Throughout your dogs life, multiple ailments can arise. Here, I talk about health issues I have experienced with my dogs, and also health conditions I have researched when caring for my pets.
Over the course of 4 years, I managed my dog Lady’s kidney disease. I credit her living as long as she did with renal failure to the foods I fed her. Here is a collection of posts on what I learned and what I did when caring for Lady.
- Dog with Kidney Disease needs surgery
- Sample Diets for Dogs with Kidney Disease
- What is Chronic Renal Failure in Dogs?
- Commercial Diets for Dogs with Kidney Disease: Review
- Epulis Tumors in Dogs
- Multiple Sclerosis in Dogs: Degenerative Myelopathy
- Pain Management for Your Dog
- Maple May Where Did your Tail Go? The Docking of Australian Shepherd Tails.
Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier than Purebreds?
A commonly held belief is that mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebreds. This is not always the case, and it largely dependent on the mixed breed and the purebred in question. When considering certain breeds, such as bulldogs or pugs, it may be correct to blatantly state that mixes are hardier than these breeds. But many purebreds are very healthy, and plenty of breeds have relatively low rates of health conditions. With the advent of genetic testing, it is easier than ever for breeders to eliminate certain traits and illnesses from their lines. In addition to this, I have had several mutts over the years, and many of them had a variety of issues. I will briefly talk about their health over the years here, and note how old they were at passing. For Lady and Oscar, I don’t know the exact age they were when they passed away, as they came to me as adults.
Lady was relatively healthy, but she was allergic to flea bites and developed kidney disease at the age of 11. She also had arthritis in her later years, but this is pretty common in old dogs of all mixes and breeds. Overall, she was a mixed breed who was relatively healthy throughout her life, and even when ailments struck her, she was very resilient and did remarkably well with her setbacks. We believe she was about 15 years old when she passed away.
Oscar, another mutt, had a host of health issues throughout his entire life. Oscar had many eye problems requiring surgery and long term topical medication. His mouth was riddled with dental issues, even with frequent brushing and plenty of things to chew on. He had issues with allergies that would come and go, mostly related to flea bites. In his later years, he developed kidney disease like Lady. Lastly, he was diagnosed with megaesophagus in his last year of life, and required a Bailey chair and for his food to be ground down to a gruel. Along with these chronic ailments, Oscar had several acute issues, one of them being and impacted anal gland, despite his anal glands being expressed at his regular grooming appointments. In spite of all this, he was an incredibly happy, joyful little guy who didn’t let anything stop him from enjoying life to the fullest. Oscar passed away at around the age of 14 – 16 years.
Raina is also a mixed breed, and the first mutt that I have owned to have relatively few health complaints other than a very sensitive GI system. Now that she is a senior dog, she does have arthritis and she has had issues with disc disease, but in her younger years she really suffered no major health concerns. Raina is currently 12, and I hope and pray I have many more years with her!
Cooper, who I believe was either a Treeing Walker Coonhound or a Foxhound, was pretty healthy physically when he was with me. He had arthritis in one elbow, but his symptoms were completely controlled with diet, Dasuquin, and fish oil. Mentally, Cooper was not healthy, his story can be read here.
Maple is the newest addition to my family, and is an Australian Shepherd. I am curious to see how she grows and develops, and how her health will compare to my other dogs’ health over the years.
All this to say, don’t get a mixed breed dog for the sole reason of hoping he/she won’t have any health concerns over the years. Any dog of any breed and any age group can and probably will get sick at some point. Always have an emergency fund ready in case the unexpected happens.