10+ Common Dog Health Questions
As a caring dog owner we are committed to our faithful canine companions, and we are aware they wholeheartedly depend on our commitment for good, short and long term health care. To try and ensure our canine lead a healthy and care free life in the short and long term, it is imperative read, understand and follow the professional experts advice when it comes to the most common and not so common health problems your canine could potentially face, their signs and actions you need to take on instant detection as a commitment being a caring dog owner.
Dog Health: Is there any special dog training equipment that should be used for the older dog?
No. A dog leash and harness, chain collar, embroidered dog collar, fancy dog collar and six-foot web leash are applicable for all training sessions with a normal healthy dog, regardless of age. It is imperative to understand the recent concerns from medical consults and surgeons concerning the regular intake of A & E Departments need immediate surgery with life-changing injuries to dog owners hands while exercising their large dog's with long extendable dog leads, following their large breed dog has decided to 'bolt' with the long retractable dog lead wrapped around the owners wrist and fingers. Generally, large dogs should be controlled with short non-retractable leads and preferably a sturdy dog harness as opposed a dog collar, otherwise apparent neck injuries to the dog is commonplace.
Why don't dogs get cavities except in rare instances?
It is speculated that the enamel surface of the dog's teeth is harder and more impenetrable to pathogenisis than that of humans. Another factor could be that the dog is presumed to not to have amylase in the saliva as humans do; so while human starch-digestion begins in the mouth, the dog's starch-digestion starts further down the intestinal tract. Some research has since discovered salivary enzymes.
Do dogs have to go out for walks more often as they get older?
Yes, but for different reasons. If we are dealing with a normal, healthy dog, he can get along on the frequency he is used to. However, if you have an older dog that is beginning to show arthritis problems; it is a good idea to get him moving more often during the day. The older dog can also tend to get lazy and this can be a deterrent if this lack of exercise is reinforced so encouragement to exercise is a necessity and need to be exercised on a regular regime, and blood circulation is improved with exercise and moderate walks.
Is a dog's bladder weaker at eight or nine years old?
Most of the time, what is interpreted as a weak bladder is actually a bladder infection or an ensuing kidney problem. Bladder infections can be common, regardless of age, and kidney disease is very pronounced in the older dog. Two of the most common problems in the older dog are bad heart and bad kidneys and these common problems need to be identified early within its progression to avoid the dog needless suffering.
If the older dog begins to urinate in the house for apparently no reason, after being housebroken for many years, would you assume this to be a medical problem rather than spite-work?
Yes, most definitely. You must first eliminate any medical problems before you chastise your dog for disobedience. Medically speaking, if he is urinating in the house, this is most likely a bladder problem. If he is drinking more water and also urinating in the house, it could more likely be a kidney problem and this is a common problem with older dogs.
Dog Health: Is regular exercise bad for the older dog?
No. Exercise is very good for a dog unless there are definite contraindications, such as heart problems. All exercise should be within reason. Jumping hurdles is exercise that the older dog should not be asked to do, but walking provides healthful exercise for all dogs of any age and need to be encouraged to help to maintain your older dogs healthy lifestyle and well-being.
Do older dogs need a different dog food diet?
Yes. They should have less total protein but a higher quality protein. Different age dogs do require different diets. Young dogs need a high concentration of protein, middle-aged dogs can thrive on the protein that exists in the average good-quality dog food, and older dogs need lesser amounts of higher-quality protein. Excess protein produces more nitrogenous wastes, which means more work for the kidneys. Dogs with kidney problems could be put on prescription dog food, or small amounts of high-quality protein, such as in eggs, yogurt, tofu, ricotta, farmer cheese, cottage cheese, and hard mild cheeses, together with a lot of raw, grated vegetables. Kidney problems require low protein. Heart problems require low salt. Very often the two maladies go hand in hand and these issues need to be recognized. Read the expert thinking about healthy dog good diet paragraph – linked, at the bottom of this article.
What can be done for a very old dog with severe dysplasia problems?
First, the condition would have to be evaluated by the vet through what would include physical examination, X-rays, radiographs and manual tests on your dog’s hips / joints. The symptoms may be due to a neurological problem and not a bone problem. If surgery is indicated, and the dog is checked out as a good surgical risk, operating can prove very helpful in alleviating the pain. Excellent results have also been obtained using vitamin C therapy. However, a combination of healthy diet, maintaining a normal weight, exercise, massage, warm, dry and extended roomy sleeping areas. Professionally prescribed joint supplements and veterinary pain-relieving medication can positively manage the painful condition. Your dog’s veterinarian will need to be contacted concerning a good and beneficial exercise program. Daily walking and moderate running can positively help strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints. Veterinarians generally recommend trying two 20-minute walks daily – although, it’s important to allow your dog to set the pace. Your dog participating in swimming exercise is excellent for toning the muscles surrounding the joints.
What is the incidence of cancer in dogs?
Cancer incidence is low as compared with humans. Even when there exists a lipoma, a benign fatty tumor, or breast tumors that are diagnosed as malignant, these do not precipitate a spreading malignancy or death. Occasionally dogs will have a liver or spleen tumor that spreads to the lungs. Such dogs can bleed to death because the tumors bleed, or the malignancy can cause sufficient damage to the liver to cause death. Fibrosis of the heart and kidneys, which means a loss of elasticity in those organs, is far and away the most common disease-induced cause of death. Cancer affects more cats than dogs, but the reasons for this are somewhat obscure. Much can be done to control and prevent cancer in dogs.
Is the older dog more affected by heat prostration?
Yes, an older dog's thermostat does not work as well, so he will be more affected by extremes of heat and cold. If a dog has a bad heart or bad kidneys, he will be more affected than the healthier dog. However, if you were to put a two-year-old dog and an eleven-year- old, both in good physical condition, into a sun-baked car, they will both suffer with equal severity and trauma.
Dog Health: Is it advantageous for an older dog to wear protective clothing of any kind?
Yes, wearing apparel we would define as being generally superfluous. However, there are some good reasons for wearing clothing on certain occasions and these reasons should be identified to understand if applicable to your dog.
Are older dogs subject to high blood pressure?
If a dog has a bad heart, he usually has low blood pressure because he is hampered by an inefficient pump and poor circulation. This is why a dog with heart problems often also has kidney problems. You must maintain adequate pressure and blood supply to organs in order to maximize kidney efficiency.
Should a dog owner take his own dog's temperature?
No! In consideration of safety factors such as thermometer breakage and absorbing the thermometer up into the rectum, as well as not being able to diagnose the symptoms concurrent to the temperature (which at 101° to 102° is normal in a dog), you should not to take your own dog's temperature, but to call the vet without delay if you suspect illness.
Can older dogs develop cataracts?
Yes, but cataracts can also be seen in younger dogs and incidentally in dogs of all ages.
Do mixed breeds live longer than pure breeds?
Researchers have not found that the longevity differs greatly between mixed and purebred dogs.
Dog Health: Are there any kinds of parasites that would particularly affect older dogs?
If an older dog gets hookworms, it might affect him more and it would be useful to the dog owner to familiarize yourself with the identification of hookworms and ringworm. In general, it all depends upon the dog's state of well-being.
Are organ transplants performed in older dogs?
These operations are performed experimentally. But practically, the cost would be prohibitive, not to mention the problem of availability of organs.
Do older dogs shed their coats more often or more profusely?
No, they may even shed less. But they may develop more seborrhea.
What dog diseases are communicable to humans?
Ringworm, rabies, sarcoptic mange, ticks, can all be communicated to humans. Incidentally, ringworm is a fungus disease of the skin and, as such, it is a misnomer. In the case of sarcoptic mange, when you kill it on the dog, the human symptoms will disappear.
Does an aging dog become senile?
In general, No, unless there are other circumstances involved, such as a brain tumor.
Dog Health: Do dogs utilize their full capacity of intelligence?
We know, and most people are amazed to discover, that a dog has a tremendous capacity for learning, regardless of age. This potential is seldom tapped by most dog owners.
Are there special food considerations for diabetic dogs?
Yes. In general, you should not be using the semi-moist packaged foods for a diabetic dog; because of the sugar they contain that moderate in whole grains, and high in high biological-value dairy products.
Can you tell a dog's age by the condition of its-teeth?
No. Some two-year-old dogs could chew on rocks and have teeth that look like the dog is fifteen. Others retain the shape and color through very advanced years.
Is there any age beyond which you should not purchase a dog?
You should try to find out why the dog is being sold at an advanced age. If he is aggressive, you likely will have a problem. But if you are satisfied that the reasons are valid as to why the dog is being given up, then, beyond the fact that you will have a shorter life together, the love that passes between you will be just as strong and meaningful as if it had been a complete life span.
How old should a bitch be when weaning her last litter?
In general, a female should not be more than five years old when weaning her last litter, nor younger than the second heat, which means between one and two years old. She should also be bred only every other heat, which means a total of three or four litters throughout a female's lifetime.
Dog Health: How old should a male dog be before he should be prevented from copulating?
Dogs generally have a self-checking mechanism, which means that they would not ordinarily pursue sex beyond their abilities and fortitude. If they did attempt copulation beyond their physical stamina, they would simply pass out. As dogs get older, they have a lower sperm count, so for selective breeding purposes you are better off using a younger dog with not only fine conformation but stable temperament as well.
Do female dogs experience a change of life?
Not that we are aware of. Female dogs can remain fertile until they die. We know of a cocker spaniel who had puppies at the age of fourteen. For the most part females simply stop coming into heat, or come into heat less often, without any menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, etc.
What is the oldest a dog can live?
We have heard of dogs living to eighteen years. In general, these cases occur among the smaller breeds.
How does a dog's hearing or sight change as he gets older?
It generally gets worse. Barring any medical problems, it is not uncommon to see normal longevity of nine to fifteen years in a dog that has become deaf. The older dog will lose his hearing gradually, so that his owner is often not aware of it until the dog is deaf or almost deaf. Dogs very rarely become blind, but many will experience a clouding of the lens as they get older. A dog's sight is comprised of rods but no cones, so they don't see color - only shades of black, white, and gray.
Do older dogs tend to get fat?
Yes! Dogs in general tend to be overfed. They are being killed with kindness through frequent snacking. However, older dogs, like people, will tend to loose muscle tone. Overfeeding and lack of exercise will cause any age dog to become overweight.
Dog Health: How common is the problem of gastric torsion?
It seems to occur primarily in big dogs. The condition usually is precipitated by a heavy, fatty meal, eaten hastily, followed closely 'by a lot of water then by exercise. The stomach is contracting, trying to digest food and building up fermentation momentum until, in the big chested dog, the stomach literally flips over, twists, and closes off the openings at both ends. It can be remedied only by immediate surgery to unflip the stomach and sew it to the stomach wall if necessary. If not caught in time, the dog goes into shock and dies.
Is the surgical risk greater in the older dog?
Usually yes, again depending upon the status of the heart and the kidneys. All of this should be thoroughly checked out before the older dog is anesthetized. The anesthesia provides a greater risk than the surgery. If the dog is competently evaluated before surgery, there should only be a one-percent risk factor of anesthetic death. During the time when sodium pentobarbital was more widely used for anesthesia, many dogs never woke up because of a condition called acidosis. Over-dosing caused excess absorption of the pentobarbital into the body. Just when you would think the dog was nicely asleep, his fat began to release it, thereby effecting an overdose in the dog. When sodium pentobarbital is in the blood stream, there is no control or reversal. Today, with gas anesthesia, risk is almost zero because of the greater control the vet has.
Do dogs get arthritis as they get older?
Some do. Larger dogs are more prone to arthritis because of hip dysplasia, and because of the proclivity to hip dysplasia, they also get arthritis in the hip joints. But dogs don't have to be old to get arthritis. Small dogs are less prone to arthritis, regardless of their age. The general correlation does not preclude the existence of one condition without the other; however, the two usually do go together.
Do older dogs need more sleep?
They probably rest more, but this indicates a lessening of physical activity rather than excessive sleeping.
Do older dogs eat less?
Growing dogs eat twice as much as those no longer growing, but, once they attain adulthood, they generally stabilize their eating habits. However, a sick dog, no matter what his age, will generally stop eating altogether. Older dogs will tend to eat less.
Dog Health: Can an older dog be hurt by using a metal choke chain to train him, or even just to walk him?
Metal chain collars are perfectly safe as long as the dog is in good physical condition. Nylon choke collars provide an alternative for the older and not so good condition.
How often do dogs get heart attacks?
Dogs don't get heart attacks as they manifest themselves in humans. If a dog gets a heart block, related to an arterial obstruction, he can drop dead but it wouldn't be a heart attack. However, dogs do get strokes, which would indicate an obstruction leading to the brain. Heart attack is not a veterinary term.
What is the most common cause of death in dogs?
Cars kill more dogs than all other causes combined, more than all diseases. Irresponsible dog owners are the real killers, the cars are merely the means of execution. Among diseases, kidney and heart diseases take equal toll, and cancer is a more common cause of death nowadays than heretofore. Let us repeat here what was stated earlier. There must be respect for community leash laws. Dogs should not walk themselves. Always take your dog for his walks, whether to answer a call of nature or just for a stroll, on the leash. We, the dog owners, have that responsibility to our pets; their safety and longevity depend on us.
Do older dogs lose their teeth as do humans?
Yes, but for slightly different reasons. Excessive tartar builds up. This creates a bacterial climate whereby destructive agents invade the gum and bone surfaces, causing damage or destruction to both, and eventual tooth loss in some dogs. Machines such as the cavitron have been used with some success in removing excess tartar from a dog's teeth. Once the dog has bitten down on a piece of food, the outer surfaces are not utilized very much so most of the tartar forms on the outside of the teeth. The inner surfaces are being stimulated more by the action of chewing and therefore remain cleaner.
Why do dogs live such a relatively short life span?
Every type of animal has a predetermined life span and we cannot deduce any logical or medical rationales for the relatively short life span of dogs. However, all dogs will reach their maximum longevity if kept in good health. A proper diet will increase your dog's lifespan.
Dog Health: Why do small dogs live relatively longer than the larger breeds?
It probably has something to do with the metabolic rate. The greatest difference occurs within the very large breeds, such as the St. Bernards, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds. Their average life span might be eight or nine years, as opposed to a tiny Poodle or Chihuahua that can seemingly live on forever, becoming senior citizens of eighteen or nineteen years old.
What is the most humane way of ending a dog's life?
Euthanasia, as performed by an overdose of anesthesia, is the most painless way of ending a dog's life. He simply goes to sleep, in a matter of seconds, and feels no pain or apprehension. Phenobarbital is the anesthesia used. Some facilities use suffocation, which means putting the dog in an evacuation chamber and extracting the air, a method most often employed where cost dictates mass disposal. This procedure, of course, is much less humane and to be avoided wherever possible. Carbon monoxide is also used, and could be considered a second alternative to the phenobarbital.
How often should the older dog be bathed?
The older dog, as well as any age dog, should be bathed whenever he is dirty, and as often as he needs it, in a wild, natural, herbal shampoo from a health food store.
Do older dogs need special vitamins?
An older dog should be on a good multivitamin supplement, essential vitamins, essential mineral, essential trace elements, intestinal flora, and enzyme preparation, because he does not absorb nutrients as well from the intestinal tract.
Which breeds tend to have the greatest incidence of pyorrhea (bone degeneration), leading to loss of teeth?
The two breeds with the most frequent incidence of periodontal disease are the Dachshunds and Schnauzers. The host resistance factor seems to be lower in these breeds.
Dog Health: How septic is a dog's mouth?
Since bacteria do not break through the body's protective barrier, namely the skin, we needn't worry about having a dog lick us and our subsequently contracting a disease. However, from the point of aesthetics, dogs do sniff every conceivable pile or puddle of excrement deposited in the streets by other dogs, so many people may deem it ill-advised to allow a dog to lick them on the mouth. This choice is entirely personal. The people who sleep with their dogs usually allow all manner of familiarity, including kissing.
What are ear hematomas in dogs and what causes them?
Usually a hematoma in a dog is precipitated by irritation of some sort within the ear or upon the ear flap. The dog tries to ease the annoyance by shaking his head, frequently hitting his ears against solid objects and rupturing the veins of the ears. This causes internal bleeding, which collects in a swelling beneath the skin until the blood clots. Hematomas can reabsorb, but the dog winds up with a cauliflower ear. The surgery performed for ear hematomas is cosmetic, not crucial to the dog's health.
How does one dog react to the death of another dog in the family?
This can be very personally traumatic for a dog. Just as some dogs will refuse to eat and subsequently will starve to death, after the death of their master, the emotional affinity can be exceedingly strong between one family pet and another.
Dog Health: Should a new puppy be introduced into a family with the older dog?
This is advised against this for several reasons. The older dog may bully the younger pup, causing permanent damage to the pup's personality. Also, the older dog may feel forced to compete, resenting strongly the presence of this newcomer. An older dog, in resentment, may try to hurt, or even kill, the new puppy, causing a tragedy that you can well live without. Sometimes the older dog gets a more acute awareness of his age and debilities, causing him undue stress and unhappiness. On the plus side, some older dogs have been known to become rejuvenated by a new canine family member. A sedate older dog can sometimes act as a calming influence upon a young boisterous puppy. Chewing and barking problems are sometimes lessened when anxiety is diminished through companionship. But, here again, it is just as possible for a new dog to pick up bad habits from an older dog, as it is likely that he will pick up the good habits. We advise that you do both yourself and your dog a service by not introducing a new puppy into the family until such time as your present devoted companion has died.
Effective Dog Health and dog care is crucial to having a healthy and active family dog.
If you require more in-depth details of Dog Health Problems, Then you are Advised to Start your research at The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), link above.
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