Category Archives: dog facts

Sick Puppy?

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Common symptoms of illness. Check with your vet:

Decreased appetite
Weight loss
Changes in activity level or behavior
Confusion or disorientation
Changing sleeping patterns
Heightened thirst
Increased urination
Bad breath/red gums
Difficulty chewing
Excessive panting
New lumps or bumps
Poor vision or hearing
Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping up
Shaking episodes
Fainting or signs of weakness

Source: Dog-o-Pedia by Mary Frances Budzik

You can find a comprehensive list of many dog diseases with detailed descriptions and symptoms on


Is This the Dog for Me? – Greyhound

'Friends in Need' Painting by Gabriele -

'Friends in Need' Painting by Gabriele -

Check out the link on this site or your local rescue group for adopting a greyhound.

Greyhounds were amongst the most highest-favored of all dogs; Pharaohs and other Egyptian, Asian and African leaders had images of their dogs engraved into their tombs dating as far back as 4000BC. However, DNA analysis done in 2004 put it close to herding dogs, implying that although greyhounds have been around for millennia, the modern breed sprang from a wider genetic base more recently. Greyhounds were first used for hunting antelopes, wolves and deer and after the decline of large game for coursing smaller animals. Later track racing took over which again proved them to be the fastest dogs on earth with speeds around 40 miles. Only the cheetah is faster in the animal world. The ‘grey’ does not refer to color but, according to some sources, comes from Old English, meaning ‘fine’. Others say it is contracted form of ‘degree hound’ as it was once allowed to be possessed only by people with degrees. And others say that it derives from Greece.

The greyhound has a graceful, strong muscled, deep-chested, narrow-waisted, streamlined body. While running its long tail acts as a keel and the ears can fold toward the neck. Males can measure between up to 30”, weighing up to 70 lbs.
The greyhound has his eyes well positioned at the sides of his head giving him a far wider field of view than other dogs (270 degrees versus 180 degrees.) They are sight hounds and can spot movement up to half a mile away.

Greyhounds are calm and social indoors and are often referred to as couch potatoes. Although greyhounds are possibly the most athletic of all domestic dogs they do not necessarily need a lot of exercise. Two 20 minute walks a day will usually suffice.  A high fenced garden is advised as they are great jumpers. Greyhounds are fairly easy to train and can learn almost all commands. However, they must never be allowed off leash in public places, as it is in their natures to chase anything that moves and may choose to totally ignore you if they have their eyes set on a prey.

They are affectionate with their families although can be aloof with strangers. They normally get on well with other dogs in the household but cat owners should exercise caution although many are said to tolerate or even take to cats or small dogs. Because of their nature as sprinters, greyhounds have relatively low endurance and their conditioning need to be slowly build up if you’d like to take him jogging.

Greyhounds rarely bark. The joke goes that greyhounds are good watchdogs: they watch thieves carry your stuff away. They are relatively small eaters and will therefore not cost a lot to feed. Grooming is very easy, a good brush once a week is enough. They don’t have much body odor but like most short haired dogs do shed a little.

Greyhounds will live on average for 10 to 12 years. However, some ex-racers only live to 7 possibly due to the use of steroids during their racing careers.
Because of the greyhound’s explosive physical abilities, they are prone to leg injuries. They are also known to be sensitive to drugs, especially sedatives. Adopted greyhounds will need regular dental care as their teeth are generally badly neglected. Nails must be kept short and the ears kept clean. Skin irritations of the tail and esophageal malformations are possible breed ailments.

Related Designer Mixes:
Whippet: Cross of fox terrier and greyhound

Other greyhound breeds:
Spanish greyhound (Spain)
Rampur greyhound (India)
Saluki (Arabia)
Sloughi (Africa)

'Quite A Day' Painting by Gabriele -

'Quite A Day' Painting by Gabriele -

Is This the Dog for Me? Weimaraner and Labmaraner

Weimeraner copy

Check out the link on this site or your local rescue group for adopting a rescued Weimaraner.


The Weimaraner was bread in Germany over one thousand years ago and is kin to the German Pointer. Some claim it is discernable in a 17th century painting by Van Dyck. It was used for big game hunting until big game declined. Treasured in the 19th century by the aristocrats of Weimar, Germany, it was then and now popular for hunting small game, and, because of its soft carrying mouth for water fowl. It has Bloodhound and Pointer blood and is still used as a working dog.


Weimeraners are strikingly beautiful dogs with a strong boned build, light amber eyes and a sleek short coat of silver to mouse gray. They can reach heights up to 28” and weigh between 60 and 85 lb. Not in need of extensive grooming, once a week brushing keeps the coat shiny.  Shedding in minimal.

Although more rare, the longhair with a smooth or slightly wavy coat up to 5″ long needs more grooming attention.


Weimaraners need thorough training and regular and extensive exercise. This is not a city dog. Sufficient space, a fenced yard, and lots of human attention will make them excellent companions as they are all-round dogs who love family life. They are friendly, intelligent and energetic but, with their vigilance, make excellent guard dogs if their home or family are threatened. Because of their dominance, they are not recommended for first time dog owners.

Overbreeding has let to temperament problems such as aggression and separation anxiety in some lines. Lack of exercise will make them aggressive and difficult and can lead to destructive behavior.


Weimaraners are affected by the usual canine problems but with no great frequency. They are, however, prone to two more unusual problems: spinal dysraphism which is a severe though non-lethal condition, affecting the gait and giving an unusual stance which resembles a crouched position. Ear infections are easily acquired due to the drop-eared conformation.

Related Designer Mixes:

Recent designer dog mixes have produced the Labmaraner, a cross of a Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner. This breed is an outdoorsy, fast, agile breed not meant for urbanites. They need good management which can be trying because of an underlying stubbornness. Consistent training and tough regulations are needed to keep the peace in your house.
Labmaraner can weigh from 50 to 100 lb and their coat color ranges from dark gold to pale cream, black, and chocolate.

LabmaranerLabmaraner (photo by Anna Kuperberg)

Hot Dogs

Heatstroke in dogs:
Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans – they release heat primarily by panting and they sweat through the foot pads and nose. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog’s temperature reaches 106°, damage to the body’s cellular system and organs may become irreversible.
All dogs can get heatstroke, but geriatric dogs and short nosed dogs like English Bulldog, Pekingese, Boston Terrier, Bullmastiff, Shih Tzu, and Pomeranien are more susceptible.

• Vigorous panting
• Dark red gums
• Tacky or dry mucus membranes
• Lying down and unwilling to get up
• Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
• Thick saliva
• Dizziness or disorientation

What to do:
Move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body – especially the foot pads and around the head. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! When the body temperature reaches 103°, stop cooling.
Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth. He could choke on it.
Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye.

• NEVER leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, regardless of whether the windows are open. Even if the weather outside is not extremely hot, the inside of the car acts like an oven – temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.
• Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days. When outside, opt for shady areas.
• Keep fresh cool water available at all times.

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Hear, Hear!

'Zipper' of Sausalito

'Zipper' of Sausalito

Nearly all dogs (and cats for that matter) love having their ears rubbed. Ears are one of a handful of nerve centers on a dog’s body that are extra sensitive to touch. It’s pretty hard to rub dogs’ ears in ways they dislike. To launch them straight to cloud nine, however, you need to hit as many of the nerves as you can. Starting at the base of the ear, hold the flap between your thumb and forefinger, Dr. Makowski suggests. Very gently pull the ear straight out from your dogs head, letting your fingers slide as you go. If you do that about four times, moving your fingers each time so they slide over a different section of the ear, you’ll hit just about every hot spot, and your dog will be very, very happy.

Source: The Secret lives of Dogs

Common Genetic Dog Diseases

Many breeds:
Progressive Retinal Athrophy; progressive degeneration of the retina in both eyes that leads to blindness.

Hypothyroidism; which causes a reduced metabolic rate. Autoimmune destruction of the thyroid.

Hip Dysplasia; painful developmental malformation or subluxation of the hip joints that leads to painful and crippling arthritis. Often seen in German Shepherds and very common in many large breed dogs.

Cairn terriers, West Highland white terriers, Shar peis, Scottish terriers, Lhasa apsos, Wire-hared Fox terriers, Dalmatians, Irish setters, Boston terriers, Pugs, Golden retrievers, Boxers, English setters, Labrador retrievers, and Miniature Schnauzer:
Atropic Dermatitis; common skin disease linked to allergies.

Smooth Fox Terrier, Havanese, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Miniature Poodle, Silky Terrier, Toy Poodle, American Cocker Spaniel, Standard Poodle, and Miniature Schnauzer: Cataract;
Cataract formation is one of the most common eye diseases in dogs, which, according to the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, affects about 97 breeds in which inheritance is suspected.

Doberman Pinscher, French Bulldog, Great Danes, Shih Tzu, Poodle (all sizes), German short haired and wire haired pointers, Scottish terriers, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Rottweilers, and Shetland sheepdog:
Von Willebrands Disease; bleeding disorder caused by defective blood platelet function. Some 59 other breeds can be affected by this disease.

Great Danes and Dobermans:
Wobbler Syndrome; weakness starts in the hind legs and progresses to paralysis.

Ruptured Disk; a problem that often occurs in dogs with short legs.

Dalmatians, English setters, bull terriers, and Australian cattle dogs:

Cocker spaniels, beagles, and bloodhounds:
Cherry Eye; prolapsed tear gland, giving the dog a red-eyed appearance and making the eyes susceptible to infection.

Flat-coated retrievers:
Genetic Predisposition to Cancers; about 80 % of death of this breed are caused by cancer. It is thought to be the result of a defect on the p53 gene, which suppresses tumors.

Golden retrievers and Newfoundlands:
Aortic Stenosis; narrowed aorta causes changes in the electrical rhythm of the heart, leading to sudden death.

Bloodhounds, Great Danes, Atika, Weimaraner, Standard Poodle, Setters:
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus; large deep-chested breeds are more likely to experience “bloat.” The dog’s stomach fills up with gas and fluid and then twists upon its long axis, shutting off blood supply to vital organs. It is a medical emergency that kills rapidly if not treated.

Pugs: Pug Dog Encephalitis is one of the inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) which cause seizures in dogs affecting Pug dogs of either sex. The disease used to be considered unique to the Pug breed. However, similar disease has been reported recently in Maltese, Pekingese and Yorkshire Terrier breeds.

Other medical alerts:

Drug toxicity from human medications administered by owners is one of the most common types of canine poisoning. Do not give your dog ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. They can cause kidney damage or gastric ulcers in dogs. (Also see my blog on food that can poison dogs in -Garlic for dogs- from 4/8/09)

All dogs can get heatstroke, but geriatric dogs and short nosed dogs like English bulldog, Pekingese, Boston terrier, bull mastiff, Shih Tzu, and Pomeranian are more susceptible. Their palates can get sucked into the tracheal opening when they pant heavily, obstructing breathing. These breeds have also trouble swimming because of their breathing difficulties.

Source: Dog-o-Pedia by Mary Frances Budzik and other sources.
I found a comprehensive list of dog diseases with detailed descriptions and symptoms on

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Dog senses: Smell

In the wild, the dog’s highly developed sense of smell gives the species a great advantage when tracking down prey and identifying fellow pack members. Where we would size up a new situation with our eyes, dogs explore new environment by sniffing them. When they meet other dogs, they sniff them in what -to our eyes- are the most embarrassing places, places where odor is most concentrated.
Scent passes on an incredible amount of information to a dog. Scent –marking with urine or by leaving deposits from the sweat glands between the toes is the way dogs communicate and establish their territory. Sacs inside the dog’s rectum also produce a scent that coats feces. When you’re out walking in the park with your dog, he’s using his nose to pick up who’s been there before him-perhaps a dominant dog, a female in heat, an old dog, a sick dog, or a dog he’s already met. Dogs can smell females in heat who are miles away.
Source: It’s me or the dog by Victoria Stilwell