Which dog breeds have health issues?
Prospective dog owners tend to choose a dog depending on physical and personality characteristics. Some want a friend to take long walks with, others a companion to cuddle on the sofa. Dogs are chosen for their loyalty, willingness to work or play and whether they are a good fit with your family, among other things.
When researching buying a dog (there are thousands of breeds to choose from), it's also worth considering what their vulnerabilities are. Some dogs are more prone to diseases, health problems and illnesses than other dogs, and therefore you may want to factor in your appetite for vet visits and which dog insurance to choose.
Dogs with squashed faces such as pugs and bulldogs often have respiratory problems which have been caused by being bred with flat faces. Pugs also get ocular problems as a result of their bulbous eyes which will need constant attention with proper cleaning and care.
Chows and German Shepherds may have suspect back legs as a result of hip dysplasia. Chows have been bred to be larger than their hips can take, causing the joints to slip out and disrupt their ability to walk. If you want a dog to take long country walks with, these may not be the breeds for you!
Boxer Dogs can be prone to heart issues called Aortic Stenosis or Cardiomyopathy. If your Boxer becomes tired or weak, suffers from reduced appetite or difficulty breathing, it could be worth taking them for a scan. Boxers are also known to be quite susceptible to cancer, so do keep a lookout for tumours on your pet.
Labradors love food so much that you have to watch their weight, and what they eat, as they will consume just about anything. Labradors are also susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia.
Beagles are known to suffer from epilepsy. A Beagle can have a seizure at any age, though it is likelier to happen when the dog is two years or older. Signs that a Beagle could be unwell include drooling, staring into space, walking in a strange way, being unresponsive or confused. If you notice any odd behaviour from your beagle you should take them to the vet.
Daschunds and Corgis may lose the use of their back legs if they have suffered a spinal injury. Rapid treatment here is vital to prevent long term damage so don't delay in taking them to the vet.
When should I take my dog to the vet?
Aside from the obvious moments when you know that your dog is in distress and needs to go to the vet, such as collapse or paralysis, there are some subtle signs to look out for.
If they're not eating or drinking
Dogs aren't generally fussy eaters so if this goes on for a while it's better to play it safe rather than sorry.
If they're being sick
Look for blood in the vomit or stool and take the dog to the vet if they vomit or poo very frequently.
If they appear bloated
Gastric dilatation with volvulus, known as Bloat, is a condition which affects dogs but can be hard to spot. Look for an enlarged abdomen caused by exercising after eating and signs of restlessness and frantic panting. Other symptoms include drooling, vomiting, paleness and laboured breathing.
If they have difficulty breathing
The most critical emergency with no time to waste here. Listen out for alarming, unusual noises when your dog tries to breathe, or look for puffiness in their lips. Of course, all dogs are different and much will depend on the quality of the breeder and what their genetic history is. Don't buy your dog from a pet store or an online site.
Good questions to ask your breeder
- Did any of the parents or other dogs in their ancestry suffer from particular conditions?
- Can I see independent certification to verify the dog's medical history?
- What preventative measures can I take to help avoid any common illnesses my dog may be prone to?
Some strong dog breeds to consider
- Australian Shepherds
- Australian Cattle Dogs
- Mixed 'mutts' or 'mongrels'
- Border Collies
- Springer Spaniels
These dogs are fairly high energy dogs which have been shown to live a long time on average due to a lack of genetic diseases. Of course the health of a dog will depend mostly on its owner – how often you take them to the vet, exercise them, train them and what you feed them.