease free dogs are bred. Choose your breeder carefully and you have a much better chance of buying a puppy that is free of Bichon Frise health problems.
The Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs and Puppies
Many breeds of dog can be prone to developing Hip Dysplasia. It is an inherited health problem that affects the hips. Hip Dysplasia is the most common cause of Arthritis of the hips in dogs. It is most commonly seen in larger breeds of dog, but can affect medium and small breeds as well. Hip Dysplasia can be mild – or it can be severe. It can cause a dog to be crippled – or to simply have a limping gait. Much study has been done in Veterinary medicine about Hip Dysplasia, and there are now many treatment options – although no cure.
In the normal anatomy of the hip joint, the root (the thigh bone) is connected to the pelvis at the hip joint. The almost spherical end of the femur head (the caput, or caput ossis femoris) fits into the acetabulum (a concave socket located in the pelvis). The bony surface of the femur head and of the acetabulum are covered by cartilage. While bones provide the strength necessary to support body weight, cartilage ensures a smooth fit and a wide range of motion. Normal hip function can be affected by congenital conditions such as dysplasia, discussed in this article, trauma, and by acquired diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Dysplastic hip anatomy
In a hip suffering from dysplasia, two things are commonly abnormal. First, the caput is not deeply and tightly held by the acetabulum. Instead of being a snug fit, it is a loose fit, or a partial fit. Secondly, the caput or acetabulum are not smooth and round, but are misshapen, causing abnormal wear and tear or friction within the joint as it moves.
The body reacts to this in several ways. First, the joint itself is continually repairing itself and laying down new cartilage. However cartilage repair is a relatively slow process, the tissue being avascular.
So the joint may suffer degradation due to the abnormal wear and tear, or may not support the body weight as intended. The joint becomes inflamed and a cycle of cartilage damage, inflammation and pain commences. This is a self-fueling process, in that the more the joint becomes damaged, the less able it is to resist further damage. The inflammation causes further damage. The bones of the joint may also develop osteoarthritis, visible on an X-ray as small outcrops of bone, which further degrade the joint.
The underlying deformity of the joint may get worse over time, or may remain static. A dog may have good X-rays and yet be in pain, or may have very poor X-rays and apparently almost no problems. The hip condition is only one factor to determine the extent to which dysplasia is causing pain or affecting the quality of life. In mild to moderate dysplasia it is often the secondary effects of abnormal wear and tear or arthritis, rather than dysplasia itself, which is the direct causes of visible problems.
Causes and effects of Hip Dysplasia
A Labrador Retriever standing with hind legs close together to compensate for hip dysplasia.
In dogs, a femur that does not fit correctly into the pelvic socket, or poorly developed muscles in the pelvic area. Large and giant breeds are susceptible to hip dysplasia, and Cocker spaniels and Shetland sheepdogs are also known to suffer from it. Cats are also known to have this condition, especially Siamese.
To reduce pain, the animal will typically reduce its movement of that hip. This may be visible as “bunny hopping”, where both legs move together, or less dynamic movement (running, jumping), or stiffness. Since the hip cannot move fully, the body compensates by adapting its use of the spine, often causing spinal, stifle (a dog’s knee joint), or soft tissue problems to arise.
The causes of hip dysplasia are considered heritable, but new research conclusively suggests that environment also plays a role. To what degree the causality is genetic and what portion environmental is a topic of current debate. Environmental influences would include overweight condition, injury at a young age, overexertion on hip joint at a young age, ligament tear at a young age, repetitive motion on forming joint (i.e. jogging with puppy under the age of 1 year). As current studies progress, greater information will help provide procedures to effectively reduce the occurrence of this condition.
In dogs, the problem almost always appears by the time the dog is 18 months old. The defect can be anywhere from mild to severely crippling, and can eventually cause severe osteoarthritis.
It is most common in medium-large pure bred dogs, such as Newfoundland Dogs, German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador or Golden retrievers, rottweilers and mastiffs, but also occurs in some smaller breeds such as spaniels and pugs and occasionally (usually with minor symptoms) in cats.
Clinical detection and testing
Symptoms of Canine Hip Dysplasia
Atrophy of thigh muscle after a two-year evolution of hip dysplasia
Traditionally, the signs of hip dysplasia are rarely extreme. Usually, only mild to moderate lameness is noted which may suddenly worsen. Dogs with a cranial (anterior) cruciate ligament tear typically hold the affected leg up (which is unusual with hip dysplasia). Patients with back (spinal) problems often scuff their toenails when walking, have an uncoordinated gait, and are weak in the rear limbs. They may be very painful if they have a disc rupture (sciatica) or show no spinal pain in certain degenerative spinal cord conditions (German Shepherd myelopathy).
Dogs might exhibit signs of stiffness or soreness after rising from rest, reluctance to exercise, bunny-hopping or other abnormal gait (legs move more together when running rather than swinging alternately), lameness, pain, reluctance to stand on rear legs, jump up, or climb stairs, subluxation or dislocation of the hip joint, or wasting away of the muscle mass in the hip area. Radiographs (X-rays) often confirm the presence of hip dysplasia, but radiographic features may not be present until two years of age in some dogs. Moreover, many affected dogs do not show clinical signs, but some dogs manifest the problem before seven months of age, while others do not show it until well into adulthood.
In part this is because the underlying hip problem may be mild or severe, may be worsening or stable, and the body may be more or less able to keep the joint in repair well enough to cope. Also, different animals have different pain tolerances and different weights, and use their bodies differently, so a light dog who only walks, will have a different joint use than a more heavy or very active dog. Some dogs will have a problem early on, others may never have a real problem at all.
Each case must be treated on its own merits, and a range of treatment options exist.
Long term pain
A dysplastic animal has probably lived with the condition since it was only a few months old, and has therefore grown up taking the chronic pain for granted and have learned to live with it. Dogs suffering such pain do not usually exhibit acute signs of pain. Sometimes, they will suddenly and abnormally sit down when walking, or refuse to walk or climb objects which they usually would, but this can equally be a symptom of many other things, including a thorn in the paw, or a temporary muscle pain. So pain recognition is less common a means of detection than the visible gait and other abnormalities described above.
The classic diagnostic technique is with appropriate x-Rays and hip scoring tests. These should be done at an appropriate age, and perhaps repeated at adulthood – if done too young they will not show anything. Since the condition is to a large degree inherited, the hip scores of parents should be professionally checked before buying a pup, and the hip scores of dogs should be checked before relying upon them for breeding. Despite the fact that the condition is inherited, it can occasionally arise even to animals with impeccable hip scored parents.
In diagnosing suspected dysplasia, the x-ray to evaluate the internal state of the joints is usually combined with a study of the animal and how it moves, to confirm whether its quality of life is being affected. Evidence of lameness or abnormal hip or spine use, difficulty or reduced movement when running or navigating steps, are all evidence of a problem. Both aspects have to be taken into account since there can be serious pain with little X-ray evidence.
It is also common to X-ray the spine and legs, as well as the hips, where dysplasia is suspected, since soft tissues can be affected by the extra strain of a dysplastic hip, or there may be other undetected factors such as neurological issues (e.g. nerve damage) involved.
There are several standardized systems for categorising dysplasia, set out by respective reputable bodies (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals/OFA, PennHIP, British Veterinary Association/BVA). Some of these tests require manipulation of the hip joint into standard positions, in order to reveal their condition on an X-ray.
Conditions which can mimic or replicate the symptoms of hip dysplasia
The following conditions can give symptoms very similar to hip dysplasia, and should be ruled out during diagnosis:
It is also worth noting that a dog may misuse its rear legs, or adapt its gait, to compensate for pain in the forelimbs, notably osteoarthritis, osteochondritis (OCD) or shoulder or elbow dysplasia, as well as pain in the hocks and stifles or spinal issues. It is important to rule out other joint and bodily issues before concluding that only hip dysplasia is present. Even if some hip dysplasia is present, it is possible for other conditions to co-exist or be masked by it.
There is no complete cure, although there are many options to alleviate the clinical signs. The aim of treatment is to enhance quality of life. Crucially, this is an inherited, degenerative condition and so will change during the life of an animal, so any treatment is subject to regular review or re-assessment if the symptoms appear to get worse or anything significantly changes.
If the problem is relatively mild, then sometimes all that is needed to bring the symptoms under control are suitable medications to help the body deal better with inflammation, pain and joint wear. In many cases this is all that is needed for a long time.
If the problem cannot be controlled with medications, then often surgery is considered. There are traditionally two types of surgery – those which reshape the joint to reduce pain or help movement, and hip replacement for animals which completely replaces the damaged hip with an artificial joint, similar to human hip replacements.
Non-surgical interventions include three elements: weight control, exercise control, and medication. Weight control is often “the single most important thing that we can do to help a dog with arthritis”, and consequentially “reducing the dog’s weight is enough to control all of the symptoms of arthritis in many dogs”. Reasonable exercise stimulates cartilage growth and reduces degeneration (though excessive exercise can do harm too), and also regular long walks in early or mild dysplasia can help prevent loss of muscle mass to the hips. Medication can reduce pain and discomfort, and also reduce damaging inflammation.
Non-surgical intervention is usually via a suitable non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which doubles as an anti-inflammatory and painkiller. Typical NSAIDs used for hip dysplasia include carprofen and meloxicam (often sold as Rimadyl and Metacam respectively), both used to treat arthritis resulting from dysplasia, although other NSAIDs such as tepoxalin (Zubrin) and prednoleucotropin (“PLT”, a combination of cinchophen and prednisolone) are sometimes tried. NSAIDs vary dramatically between species as to effect: a safe NSAID in one species may be unsafe in another. It is important to follow veterinary advice.
A glucosamine-based nutritional supplement may give the body additional raw materials used in joint repair. Glucosamine can take 3–4 weeks to start showing its effects, so the trial period for medication is usually at least 3–5 weeks. In vitro, glucosamine has been shown to have negative effects on cartilage cells.
It is also common to try multiple anti-inflammatories over a further 4–6 week period, if necessary, since an animal will often respond to one type but fail to respond to another. If one anti-inflammatory does not work, a vet will often try one or two other brands for 2–3 weeks each, also in conjunction with ongoing glucosamine, before concluding that the condition does not seem responsive to medication.
Carprofen, and other anti-inflammatories in general, whilst very safe for most animals, can sometimes cause problems for some animals, and (in a few rare cases) sudden death through liver toxicity. This is most commonly discussed with carprofen but may be equally relevant with other anti-inflammatories. As a result it is often recommended to perform monthly (or at least, twice-annually) blood tests to confirm that the animal is not reacting adversely to the medications. Such side effects are rare but worth being aware of, especially if long-term use is anticipated.
This regime can usually be maintained for the long term, as long as it is effective in keeping the symptoms of dysplasia at bay.
Some attempts have been made to treat the pain caused by arthritic changes through the use of “laser therapy”, in particular “class IV laser therapy”. Well-controlled clinical trials are unfortunately lacking, and much of the evidence for these procedures remains anecdotal.
If medications fail to maintain an adequate quality of life, surgical options may need to be considered. These may attempt to modify or repair the hip joint, in order to allow pain free usage, or may in some cases completely replace it.
Hip modification surgeries include excision arthroplasty, in which the head of the femur is removed and reshaped or replaced, and pelvic rotation (also known as triple pelvic osteotomy, or pubic symphodesis) in which the hip socket is realigned, may be appropriate if done early enough. These treatments can be very effective, but as a rule tend to become less effective for heavier animals – their ability to treat the problem becomes reduced if the joint has to handle more pressure in daily life. Pelvic rotation is also not as effective if arthritis has developed to the point of being visible on X-rays.
Femoral head ostectomy (FHO), sometimes appropriate for smaller dogs and cats, is when the head of the femur is removed but not replaced. Instead, the resulting scar tissue from the operation takes the place of the hip joint. In such surgeries, the weight of the animal must be kept down throughout its life in order to maintain mobility. FHO surgery is sometimes done when other methods have failed, but is also done initially when the joint connection is particularly troublesome or when arthritis is severe.
Hip modification surgeries such as these usually result in reduction of hip function in return for improved quality of life, pain control, and a reduction in future risk.
Hip replacement has the highest rate of success, especially in severe cases, since it completely replaces the faulty joint. It usually restores complete mobility if no other joint is affected, and also completely prevents recurrence. Hip replacement for dogs, can sometimes also be a preferred clinical option for serious dysplasia in animals over about 40–60 lb (18–27 kg), a weight that excludes certain other surgical treatments.
Other options under exploration include:
DARthroplasty (Dorsal Acetabular Rim arthroplasty) is a technique developed by Dr. Barclay Slocum and Theresa Devine Slocum whereby cortico-cancellous bone strips, taken from the iliac crest, are contoured over the femoral head and sutured to the dorsal hip joint capsule and packed with additional cancellous bone graft dorsally to eventually anchor to drill holes in the original dorsal acetabulum. The new “shelf” eventually becomes an extension of the original acetabulum, thereby providing support and eliminating subluxation of the hip joint. The joint capsule becomes the new joint surface.
Pubic symphysiodesis (also known as juvenile pubic symphysiodesis, or JPS), is a procedure for very young dogs that manipulates the way the pelvis grows to create a tighter hip. It involves cauterizing the growth plates of the pelvis, in other words, the part of the pelvis which would usually grow and spread in puppyhood, no longer does so. To compensate, the rest of the pelvis grows outward, in a manner which enhances the “socket” of the hip and provides better support than that dog would have had naturally. Since it relies on growth in puppyhood, it has a very tight window for surgery – currently no sooner than about 4 months and no later than about 5 months. This is compatible with hip scoring of puppies at 4 months.
Capsular neurectomy is a procedure in which the hip joint capsule is de-nerved to reduce pain in the hip. This allows the dog to exercise moderately with less pain, thus preventing the leg muscles from weakening from disuse and providing less support to the bad joint. Both hips can be done at one surgery. This surgery should not prevent a future hip replacement, if a more complete fix is desired.
BioScaffold Implant Procedure
In a recent comparative orthopedic study, a new bioscaffold having an embryonic-like structure has shown positive clinical outcomes in dogs with advanced, end stage osteoarthritis. The bioscaffold was implanted into intra-articular areas and reported up to 90-days of clinical improvement after a single implant. The bioscaffold has been shown to cause infiltrating cells to upregulate a variety of tissue repair factors including aggrecan, connective tissue growth factor, bone morphogenetic protein, transforming growth factors, and other tissue repair factors associated with osteoarthritis.
Aids to living
There are many products available to help mobility in dogs suffering from hip dysplasia. These consist of pressure-reducing pet beds, ramps, stairs, and steps built with wood, plastic, metal, or foam that help the dog get from one place to another without causing pain or hurting themselves further.
Radiography of Hip Dysplasia in a Dog – 30″H x 24″W – Peel and Stick Wall Decal by Wallmonkeys
Mr. Herzher’s Smart Ramp
Pet Gear Easy Step I Pet Stairs, 2-step/for cats and dogs up to 75-pounds, Light Cocoa
Extra Large 40″X35″X4″ Orthopedic 100% Memory Foam Pad Pet Bed for Large Dog with long lasting denim cover + Waterproof case + Free Bonus Cover
Brinkmann Pet 36-Inch by 45-Inch Premium Orthopedic Pet Bed, Green
German Shepherd Dog Health Problems Issues & Concerns
While a fairly healthy and long lived breed of dog, German Shepherd health problems do occur. As with many pedigreed breeds of dogs, there are a variety of hereditary health conditions that may affect your pet. There are also other various health issues that are more common among German Shepherd dogs.
To avoid buying a German Shepherd puppy with health problems, it’s very important that you find German Shepherd breeders that are reputable. Look for a breeder that really knows the breed and is well aware of common German Shepherd health problems. The breeder should have her breeding dogs screened and cleared for:
As with all popular dog breeds, there are good breeders – and bad ones. You want to avoid the bad breeders at all costs – or it may cost you a ton of veterinary bills and a heap of heartache. You can expect to pay more for a well-bred German Shepherd puppy from parents that are health tested and cleared and have undergone temperament testing. It only makes sense, since testing is expensive for the breeder. Find a great breeder, and you can be well-assured of buying a healthy, sound and loving puppy that is free of common German Shepherd health problems.
German Shepherd Health Resources
The Essential German Shepherd Dog (The Essential Guides)
Airedale Terrier Dog Health Issues and Concerns
Airedale terrier health problems are few and far-between. When compared to other breeds of dog. Airedale Terriers are very health. Airedales known for being healthy and hearty. They can ignore great pain in order to fulfill their duty to their masters.
The most common Airedale Terrier health problems that seem to bother the Airedale are Hip Displaysia and “itchy skin”
Itchy skin or canine dermatitis can be caused by sensitivities to food or shampoos. Itchy skin can also be a result of excitement or mental problems. If your Airedale Terrier should chew at himself or scratch a lot, it’s a good idea to have any odd behavior checked by your local veterinarian. Your vet can help you find out the reason for your dog’s behavior. Together, you can come up with a solution that will prevent further bothersome itching and scratching.
Hip Dysplasia is a debilitating condition affecting the dogs’ hips and ability to move his hind legs. In the past, Hip Dysplasia was often a death sentence for an otherwise healthy puppy. Thankfully, modern veterinary medicine offers surgical treatments that can greatly help reduce pain and increase mobility.
Additional Resources About Airedale Terrier Health Problems
When it comes to avoiding Airedale Terrier health problems, your best bet is finding an exceptional Airedale Terrier breeder. Look for a breeder who knows a lot about the breed and any Airedale Terrier health concerns. A responsible breeder will make sure that all of the dogs in her breeding program are tested and cleared for Hip Dysplasia. Early socialization is what sets the foundation for a dog with an even personality and temperament. Make sure your breeder home raises her Airedale puppies with lots of love and gentle handling. If you follow these suggestions, you have a much better chance of buying a sound, healthy puppy that is free of common Airedale Terrier health problems.
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Diarrhea in Dogs and Puppies – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention
Diarrhea is a common symptom of illness in dogs and can have many different causes. Diarrhea in dogs, just like humans is the result of the body trying to rid the itself of some sort of irritation. These intestinal irritations can include, but are not limited to virus, bacteria, spoiled food and dietary changes. Mild cases of diarrhea in dogs can typically be treated at home with supportive therapy. More severe or questionable cases of diarrhea in dogs should always be attended to by a veterinarian.
Withholding solid food is the first and most important step in treating a dog with diarrhea. Food should be withheld for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how quickly your dog is recovering. This practice gives your dogs intestinal tract an opportunity to rest and get back to normal. A liquid diet is completely adequate in most situations when a dog has diarrhea.
It is essential that you promote fluids when your dog has diarrhea. Fluid therapy will prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated. Your dog should always have water available when it has diarrhea. Additionally, to keep sodium and potassium levels from dropping, offer broth. You can give your dog broth several times daily while you are withholding food.
When it has been at least 24 hours and if your dog is showing significant signs of improvement, you can begin to offer food slowly. When returning your dog to solid food, you should always start with a bland diet. Boil a chicken breast and chop or puree it in a food processor or blender. Mix it with cooked rice. It should be about three parts chicken to one part rice. Continue this diet until your dog is better. You should gradually wean your dog back to their normal diet by mixing it with the bland diet. This will prevent any repeat intestinal upset from the switching of foods.
Dogs can get diarrhea from a variety of things. It is essential that you keep close watch of them for other signs of distress. If your dog is under weight, elderly, sick or you have a puppy always consult a veterinarian to make certain that treating them at home is adequate. Watch for signs of dehydration and call your vet immediately is dehydration is suspected. Diarrhea in dogs can go from bad to worse very quickly and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Obesity in Dogs – How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight
People aren’t the only species facing a fat epidemic! The family dog is also bearing the weight of today’s inactive lifestyle and overabundance of treats and junk food. Heres how you can help your dog get (and stay) in shape so that he or she can live a long, happy and healthy life.
Is your dog becoming a bit pudgy? Does he look more like a Hippo than a hound? Could it be those little treats you’re giving him? Unfortunately, the consequence of too many treats is an overweight, sluggish dog. Overweight dogs have a higher risk of developing a variety of health problems and tend to have a shorter life span as a result of their obesity. If you’re concerned about your dog’s obesity, here are some tips to help promote dog weight loss:
Get a thorough veterinary check.
Certain medical conditions can cause your dog to gain weight. Excessive weight gain can be due to retention of fluid due to liver or kidney disease. Your dog could also have an under active thyroid. These conditions need to be diagnosed early for the best outcome for your dog. You can also discuss your dog’s diet and caloric needs with your veterinarian.
Adjust your dog’s food intake
If you’ve ruled out medical problems as causes for your dog’s obesity, it’s time to reevaluate his diet. Initially, you should cut back 20% on this intake of food in the hopes of promoting weight loss without causing your dog excessive hunger. You can also switch to a dog food specifically made for overweight dogs. Unfortunately, dogs sometimes don’t find these foods to be palatable.
Get your dog moving.
Dogs need daily exercise as much as humans do. If your dog enjoys retrieving, spend some time playing ball with him each evening. You can also exercise with your overweight dog by taking him on a thirty minute daily walk. A daily exercise session may be the key to helping your dog live longer, irrespective of his weight.
Stop giving your dog human junk foods.
Junk food isn’t healthy for anyone – particularly the family dog, who has a system that is not equipped to digest and deal with the high fat, salt and sugar content of most processed junk foods. Begging for Cheeto’s (and getting them) can be a significant factor in weight gain. Your dog is best served by a healthy diet designed for dogs. If you still feel compelled to give your dog human food, try something healthy like fresh fruit. Dogs really enjoy the taste of certain fruits and veggies such as apples and carrots.
Replace those high calorie treats.
The next time your dog begs for a treat, don’t give him a dog cookie. Instead give him a meat flavored bone designed for dogs that he can chew on for hours. These treats have the advantage of being calorie free.
Encourage your family to help.
It does no good to restrict your dog’s high calorie treats if other family members are giving him treats under the table. Discuss with everyone in your family the importance of getting your overweight dog’s weight under control. Give your family access to healthy treats such as apples and bones to give your dog when he begs.
Your dog should lose weight at a rate no more than 7% of his starting weight on a monthly basis. It’s important to weigh him regularly and keep records so you can show your veterinarian his progress on your next visit.
If your overweight dog needs to lose weight, give some of these tips a try. A lean and fit dog is sure to be happier and healthier.
Patellar Luxation in Dogs and Puppies
All About Canine Luxating Patella Syndrome
Canine Luxating Patella syndrome is a condition that affects many small and medium breeds of dogs. In simple terms, Patellar Luxation just means that the dog’s kneecap (patella) slips out of place. Usually this condition is inherited and is most commonly found in small dogs. Some large dog breeds have been known to develop Patellar Luxation, usually showing up while the dog is still a puppy; around 6 months old.
Canine Patellar Luxation can be detected by your veterinarian through a simple “range of motion” test, where the vet will try to push the kneecap out of place and see how easily it pops back to it’s normal position. Dogs with patellas that are easily dislocated can undergo surgery to repair any loose or torn ligaments, and deepen the groove in which the kneecap rests.
If you are considering buying a small breed puppy, it’s important to make sure that the breeder is knowledgeable about Patellar Luxation and selectively breeds to avoid producing puppies with this condition. Choosing a responsible, reputable breeder from which to buy a small breed puppy is of utmost importance, so avoid the urge to buy that pet store puppy or answer that newspaper ad. Surgery is very expensive.
If you do end up with a dog or puppy with Luxating Patella Syndrome, you can help prevent injury and knee dislocation by creating an environment where your dog or puppy cannot harm himself. Never let your pet jump off the couch or bed – provide pet steps or pet stairs to help him get up and down with ease. Be very careful when picking up and putting down your dog; don’t let him drop onto his feet. And NEVER allow small children to play with your dog. Toddlers can cause serious harm to your small dog, since they have no concept of the fact that this is a delicate, living creature and not a toy.
More Information About Luxating Patella Syndrome
OFA: Patellar Luxation – Information about Patellar Luxation provided by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
Luxating Patella – A knee problem in dogs.
Luxating Patellas – Information on Luxating Patellas from the Pomeranian Club of Canada
Patellar Luxation – The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association offers an informative article about Luxating Patellas in dogs and puppies.