Special breeds have special needs!

There’s a lot to love about welcoming a particular breed of dog or cat into your family. Whilst there is always variation between individual animals, many owners like the predictability of knowing the likely temperament, grooming requirements, activity levels, full-grown size, and appearance of their future pet. 

Additionally, given that some breeds can be predisposed to certain common genetic issues, owners can actually get some peace of mind in knowing what health problems their pet is more likely to develop, so they can be prepared for any potential care requirements.

It’s best to research a breed thoroughly before obtaining your pet. Be realistic about your lifestyle, and the amount of time you have to care for your pet each day (e.g. for exercise, grooming, training, etc) and the type of environment you can provide. There are many “breed selector” tools available online to help guide you towards an animal suited to your lifestyle.

Thorough research prior to selecting your pet will make you aware of any potential genetic issues your breed of choice may be predisposed to. In some cases, there may be preventative measures you can take to help screen or manage your pet for these issues. In other cases, it just helps to be aware so you can monitor your pet for symptoms and seek help from our veterinary team if you have any concerns.

Examples of potential issues in popular pet breeds can include:

  • Greater exercise and mental stimulation requirements in high-energy/working dog breeds such as border collies, kelpies, German shepherds and beagles
  • Airway/respiratory issues in brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, and Persian cats
  • Spinal issues (intervertebral disc disease) in short-legged dog breeds such as dachshunds, corgis, or basset hounds
  • Heart disease in cavalier King Charles spaniels, dobermanns, and maine coon cats
  • Eyelid issues (entropian) in shar-pei dogs
  • Skin or ear allergy issues in poodle crosses, lagottos, French bulldogs and staffies
  • Elbow or hip disease (dysplasia) in labradors, German shepherds and golden retrievers
  • Increased skin and coat care requirements in sphynx cats, or long-haired cats such as ragdolls or birmans

It’s also a great idea to speak with our veterinary team if you are thinking of purchasing a new purebred pet (or have recently purchased one), as we can discuss any common health issues seen in that breed, and explain the potential management and treatment options available.

Once you’ve made the decision on your chosen breed, ensure you source your pet from a reputable breeder. Our veterinarians will sometimes work with breeders, so feel free to ask us for recommendations. Otherwise, there are trusted resources online such as  rightpaw.com.au and dogzonline.com.au.

Chat to at least a couple of breeders, and make sure to ask about any health testing they perform on their animals. It’s also strongly recommended visiting their premises, to ensure that animals are being kept in good conditions with lots of human contact, and both parents appear to be healthy and friendly. The temperament of the parents has a direct correlation to the temperament and personality of your new family member.

These measures should help set you and your new companion up for many years of happy, healthy fun and snuggles! 

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