Canine Breeds and Common Ailments


canine breeds and common ailments

I’ve been wanting to tell you about an article that I read on canine breeds and common ailments .  It pays to get educated early on, before you bring home that new pure-breed of the dog that you have always wanted.

So it’s time in your life for a puppy; the one you have always wanted. The puppy you dreamed about as a kid, the exact pup that you have always wanted for your very own.  But you should be very aware of the canine breeds and common ailments before you bring this forever pet home.

Many people have a specific breed in mind. For me it was kind of like picking the place in our world where I always dreamed of living my adult life.

I want a French Bulldog and I wanted to live somewhere in the warmth of our world in the tropics. The only problem for me so far, it has been just a dream. But I’m still working toward my goals.

I never knew until just recently that I could have, or do anything that I really want to do, whenever I want to in my life. I always thought I was just supposed to do whatever it was that made common sense. That would have been my mothers teaching; but I’m pretty much done with that now.

My mother always questioned everything that I ever wanted to do. Most of the time she belittled me for having such stupid ideas. “Why do you want to move halfway around the world, away from your family?” My mother always had a great way of telling me to grow up; quit thinking of only yourself! But at 59, why would I want to do that?

So even though I have traveled pretty extensively, I haven’t been to Mexico yet and I haven’t gotten a french bulldog yet either.

But getting my dream dog can come with a few problems I found out. I wasn’t aware that specific canine breeds and common ailments could come in the same package.  Many breeds are prone to certain medical problems.

A little French Bulldog (any little dog for that matter) can start out as a healthy dog or puppy. Then as your new pet grows, you may find yourself up against a few allergies that get worse and worse over time.

Depending on the canine breeds and common ailments listed below, you might find your new little dream pup fighting to clear allergies to something in its food, or a material included in its bedding.

It will behove any new pet parent to study the accompanying list of canine breeds and common ailments below. It is a fairly meticulous list and one that took a great deal of time to establish. These common ailments are illnesses that you should be very aware of so that when and if your puppy begins to show signs, you will know ahead of time what to do and how to care for the ailing dog or puppy.

Now I’m not saying that the risk of the disease or ailment would make any difference in your choice of breed; it certainly wouldn’t matter for the dog breed that I choose.

But if it really matters to you, and it should, then how much research are you willing to invest in your quest for a healthy puppy/dog just might save you and your new family addition a whole lot of headaches.

Reading about your preferred type of dog at the library or online, talking to a vet or two, or even chatting with a breeder, will give you a great  start and give you enough insight about what to do and how to spot an ailment that could even be a life threatening situation and save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Remember, you are bringing your new puppy home to cuddle up with, not run back and forth to the local emergency vet clinic.

Make sure that you ask yourself if you plan on skipping this education, “are you willing to take on a dog that could be ill with one of these canine breeds and common ailments that they are known for”?  Some dog maladies are worse than others, some are easily treated and then some are more expensive to treat and harder to deal with.

So please choose your new dog wisely; it’s a life long commitment. There’s no giving the dog back and it is a desperate thing to give a sick dog up for adoption later in its life.  In my opinion, this new dog is going to be like a new child in your family and a good parent cannot just abandon the new pet. At least not in good conscience.

Depending on the type or breed of dog that you want is going to matter a great deal in many cases. Almost every breed is going to have its own set of problems.

Whether problems come from actual breeding and was something that was bred into this particular breed way back when. Or it could be just a part of natural selection and a new set of problems for this particular breed somehow just became known.  Canine breeds and common ailments are particularly pretty well known at this point but there could always be a fluke and a new malady shows up, out of the blue.

a bulldog
the cute bulldog

For instance, the English Bulldog, is a hefty medium size breed that has problems with its breathing. The bulldog with his very cute, only a mother could love, smashed-in face, might suffer from a particular set of breathing problems. His nostrils are normally rather small, and he has an elongated soft palate, with a specifically narrow trachea. It is for these reasons that he most likely will snore. Has he always been born with these problems or were they bred into this particular dog? You will find some of these same problems in another, yet smaller breed; the French Bulldog (my future dog). I don’t mind snoring, as long as its coming from a dog. lol

It is extremely important to keep your bulldog cool and inside most of the time during the summer weather. Never let him get overly tired, too warm or overheated. This can lead to a life-threatening emergency. Exercising your bulldog should be done with moderation but never overdone. Small, short walks are okay, but this dog won’t care to go sight-seeing in the park.

My favorite dog, the Frenchie or French Bulldog, is just such an adorable little bugger. He also has his own set of breathing problems. He has many of the same problems that his larger English brother has when it comes to breathing and snoring. With the cute smashed in face, elongated soft palate and narrow trachea, also known as a “brachycephalic airway”. So it becomes difficult for him to breath when he overdoes it.

french bulldog
a cute little bug-my fave

This little guy makes a great indoor dog, or even better, a great apartment dog. Most apartments have a lot less space than houses. This means less stairs to climb in most cases, and rarely do you find a large yard to run and frolic in with an apartment. Keeping this little one in the house where it is cool during hot summer days is his preferable life style.

Both the English Bulldog and the French Bulldog are great house dogs, love to be in close proximity to mom or dad. I mean, who could not love that little face?

I saw a family out walking their French Bulldog the other day while pushing their baby in a stroller; the dog looked exhausted. I pulled over and told them that their dog looked a little overly tired. His head was hanging down, his tongue was hanging out and I was mad as heck. I knew they were probably going to tell me to mind my own business but I felt I had to say something. But instead they said, “yeah, we’re on our way home now”. Just to add fire to the flame, I told them that their dog was not made for long walks but got no response from that comment. People just don’t think sometimes.

little husky puppies
predisposed little huskies

Some dogs seem to be predisposed to “autoimmune disorders” or disorders that disrupt the skin, body hair and even more so, the face, facial hair, and eyes. One such beautiful dog is the Siberian Huskie.

They have the most beautiful eyes but autoimmune disorders can play havoc not only with their skin, their facial area, but even with their eyes and sight.

This disorder can cause glaucoma and even possibly cataracts. There is only one treatment that I have seen listed for this particular problem which is hormones known as corticosteroids. The corticosteroids can inhibit other parts of the immune system which is not good.

pic of a black pug puppy
The Pug Puppy

The Pug, another sweet doggy.  They have their own set of problems. Because they have a squashed in face and their eyes bulge out, these sweet pups run a big risk for eye problems. The most serious problem is that their eye(s) can easily pop out of the socket.

I am not sure if this happens due to an overabundance of pressure behind the eye or because the eye is too easily removed in an accident or while fighting? But if it should happen to your Pug, cover his eye with a damp clean cloth and rush him to a vet where they can put the eye back in place. It will only be clear at that time if the dog will remain with sight or if there is too much damage.

Another little cutey with eye problems? The Boston Terrier is prone to something called “Cherry Eye” because of the protruding eyes.

pic of boston terrier puppy
Boston Terrier puppy

They are problematic for other eye issues but with cherry eye, there is a tear producing gland that “pops out” from behind this dog’s third eyelid. The gland is round and is bright red;  thus the reason it is called cherry eye.

It can be repaired through a surgery. These terriers also run a risk for dry eye, cataracts, and eyelids that are turned inward “entropion”.

obese or fat dogs
Obesity is sad for dogs

Obesity? I thought this was a problem that humans and all dogs suffer from. But that can really only be true if they are overeating correct? I don’t think so.

Apparently the Lab family has a problem with obesity. Now you wouldn’t think that this would be an issue for this dog, especially a Lab since they love to be active. Unless your Lab is getting a whole lot of exercise every single day (and they do need it), they stand the chance of becoming overly fat.

If your dog is constantly begging to eat or be fed, the homeopathic doc or therapist says to try to get him to eat some apple, green beans, or carrots for a snack. I always wondered why my mother gave our black lab mix cans of green beans? And he ate them. Preventing weight gain is always a much easier thing than losing weight through dieting at a later time, or trying to starve for weight loss.

Have you ever heard of the “little white shaker syndrome”? It happens to dogs

small white maltese puppy
Maltese puppy

of many colors but is much more prevalent in little white dogs. The “little white shaker syndrome” is actually called “tremors” in any small dog of any color but mainly dogs that are little and white like the Maltese.

Their cerebellum is where it begins as an inflammation and it inflicts the poor little guy, making him shake so badly that he can barely walk. They say that it can be treated with corticosteroids. These tremors are not painful and with treatment, they will usually clear up in just a few weeks.  But again, corticosteroids are not a great long term medication for any animal or person.

puppy Cavalier King Puppy
Cavalier King Puppy

Heart Trouble? Yikes…. But the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is stricken with this mitral valve disease, especially the elderly of these small dogs.  It is typical of a younger Spaniel to develop this mitral valve disease early on.

With this mitral valve disease, the valve between the left atrium and ventricle doesn’t close tight enough. This allows blood to leak backwards as the heart pumps, which puts a strain on his little heart. There are other symptoms like lethargy and coughing associated with the heart disease. However, with the right meds and proper monitoring, a dog with this disease should be living for years into senior hood with little or no symptoms.

huge Great Dane
bone and skin dog needs a comfortable place to lie down for its boney mass

How about the “great bloat”? Bloat in a dog can be really serious and is prevalent in Great Danes. Because they are so large, they run a bigger risk for “gastric dilation and volvulus” which is called “bloat”.  It is life threatening because the stomach fills up with gas and then the stomach twists as it traps the gas and food in the stomach. If you ever see your Dane (or any larger dog I would assume) pacing about uncomfortably, panting, and drooling right after he eats? You will need to call your vet and get him to a place for corrective surgery right away because bloat can be fatal if not treated fast.

pure breed dog with skin allergies
Pure Breed such as this one has awful skin allergies which is not uncommon. They can be taken care of before they are allowed to get this bad though!

Skin Allergies?  Geez. I have been reading about the Golden Retriever but I know they aren’t the only dog to have skin allergies because my Staffordshire Terrier had them terribly. I also knew a Shar Pei that went to the groomers and vet once a week because of the oils that were excreted within and under his rolls of wrinkles and in between his toes. All 3 of these dogs licked incessantly, causing sores on their feet especially.

My wrinkled friend was in terrible shape and I was so happy that he was blessed with a really rich owner who could take proper care of him. That poor little dog was miserable when it was close to his weekly visit to the vet.

They tried changing his food, bath soap, tub soaks, medicines. I felt terrible for him but I also felt really bad for my dog. She was also miserable and the vet kept giving her steroid shots which were not good for her. She passed away at 7 from heart failure; I have always blamed it on the vet at that time.

Dogs don’t sneeze like we humans do. So when they are allergic to something, they begin to lick and in most cases their licking, scratching, chewing will lead to “hot spots”. These spots are red and can turn into oozing sores. The vets believe that oatmeal shampoo, adding an omega-3 supplement to its diet, and make sure he always gets regular flea treatments. In our case we also switched the food to something like salmon, duck, and no grains at all.

The book I just read doesn’t mention steroids at all so I am assuming that these vets would never even begin with the steroids. They do stop the itching but only for a short while and have to be repeated once every 30 days or so.

However, now there is a great medication out that can be given to dogs who are in itchy bad spots. I do not know the name of it and I do not know the side effects. I’m sure I will be hearing soon from Dr. Jones, our homeopathic vet.

shephard prone to dysplasia
German shepherd

When the joint ball and socket do not fit together in the proper way, it causes severe pain, arthritis sets in, and problems walking begin as well. Hip Dysplasia is the diagnosis and pretty common with German Shepherds. If you are shopping for a Shepherd puppy, you will want to have this conversation with the breeder to see if this puppy’s parents were screened for hip dysplasia. It sounds as though hip dysplasia could be a bit hereditary since parents with healthy hips commonly birth pups with healthy hips.

dressed up poodlePoodles are one of the “handful of Breeds” that are at an increased risk for Glaucoma which is a serious eye disease. A buildup of fluid in the eye causes pressure and pain, and can eventually cause blindness. If caught early (as with humans) it can be treated with medication. If not, then surgery or even a full removal of affected eyes could be necessary.

Joints seem to be a problem with larger dogs and in this case the Rottweiler is a pretty big dog. But these particular dogs suffer from hip and elbow

pic of a rottweiler pup
Rottweiler Puppy

dysplasia, arthritis, osteochondrosis dissecans or OCD. It is a condition that develops in larger puppies that grow fast when cartilage in the joint forms improperly. The right amount of a balanced diet could keep the joints healthy but many dogs require a surgery that removes this abnormal cartilage.

puppy Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzer Pup

A dog with diabetes or one that is more prone to diabetes? If you have a Miniature Schnauzer that is drinking water like crazy and all of a sudden he is having urine accidents in the house? These dogs seem to be at a higher risk of diabetes; this is a serious condition. So it’s insulin and diet change for this pup if he is to have a normal and healthy life.

Beagles, another cute smaller dog, are known for epilepsy!

family of beagle puppies
Family of Beagles

Seizures caused by a brain disorder is more common for Beagles than any other dog breed. A first seizure is usually seen between six months and three years. Epilepsy cannot be cured, but frequency (more than one per month) could be managed with medication.

pic of cocker spaniel puppies
Lil Cocker Spaniel Puppies

Cocker Spaniels get ear infections because of the way their ears grow. It is important to trim hair that is growing on the underside with clippers to keep her ear canals dry. Prevention is the best way to keep ear infections from happening so clean the ears every two weeks. Flip her ears back to let them “breathe”. This prevention will also help prevent major problems later in life as well.

Wobbly Knee Caps? Your Shih Tzu has Wobbly Kneecaps? Patellar Luxation

shih tzu family
shih tzu family

sounds a bit better but this is common in “toy breeds” like Shih Tzus. When the knee cap pops out-of-place, the dog hobbles, skips a step, or limps. This kneecap will normally pop back in place by itself. There are severe cases when surgery might be a necessity for correcting any problems and prevention for arthritis.

I have heard of bad backs in this dog but we always called our dog a wiener dog! I had one of these as a young girl and loved him dearly. He got away from me when we were walking on the beach and someone picked him up and took him home. I found this out at the local store because whoever it was, told them to tell us they were going to keep him, if we happened to come in to ask about him. The nerve of some jerk people.  My heart was crushed and I sobbed all the way home.

But yes, Dachshunds can develop back problems because of their long short bodies. There is a high risk for injury and spinal disk problems if they try to jump up on something that is too high or put excess strain on her back.

sweet pup

Limiting their stairs and keep them from jumping down off of the furniture will help to alleviate some stress on the back. Maintaining a healthy weight is also really important.

picture doberman pinscher puppy
Doberman Pinscher before ears are cropped

Doberman Pinschers are commonly diagnosed with a serious heart condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM. The heart’s chambers are stretched out and they don’t pump blood effectively. Most people do not even realize that there is anything wrong with their dog until he collapses. Vets of Dobermans might suggest annual screenings because it is such a serious and common condition for them. Medications can regulate their heart rhythm and improve the ability for their heart to pump but there is no cure for DCM.

pic of yorkshire terrier
Cute little Yorkshire Terrier

A Portosystemic Shunt or PSS is a blood vessel birth defect common in small breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier. This portal vein will carry toxins from her intestines to her liver, which cleans her blood. When PSS is the problem, this portal vein bypasses her liver, the toxins do not get removed. PSS causes poor growth, vomiting, confusion, and seizures. PSS may be corrected with surgery most of the time and she will be able to live a normal healthy life.

Does your Chihuahua make a honking noise when she gets excited? She could have a collapsed trachea which is yet another common problem with toy


breeds. With the collapsed trachea, the cartilage that holds the trachea in an open position is weak, and so the trachea will flatten. There are some little dogs that can go a life time with a collapsing trachea and have no problems. But others will require a medication and still others with severe cases, a surgery may be necessary to prop the trachea open.

pix of a boxer puppy
Boxer Puppy

Boxers are at higher risk for certain types of cancer, which include lymphoma and mast cell tumors. Lymphoma is cancer of the lymph nodes, and mast cell tumors are a type of skin cancer. In both cases, the cancer is often felt as an unusual lump or bump on your dog’s body. Both cancers might be treatable, but important to catch both of them early. So if you have a boxer, please check him regularly for lumps.

Pomeranian’s with Hair Loss? These little pups are predisposed to an adrenal

pomeranian puppies
Pomeranian Puppies

gland disease called alopecia X, which causes hair loss. Alopecia X usually begins when a dog is young. If a dog with alopecia X is intact, spaying or neutering often causes the hair to grow back (this hair loss is caused by excess production of sex hormones). Melatonin supplements can also help.

picture of German Short-haired Pointers
German Short-haired Pointers

German Short-haired Pointers are known for a narrowing of the aorta which is the large blood vessel. It carries oxygenated blood to the body from the heart. When this narrowing or Aortic Stenosis is diagnosed, a strain on the heart over time could cause irregular heart rhythm.

If it is a mild case, it is possible there are no symptoms. But if the case is severe, your dog could become weak and tire easily. Usually and unfortunately, this is one of the things that can shorten your dog’s life. It can be managed however, with medications.

Shetland Sheepdog Family
Shetland Sheepdog Family

The Shetland Sheepdog are a beautiful breed. However these Shelties can be affected by a whole group of eye problems that are related, also known as “Collie Eye Anomaly”. It affects the retina and optic nerve. If the case is mild, the dog’s vision may not be affected at all. Moderate to Severe cases might lead to blindness. There is no known treatment for “Collie Eye”. It is fairly widespread among dog breeds affected by it. If you are out shopping for a Sheltie puppy, make sure you ask if it has been tested.

aspca adoption
aspca adopt a dog

humane dauchshund_hoadringIf you must have a pure breed puppy, then do your homework. Check the breed with as many different resources as you can so that you know what you may be purchasing. If there are tests that can be done for puppies, make sure the puppy that you pick has been tested. Check the parents lineage as well.

I will always recommend that adoption of a “dog” or “puppy” be the way to purchase a dog. Adoption from a local shelter is about the best way to pick your loving little bundle.

After shopping around for my last puppy, I found that adopting a dog that has already been house trained was optimal. Vaccines are already completed and in all cases, whatever you decide to adopt, will either be spayed or neutered before you bring them home. Many dogs out there have been removed from places of abuse or “torture chambers” is what I call them.

There are so many grown up human beings that do not deserve to have a loving bundle in their care. If you do deserve one and get one to bring home, chances are you are going to need homeopathic over the counter medications and supplements.

I do not have a whole lot to say about regular pet stores. You can find “cheap” all the way to “really high end” dog foods and then take hours in between trying to find the best and making up your mind for what is supposed to be the most nutritious, not using cereals, toxins in medications, and on and on it goes.

My suggestion to any good doggy parent?  Go to the sources at the top and start with someone who is educated, someone who has taken the time to study about the products they are selling.

Starting here: Vetionx Pet Health Care Products. There is a very common malady that I mentioned in another post and went into quite some detail about it; separation anxiety. If you already have a pet, possibly your dog is suffering from it and if so, I truly hope that you will get the homeopathic and really effective medication for it.  Anxietrex; safe and effective!

Hopefully, there are many loving and caring people like myself, and like you who can give these deserving little bundles a great home full of love and caring and healthy living. It’s what they deserve, that is for sure.

Thanks for stopping by today. Please leave your comments or questions below so we communicate back to you! Have a great week.    Do you have a bad dog

Thinking about Adopting? Seniors Need Love Too!

senior dog xvvI was walking my dog last night, just before we had a summer storm crop up, full of screaming thunder and pounding lightening.  But as we were walking, I really honed in on other people out walking their pets as well and wondered how many of them were as old as my dog.

I adopted my dog when she was about two years old; it has been about seven years ago.  She is beginning to show gray in her muzzle and around her eyes; she snores very loudly now too.  Remember, if you are thinking about adopting now?  Seniors need love too; in some cases they make better pets than younger animals.  It just depends on how much work you are ready to take on.


old dog with a walker
That’s One old Pooch

I sent Dr. Andrew Jones, our online vet a few questions about senior dogs to get his take on what exactly implies a “senior” and if they have special needs, what kind of special needs we might look for, and what kind of family would do well with a senior dog for a pet.  He sent me back a list of varied explanations to the term “senior” and what that might imply.


Dr. Andrew Jones is a great guy; he has great information and in case you didn’t catch it earlier in my blog, he has a FREE ebook that you can download; just click here and get the book:  Veterinary Secrets Revealed; there is so much information here on homeopathic medicine and home remedies in treating any dog of any age.


senior dog
Senior Sir! A whole lotta love to give!

dog senior iii senior dog vi dog senior v dog senior iv dog senior vi senior dog x dog senior xvi happy pit












senior dog iii



They say that dogs can become “seniors” as early as five years in larger dog breeds, and at about seven years for the smaller breeds.  However, just because the dog is defined by age as a senior, doesn’t mean that they are ready to lay down and retire.  The stigma that lends itself to being a “senior” comes from prospective owners describing a dog as “over the hill”!  This usually happens when the prospective owner sees a dog and knowingly adjusts their attitude toward the dog as “over the hill” because they are looking for a younger dog to fill their needs.


Any dog that has been taken care of all of their life and has had good quality care, exceptional amounts of exercise, will remain a fairly active, happy dog with lots of playful puppy inside left to share.  These dogs are in no way “over the hill” and will require the same kind and amount of love, exercise, and healthy food to remain young in the heart for as long as they can.


People tend to think that just because they see an older dog when looking to adopt, that the dog is there because he is old and was abandoned because he is unable to fulfill the needs of the owner; there must be something wrong with him.  This is simply not true.  Older dogs lose their homes for any number of reasons, just like young dogs lose their homes.


There are a whole lot of dogs who are expensive breeds, and were purchased as a young dog or puppy, they have been raised and were well trained, were well groomed, and taken care of, who have just lost their usefulness to their owners.  The owner becomes bored with the dog, or they are just no longer a novelty to the owner.  This is very sad.  Kind of like divorcing your wife or husband because they are getting old and beginning to show it. Getting gray hair and wrinkles in the face pushes the other person in that relationship to look at their partner as unattractive.


When looking to adopt a dog of any age, you must think the action all the way through to the end; if possible.  It is much like committing to a relationship in marriage.  Taking the young with the old and the good with the bad; you don’t just throw your wife or husband out because they are getting old, do you?  (Well, I guess there are a lot of people that would behave in this manner; and look for much younger to continue the rest of their life with.) I am an avid believer that karma is a “bitch” and what goes around, will come back around!  “Good lucky buddy”.


There are real cases that show many older dogs are homeless because of:  death of their guardian,  not enough time for the dog, work schedules change or work places change, a baby is born into the family, a move to an apartment where there are no dogs allowed, the kids in the family leave for college, someone in the family suffers from allergies, there is a change in the lifestyle at home, a new spouse doesn’t like dogs, etc.  The dog could be a stray that no one has ever come to claim.


If you are human and have been hurt like this, you are aware of the humility, the pain, and the sorrow that you feel deep down when passed over for a younger woman or man.  When this happens, it is kicking you and your self esteem may suffer tremendously.  It is very well that animals do not share these kinds of feelings.  They may feel confused, and they may look lonely, but another person could fill his old owner’s shoes in a heartbeat. That dog may then be just as happy if not happier than he ever was with his old owner.


Just remember though, it is not uncommon for a dog to be dropped off at a shelter because their owner no longer wants to be responsible for them.  What a waste, if you ask me.  Kind of like kicking in someone’s teeth.


Older dogs have many advantages over a young dog or a puppy when it comes to placing them in a home.  Dogs that you find in a rescue shelter, or adoption agency, or even s Humane Society, might have forgotten some of the things they were taught as a younger dog but this is temporary due to the amount of stress they may be feeling, or the confusion they are experiencing from being taken out of the home they knew so well.

They may be in an environment that is chaotic and helter skelter at the present and when you meet them everything is messed up.  But taken out of this environment and placed back into a normal home, these dogs will remember the training that they had before coming here.  House training, obedience, and even things like the tricks they were taught. Most older dogs also know what “no” means, though younger dogs and pups probably have no concept of what you may be talking about.

Puppies and young dogs love to chew, and chew on anything like furniture, pillows, shoes, belts, electric cords, books.  I had a pup one time that loved my shoes and he got my favorite pair; I paid a fortune for them and there was not another pair in the state like them, but he didn’t care.  There was nothing left except a little bit of the red suede strap that was supposed to go around my ankle.  I was so mad, I almost took the pup back.  But I remembered what puppies were supposed to be like and what they loved to do. They have very sharp little teeth and very gorgeous eyes when they are in trouble.


Older dogs have normally been socialized around other animals and especially people.  They are quick to become part of the family, or part of the pet pack in the home; including cats.  Older dogs also know what it takes to get love and attention from his human.  Older dogs will let you finish your breakfast, coffee, and the newspaper and lie quietly next to you until you are finished; at least if they have been trained, they do. Older dogs are great companions too.  They know how to ride in the car, follow on a walk or a hike.  A young dog or puppy is not going to do these things.


Almost all people coming into the animal rescue or shelter are looking for a puppy.  Not nearly as many go in looking for an older dog.  If searching for your next companion in the senior section; you will have your pick of the bunch.


Now we all know that puppies cost a ton in vet bills.  Starting out in life, most puppies will need to be spayed or neutured.  They need their shots, the whole kit and kaboodle of them, up until they get a three year rabies I believe.  Every single time you enter the vet’s office, it is about an $80 bill just to walk in unless you have pet insurance.  With an older dog, you will make sure that before you adopt him, you will get a clean bill of health and very few things need to be taken care of at the vet for a long time. Unless you have the vet trim the nails and brush the teeth; I can’t cut my dog’s nails; she whines terribly when I do it and she scares me.  Brushing the teeth is not a problem with yummy tasting paste.


Before you leave the shelter with an adopted senior dog, you will know if they have special needs.  To adopt a pet with special needs will be a decision that you will make.  If they have special needs, you will be expecting to pay higher vet bills.  These will not be a surprise to you.

Don’t they say you cannot train an old dog new tricks?  This is a fallacy as well.  Old dogs learn as well, if not better and faster than a puppy or younger dog. They want to please you; this is something that the older dog already knows.  The puppy or even younger dog, does not know this fact yet.


There will be an adjustment period for the older pet as well as a younger pet or puppy.  Any of these dogs will have an adjustment period to come through; your older dog will likely come through it much faster and will expect less from you to get through it.  Love and understanding with some patience; the elder dog will adjust faster.  There is much more for the younger dog to experience when headed for an adjustment period.  A puppy will be in the beginning phase of learning let alone adjusting for anything.


Remembering that there are no guarantees on the length of life of any dog, be he a puppy, a young adult or an older dog.  Always make sure to get a clean bill of health when adopting any dog.  Make sure however, that with an older dog there are no preexisting conditions to expect that your new found friend will keep you both in the vet’s office running those bills sky high.

Older dogs already have a name, they are used to it, and they come when you use it.  They know you are talking to them when you use it to call them.  Older dogs don’t normally piddle all over the floor when they become excited.

And older dogs are more prone to lay next to you when you are napping, especially careful not to annoy or wake you.  However, if they have to pee or poop, you would hope that they do roust you from your slumber to let them out to do their duty.  Older animals tend to come right back into the house after they are finished here, whereas, young dogs or pups might have to be chased down the street or around the back yard to get them to come back into the house so you can get back to that nap.


Remember, if you are thinking about adopting, seniors need love too!  I am not speaking of senior citizens as in the human kind, but of our senior canine friends.  Senior canines make wonderful pets and friends for our senior citizens and senior communities as well.  Senior companions are most likely to be one of the best investments for an elderly parent who needs companionship in the house where they live, someone to watch over them is something that an older dog can be taught to do; one of those new tricks even!  You might be surprised at what that old dog knows!


“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.” – Debbi Fields