Guest Post—Breed-Specific Health Concerns for Dogs

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Guest Post—Breed-Specific Health Concerns for Dogs

If you are considering adopting a dog, you have probably researched the personality traits and basic care requirements of various breeds. While this is a key step in determining the best breed for your lifestyle, it’s also important to note that each breed has its own set of breed-specific medical concerns. These conditions can be as minor as skin conditions or as severe as blindness and heart disease. Before deciding on a breed, be sure to consider common ailments your new dog may encounter.

1. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas and other toy breeds are particularly susceptible to injuries, especially bone fractures and breaks. This is largely due to their small size. Something as minor as falling out of your bed may not phase a large German shepherd, for instance, but it can be quite traumatic for a Chihuahua. Other common health concerns for Chihuahuas include heart problems, jawbone deformities, arthritis and dental issues. Although you cannot control genetically predetermined problems like jawbone deformities, you can prevent injuries and dental issues by creating a safe environment and practicing good dental hygiene.

2. Bulldog

While the “squashed” looking face of a bulldog is certainly endearing, it places these dogs at an increased risk for respiratory problems. The same is true of other breeds with this distinctive flat-face shape, such as pugs and English toy spaniels. Correcting these problems typically requires surgical intervention. Both standard and French bulldogs are also prone to conditions such as collapsed nostrils, heart defects, eyelid abnormalities and skin conditions.

3. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are a top breed choice for families. Their gentle nature makes them ideal for being around children, but this breed, like most, is affected by breed-specific health issues. One of the most common is obesity, which means that it is essential for a Labrador Retriever to get regular exercise and live an active lifestyle. Problems related to the eyes are prominent among the breed, too, such as cataracts and retinal dysplasia.

4. Poodle

This curly-haired breed is one of the most recognizable to people of all ages. Unfortunately, these adorable dogs are not spared from health complications. Toy poodles, much like Chihuahuas, are at risk for fractures and injury because of their small stature. Additionally, poodles may develop hypoglycemia, glaucoma, epilepsy, hip dysplasia and PRA, or progressive retinal atrophy, which can lead to complete blindness. In this scenario, owners of poodles must provide exceptional care to protect them from injury.

5. Pit Bull

Pit bulls, as with many breeds, are generally healthy if they lead active lifestyles and are properly cared for. They can become overweight if they do not receive an adequate amount of exercise on a regular basis. The breed is also prone to a number of common ailments such as hip dysplasia, cataracts and heart disease.

By understanding diseases and conditions that popular breeds are prone to, you will have a better idea of signs and symptoms to look for. Likewise, understanding potential health problems allows you to properly prepare ahead of time for any accommodations your dog may need throughout its lifetime. In addition to watching for these ailments, it’s also necessary to provide routine care such as administering dog medication to prevent fleas, grooming them regularly, ensuring they get plenty of exercise and providing a well-balanced diet to keep them healthy.

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