Category : Care-Healthy Living

French Bulldogs vs. Boston Terriers: How They’re Different

You’re walking down the road when you spot it: a small, black-and-white dog with a short snout and big ears trotting happily alongside his pet parent. You immediately identify the pup as a Boston Terrier, but your friend exclaims, “That’s a cute Frenchie!”

Although the Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog are often hard to distinguish due to their similar build and markings, they each have specific features that set them apart.

French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier: History

The Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog look alike because they share a common ancestor: the Bulldog.

However, Frenchies—as the name implies—were developed in France in the 19th century by English immigrants who wanted smaller lap dogs than the Bulldogs they brought with them. As the popularity of Frenchies grew throughout France, Americans visiting the region noticed the new dogs and brought them to the U.S., according to the French Bulldog Club of America. Currently, Frenchies are America’s most popular dog breed.

Similarly named after their place of origin, the Boston Terrier is from Boston. The first Boston Terrier immigrated to the U.S. in the 1800s and was a cross between an English Bulldog and the now-extinct White English Terrier, according to the Boston Terrier Club of America. Initially, breeders were hoping for a more compact and stronger fighting dog in the Boston Terrier but ended up producing a dog with a gentle temperament. Also known as the American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier’s nickname is a nod to their classic tuxedo coat and kind nature.

French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier: Appearance

< img src="67624/2023-07-BulldogvsTerrier-Infographic_R4-Desktop.jpg">

Boston Terriers and Frenchies look alike thanks to their short snout, flat face, big eyes, and small stature. But if you look closely, there are distinct differences between the two breeds.

Ears: Boston Terriers have pointed ears, whereas a Frenchie’s ears are bigger and more rounded.

Head shape: Boston Terriers have a rounder head, while Frenchies have a square head.

Body: Boston Terriers have a lean, light body, generally reaching a weight of less than 25 pounds. Frenchies have a stockier body and can weigh up to 28 pounds.

Height: Boston Terriers are taller, at a maximum height of 17 inches, compared to the French Bulldog’s maximum height of 13 inches.

Coat colors: Both breeds can come in black and white, adding to the confusion. But Boston Terriers tend to have symmetrical tuxedo markings, while the Frenchie coat can be solid or have more patches. Boston Terriers may have brindle or seal colorings in place of the black. Frenchies can come in many more colors, including brindle, fawn, cream, and white. Also, Boston Terriers should have a white stripe between their eyes and this is not always true for French Bulldogs.

French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier: Health

Boston Terriers can live an average of 11–13 years, while Frenchies have a typical lifespan of 10–12 years.

Both dogs have a short snout and flat face, making them brachycephalic breeds. This means they’re prone to breathing problems, especially in high heat and during vigorous exercise. They are also very susceptible to heatstroke during hot weather, so keep your pup cool by avoiding exercise in the sun.

Brachycephalic breeds may also have trouble swallowing or sleeping, and may be prone to cataracts and other eye problems due to their shallow eye sockets.

Additionally, French Bulldogs are at risk for developing hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, spinal problems, heart disease, and hypothyroidism. Boston Terriers, on the other hand, have a higher-than-average incidence of patellar luxation, deafness, and a spinal disorder called hemivertebrae.

French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier: Temperament

Both the Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog have a good-natured temperament, making them ideal family pets. Their small size and adaptable attitude mean they can fit right in to apartment life in the city.

Boston Terriers are intelligent, active, affectionate, and lively. These dogs are bred to be companions, and they do well with family members of all ages. Because they can be so friendly, the American Gentleman also makes a good therapy dog, according to the breed club. While they can excel in agility contests, Boston Terriers may also have a lazy side and will be content snuggling with you on the couch.

Equally cute French Bulldogs boast a mischievous and sassy personality. They are friendly dogs who often make their pet parents laugh with their goofy antics. However, they can have an independent streak as well. These affectionate and laid-back dogs will be happy to curl up next to you for a snooze.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Both Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs make great additions to families who can give them the affection they crave. They make great pets for first-time dog parents, but there are some things to consider before bringing one of these pups home.

1. Be Prepared for Vet Visits

Both Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs are prone to health issues, in part thanks to their short snout. This means special considerations need to be taken in hot, humid weather and whenever your pet is exercising. Regular wellness exams will also be vital for both breeds to keep them healthy.

2. Work to Prevent Obesity

Because of their compact body, it’s easy for Frenchies and Bostons to pack on unwanted pounds. To prevent obesity—and keep your dog mentally stimulated—make sure your pup gets about 30-60 minutes of exercise every day. You should also feed your pup an appropriate amount of a healthy dog food that follows regulations put forward by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

3. Early Socialization Is a Must

While Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs tend to have a good temperament, pet parents must still socialize their puppy consistently. This will help them be calm in new situations and when meeting new people or animals.

Featured Image: Adobe/mazzynga

< img src="67624/IMG_3063_0.jpg">


Emily Sanders

Can a Dog Be Allergic to Cats?

Reviewed for accuracy on May 6, 2019, by Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM

You already know that people can be allergic to cats. Exposure to cat dander creates a host of discomforting symptoms for humans, from sneezing and itchiness to wheezing and coughing. But can your dog be allergic to cats as well?

Yes, dogs can actually be allergic to cats, and they can even suffer from many of the same symptoms as allergic humans do. But there are steps you can take to help manage your dog’s allergies so that your pets can happily coexist.

Is Your Dog Allergic to Cats?

While it’s fairly uncommon for a dog to be allergic to cats, it does happen.

“We include a test for cat dander on our intradermal allergy test,” says Dr. Elizabeth Falk, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist at Cornell University Veterinary Specialists in Stamford, Connecticut. Dr. Falk explains that in her personal experience, “about 1 in 20 of my patients have a significant positive to cat dander on this test.”

A dog that’s allergic to cats will have symptoms that are similar to other environmental allergies, says Dr. Susan Jeffrey, a veterinarian at Truesdell Animal Care Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. Some of these symptoms include “lots of scratching and licking, leading to skin changes, such as redness, excoriations (repetitive scratching) and the development of pustules and/or crusts.”

Some dogs may also exhibit respiratory signs, such as coughing, sneezing or watery eyes and nose, says Dr. Kristin Holm, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist with Veterinary Dermatology Consultation Services in Johnston, Iowa. “But this is not as common as it is in people.”

Only your veterinarian can make an official diagnosis. Dr. Holm says that veterinarians first suspect that a dog has allergies based on his history. “It’s kind of like playing detective,” she says. “Then, the allergy can be confirmed through intradermal (skin) allergy testing or serum (blood) testing.”

Is Treatment Available for a Dog That’s Allergic to Cats?

There are no cures and no way to prevent an animal from developing allergies. The goal is to manage the symptoms, says Dr. Jeffrey.

Dr. Jeffrey explains, “There are companies that make ‘allergy drops’ that are very similar to allergy injections that people with allergies receive. They desensitize the immune system to the allergens over a period of several months.” The desensitization process can take between 6-12 months.

Dr. Falk says that veterinarians can tailor allergy vaccines, or “allergy drops,” to target specific allergies in dogs and build up their tolerance to the allergen. These treatments, referred to as allergen-specific immunotherapy, are generally quite effective in about 70 percent of dogs with allergies.

Oral allergy medicine for dogs that works to stop itchiness—including antihistamines and Apoquel—is also available, says Dr. Jeffrey. “In addition, treatment of any secondary infections with antibiotics and/or antifungals will also help.”

How to Help an Allergic Dog at Home

There are some things you can try at home to help lessen your dog’s allergic reaction, says Dr. Holm. “The first is to strengthen the skin barrier from both the inside and the outside. From the inside, we can give higher levels or fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), through the diet or as a supplement.”

“From the outside, bathing with shampoos designed to strengthen the skin barrier a few times a week is helpful, while also removing allergens from the skin and fur,” says Dr. Holm. Always talk to your veterinarian to determine the best solutions for your specific dog.

Wiping pets with a damp cloth after they’ve been exposed to cat dander may also help decrease itching, says Dr. Jeffrey.

Preventing Allergic Reactions to Cats in Your Dog

The predisposition to developing allergies is largely genetic, says Dr. Holm.

However, while it may sound counterintuitive, exposure to the allergen may actually be helpful, says Dr. Falk. “We used to think that children that grew up in houses with cats were more likely to be allergic to them, but we have discovered that the opposite is true; children that had cats in their households were less likely to develop allergies to cat dander.”

While this is unproven, it is likely to be the case with dogs, too, according to Dr. Falk. “Having a mixed-pet household may decrease the likelihood of developing an allergy to a cat.”

With allergen-specific immunotherapy, prescription pet medications and over-the-counter products available to manage allergies, you won’t need to find a new home for your kitty or dog. Check with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

By: Paula Fitzsimmons

Featured Image:

10 Summer Dog Walking Tips

During the summer season, it’s critical to take extra precautions when walking your dog. Dogs can be subject to heatstroke and other related illnesses including dehydration, paw pad burns, and even sunburn. Therefore, it’s important to keep them safe and comfortable during your walks.

Key Takeaways

Consider the time of day you take your pup out in the heat.Use your palm to ensure the pavement or sidewalk is cool enough for their paws.Carry water for the both of you during the walk.Always keep your pup on a leash.If your dog shows any signs of distress, call your veterinarian immediately.

Consider the Time of Day

Timing is everything when it comes to walking your dog in the summer. Schedule your walks during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. These times typically have lower temperatures and a reduced risk of pavement burns. 

Avoid walking during the warmest hours, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., as the pavement can become extremely hot and uncomfortable for your dog and their sensitive paws.


Always Bring Water

Just like humans, dogs need to stay hydrated, especially in hot weather. Always carry a portable water bottle and a collapsible bowl during walks. Offer your dog water breaks every 15–20 minutes, especially on hot, humid days. Remember, dogs can’t cool down as well as humans, so maintaining their hydration levels is important.

Protect Their Paws

Pavement and asphalt can become extremely hot in the summer, potentially causing burns and blisters on your dog’s paw pads. Avoid hot surfaces and consider using dog booties or applying paw balm to create a protective barrier.

If you’re unsure whether the pavement is too hot, place the back of your hand on it for a few seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Alternatively, choose a grassy trail to minimize paw pad exposure to hot pavement.

Choose Shaded Paths

Find walking paths that offer shade to minimize your dog’s exposure to direct sunlight. Trees, buildings, or covered trails can provide relief from the scorching sun and help prevent overheating. Plan your route accordingly to ensure there are shaded areas along the way in case your dog wants to rest or cool down.

Take Frequent Breaks

During hot walks, allow your dog to take breaks and rest in shady spots as often as they need. Avoid overexertion and listen to your dog’s cues. Signs of overheating include excessive panting, drooling, stumbling, or bright red gums. If you notice any of these signs, find a cool place to rest and offer your dog water immediately.

Use Sun Protection

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from sunburns. Areas with thin fur or exposed skin, like the nose and ears, are particularly vulnerable to sunburn. Apply pet-safe sunscreen to your dog’s nose, ears, and other areas with thin fur or exposed skin. Look for sunscreen specifically formulated for dogs. Human sunscreen can be unsafe and contain ingredients that are toxic to them.

Keep Your Pup on a Leash and Make Sure ID Tags Are Updated

During the summer months, it’s common for dogs to get easily distracted or excited by new smells and outdoor activities. Make sure you always have your dog on a leash to prevent them from running off or finding potentially dangerous situations. 

Also, make sure their ID tags are up to date with your contact information in case they happen to get loose.


Watch for Signs of Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that can occur when a dog’s body temperature rises too high too quickly. Symptoms include excessive panting, rapid heartbeat, weakness, vomiting, and collapse. If you suspect heatstroke, move your dog to a cool area, wet their body with cool water, and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Consider Shorter Walks

On extremely hot days, it’s best to shorten your walks to reduce the time spent under the sun. Instead of one long walk, consider taking multiple shorter walks during cooler hours to ensure your dog is getting enough exercise.

Stay Mindful of Certain Breeds

Some dog breeds are more prone to heat-related issues than others. Brachycephalic breeds, or dogs with broad, shorter skulls, such as English Bulldogs and Pugs, are especially vulnerable due to their snouts and difficulty to cool down. Additionally, dogs with thick coats or underlying health conditions may also struggle in the summer heat. Take extra precautions and be mindful of your dog’s breed and individual needs when planning your walks.

Bonus Tip: Create Fun Indoor Activities

When the temperatures soar (or it’s a rainy day), it’s important to provide alternative ways for your dog to stay active and engaged indoors. Set up indoor enrichment activities, such as puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, or hide-and-seek games to keep your dog mentally stimulated and entertained. These activities can help them burn off excess energy without exposing your dog to the heat.

Summer walks with your furry companion can be enjoyable and safe by following these tips. By prioritizing your dog’s well-being and taking these precautions, you can ensure that your summer walks are a fun and safe experience for both you and your pet.

Featured Image: Covington

< img src="90440/georgina with kitten.jpg">


Gina Phillips, DVM


Dr. Gina Phillips completed her undergraduate education at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where she earned a Bachelor of…

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl®? And if So, How Much?

NOTE: It’s always best to contact your veterinarian for guidance before administering any medication to your pet, including Benadryl®.

Benadryl®, also known by its generic name, diphenhydramine, is one of the few over-the-counter drugs designed for people that veterinarians may have pet parents administer at home. 

You might be looking at using Benadryl® for dogs to keep your pup calm, or maybe your dog was stung by an insect and is having a mild allergic reaction. But while Benadryl® is generally well tolerated by dogs and has a wide safety margin, it’s not necessarily the answer to your dog’s issue.

For some dogs, giving Benadryl® to calm them may have the opposite effect and make them more anxious. In addition, Benadryl® should not be given to animals with certain health conditions or pups taking certain medications.

So, when is Benadryl® for dogs effective and safe, and when does your dog need a different treatment? Here are a few things you should keep in mind before giving your dog Benadryl®.

What Is Benadryl®?

Benadryl® is a first-generation antihistamine that prevents H-1 receptors in the body from reacting to histamine. It can also ease nausea and vomiting by inhibiting the chemoreceptor trigger zone (vomiting center) in the brain and reducing the way that the vestibular apparatus (the balance center in the ear) responds to motion.

Veterinarians most commonly recommend that pet parents give their dogs Benadryl® to prevent or treat mild allergic reactions and to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness or vestibular disease.

Can Benadryl® Be Used for Dog Allergies?

Taken orally, Benadryl® for dogs can help ease mild allergic symptoms to common triggers such as pollen, mold, and house mites, particularly if it’s used in combination with other allergy treatments. Benadryl® can also be used for mild allergic reactions to insect bites or stings. Oral or injectable Benadryl® can be used as a pre-treatment for mild allergic vaccine reactions.

But if your pet is having an acute allergic reaction with facial swelling or difficulty breathing, take them straight to the vet. Severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening. Dogs often require aggressive supportive care and treatment with steroids and epinephrine in addition to Benadryl®

Can Dogs Take Benadryl® for Anxiety?

You might have heard that Benadryl® can be given to dogs to help with travel anxiety or dogs that are scared of fireworks and thunderstorms, but it really isn’t very effective. Benadryl® may make some dogs a little sleepy and less responsive, but it doesn’t do anything for their underlying anxiety.

Benadryl® does has some efficacy in the prevention of motion sickness in dogs. So, if your dog is anxious because they’re nauseous in the car, it could help. Some dogs and cats actually have the opposite reaction to Benadryl®, causing hyperactivity instead of sedation.

If your dog has anxiety, talk with your veterinarian to determine a course of treatment. It might involve making changes to your dog’s environment, behavioral training, prescription medications, or tools such as anxiety vests and pheromones.

Is Benadryl® Safe for Dogs?

By and large, Benadryl® is very well-tolerated in dogs, with few side effects and a low risk of overdose when used correctly.

But the reason why you still need to check with your veterinarian is because there are safety risks if your dog has certain health conditions or takes certain medications.

Some instances in which Benadryl® should not be used (or should be used with caution) include:

Cardiac conditions (cardiovascular disease)

Some lung conditions

Liver disease

Seizure disorders

Difficulties urinating



In conjunction with certain medications, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and come drugs used to treat fungal infections

Side Effects of Benadryl® for Dogs

At normal doses, the most common side effects of Benadryl® exhibited by dogs include drowsiness and being unsteady on their feet. But if a dog receives too much Benadryl®, they might exhibit:

More pronounced sedation or agitation

Severe unsteadiness


Aggression or other unusual behaviors

Slow breathing





Call your veterinarian for advice if your dog experiences any worrisome symptoms after taking Benadryl®.

What’s the Benadryl® Dosage for Dogs?

With any medication, the safest way to know the proper dose for your dog is to ask your veterinarian. In addition, many formulations are combined with other potentially dangerous medications, such as Tylenol. Make sure your Benadryl® tablets contain only diphenhydramine.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the standard dose for Benadryl® is 2–4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, or 0.9–1.8 milligrams (mg) of Benadryl® per pound.

Therefore, a simple and practical dose is 1 mg of Benadryl® per pound of your dog’s weight, given two to three times a day. For example, a 10-pound dog might receive a 10 mg dose in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

Your Dog’s Weight

Recommended Dosage

Maximum Dosage

5 pounds

5 mg

10 mg

10 pounds

10 mg

20 mg

20 pounds

20 mg

40 mg

30 pounds

30 mg

60 mg


40 mg

80 mg


50 mg

100 mg


75 mg

150 mg

100 pounds

100 mg

200 mg

There are also different forms of Benadryl®, including tablets, capsules, liquids, and children’s chewable tablets, all of which can make it difficult to figure out the amount to give your dog. When in doubt, ask your vet!

Benadryl® Tablets and Capsules

Benadryl® tablets are available and contain either 25 mg or 50 mg of diphenhydramine, which would be the appropriate size for a 25-pound or 50-pound dog, respectively.

Give more than one tablet or capsule at a time to add up to the appropriate dose for larger dogs. You can split 25 mg tablets in half to fine-tune your dog’s dose. For example, one 50 mg tablet and half of a 25 mg tablet would be appropriate for a dog weighing 60 pounds.

Children’s Chewable or Liquid Benadryl® for Dogs

Children’s chewable or liquid Benadryl® are good options for tiny dogs. A full chewable children’s tablet contains only 12.5 mg of diphenhydramine and can be cut in half for dogs that weigh less than 10 pounds.

Children’s liquid Benadryl® contains only 2.5 mg/ml and may be easier to give to small dogs that resist taking pills.

How Often Can You Give Your Dog Benadryl®?

Dogs can be given Benadryl® every eight to 12 hours (two to three times a day).

Are there Alternatives to Giving a Dog Benadryl®?

Diphenhydramine has been around for a long time, and continued research has led to the development of treatments that may be more effective than Benadryl®. For example,

Cerenia® (maropitant) is a great medication to help dogs with nausea and vomiting.

Using several different types of treatment at the same time (medicated shampoos, supplements, and prescription medications, for example) is the best way to manage a dog’s allergies.

Prescription anti-anxiety medications for dogs combined with a behavioral modification program will do a much better job than Benadryl® when it comes to helping dogs with anxiety.

Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions about giving your dog Benadryl® or other ways to keep them healthy and happy.

Featured Image: KALINKIN

< img src=";base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">< img src="62019/Jessica-Vogelsang-DVM_0.jpg">


Jessica Vogelsang, DVM


Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, is a person who loves too many topics to be able to stick to one descriptor: writing, dogs, communication, cats,…

How Long Do Dogs Live?

When it comes to knowing how old your dog is, calculating “dog years” just doesn’t cut it anymore—studies show that a dog’s lifespan can vary significantly with breed and size, and there are other factors at play that we still don’t fully understand.

There’s a lot to know about the dog lifespan. So if you ever look at your pup and wonder, “how long do dogs live?” here’s how you can estimate—and how you can ensure your best friend is around for as long as possible.

The Average Dog Lifespan

< img src="22551/2023-07-Dog-Life-Spans-Infographic-Desktop.jpg">

The average lifespan for dogs is between 10–13 years, though there is variability among breeds and sizes. As a species, the domestic dog is incredibly diverse in size, build, and appearance, thanks to human intervention. So it’s no wonder that there are significant differences in the lifespan of a Chihuahua versus a Great Dane.

In general, smaller dog breeds live longer than larger dog breeds. The cause for this is not well established; normally, smaller mammal species have shorter lifespans than larger ones. One possible reason might be that common medical conditions that dogs acquire as they age (such as incontinence and mobility issues) may be more difficult to manage in larger dogs and lead to euthanasia sooner. There also seem to be some differences in the types of illnesses experienced by different-sized breeds.

Genetics also play a huge role in life expectancy for dogs. Purebred dogs are more at risk for specific hereditary diseases because they are bred by other dogs with similar genes. Mixed-breed dogs have a reduced risk of these diseases, which likely contributes to their increased lifespan. Certain breeds are also purposefully bred to have traits that, as an unfortunate result, may also lead to shortened lifespans. For example, brachycephalic dogs such as the English Bulldog are more prone to heatstroke and respiratory-related death due to their small trachea.

The average lifespan for dogs is between 10–13 years, though there is variability among breeds and sizes.

How Long Do Small Dogs Live?

Small-breed dogs tend to have the longest lifespan, averaging 10–15 years. But as these long-life dogs age, they are more prone to liver, kidney, and adrenal disease, as well as degenerative heart disease. Small dogs are also very prone to dental disease, which can complicate these other illnesses.

Here are some popular small dog breeds and their average lifespans:

Chihuahua: 14–16 years

Pomeranian: 12–16 years

Yorkshire Terrier: 11–15 years

Parson Russell Terrier: 13–15 years

How Long Do Medium-Size Dogs Live?

Medium-size dogs align more with the overall average dog lifespan of 10–13 years. But some medium-size dogs can be very long-lived; the oldest dog on record was a Rafeiro do Alentejo named Bobi, who’s 30 years old and counting!

Medium-size dog lifespans and diseases of concern vary from breed to breed. Bulldogs, for example, are often plagued with health issues due to their snub-nose design, while the hardworking Australian Shepherd has fewer genetic disease predispositions and can live to be 15 or older.

Here are some popular medium-size dog breeds and their average lifespans:

French Bulldog: 10–12 years

Cocker Spaniel: 10–14 years

Bulldog: 8–10 years

Boxer: 10–12 years

How Long Do Large Dogs Live?

Large-breed dogs have a slightly shorter lifespan than medium breed dogs, at 9–12 years. Again, these lifespans are heavily affected by breed.

As dogs get larger, they are more likely to be affected by difficult-to-manage arthritis and certain types of cancer. Popular breeds like the Golden Retriever and Bernese Mountain Dog are particularly prone to cancer.

Here are some popular large dog breeds and their average lifespans:

Golden Retriever: 10–12 years

Rottweiler: 9–10 years

Belgian Malinois: 14–16 years

Bernese Mountain Dog: 7–10 years

How Long Do Giant Dogs Live?

Towering giant-breed dogs have the shortest average lifespan, at 8–10 years. Unfortunately, a 6-year-old Great Dane is considered a senior pet, given the wear-and-tear their joints experience. Giant breeds are also far more prone to bone cancers and neurologic diseases than smaller dogs.

Here are some popular large dog breeds and their average lifespans:

Great Dane: 7–10 years

Irish Wolfhound: 6–8 years

Newfoundland: 9–10 years

Saint Bernard: 8–10 years

How to Help Your Dog Live Longer

Do Your Research

Because dog lifespans are so breed-dependent, if you’re interested in a certain breed it’s extremely important to research carefully and select a responsible breeder who is invested in their dogs’ health. Responsible breeders will test for common diseases in their breeding dogs (both health screening and genetic tests are available for many common issues). Knowing the lifespan and health concerns of your puppy’s relatives can help you make an informed decision.

While mixed-breed dogs may live longer than some breeds, many designer breeds (like Goldendoodles and Labradoodles) initially created to be healthier are now bred to the point of having their own specific issues. So, these breeders should be held to the same standards.

Mixed-breed dogs from shelters often have a variable enough pedigree that they are not subject to the same risks as designer breeds. But because breed-specific illnesses can still arise, it can be worthwhile for pet parents to DNA test their shelter pup, as many of these DNA tests will also look for evidence that your dog has the genes for common diseases. So, by knowing more about your dog’s background, you can anticipate some issues that may come up.

Follow Your Vet’s Guidance

It’s important to follow to your veterinarian’s preventative health recommendations. Vaccinations—as well as location-appropriate flea, tick, and heartworm prevention—will protect your pet against communicable diseases.

Routine testing for intestinal and blood parasites should be done on an annual basis. Discuss routine bloodwork panels to check liver, kidney, and bone marrow health with your veterinarian as well. Establishing baselines in young dogs and checking them annually as they get older can help you find diseases early when they are more easily managed. Keep in mind, senior dogs should have more testing done as they age to check for additional age-related issues that may arise. 

Some breeds, like Golden Retrievers, may benefit from routine imaging (X-rays and ultrasounds) as they age to monitor for certain types of cancer.

Keep Your Dog at a Healthy Weight

A healthy weight is essential for a long-lived dog. A study of Labrador Retrievers found that dogs kept at a healthy body condition lived an average of two years longer than their overweight counterparts.

Feed your dog in measured meals and keep track of treats and snacks so that you can appropriately adjust their intake as their metabolism changes. If you are unsure your dog is a healthy weight, that’s a great question for your veterinarian.

Featured Image: iStock/Halfpoint

< img src=";base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">< img src="22551/Jamie_Lovejoy[43731].jpg">


Jamie Lovejoy, DVM


Dr. Jamie Lovejoy graduated from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012 after an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology. …

The Best Heartworm Medications for Dogs

Heartworm prevention is an important part of keeping your dog healthy. Heartworms are parasites that infest your dog’s heart and the vessels connected to the heart. They are typically spread from dog to dog by mosquitoes. In advanced stages, heartworms can become so large and numerous that they interfere with the heart’s ability to pump blood. This can cause heart failure.  

Fortunately, there are many safe and effective options to prevent heartworm disease. Many of these medications are combined with other preventatives to address a range of parasites, including different types of intestinal worms and fleas and ticks. When choosing a heartworm medication, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s needs. 

Heartgard© Plus Chew for Dogs 

Heartgard© Plus combines the active ingredients ivermectin and pyrantel. Together, these medications control larval (juvenile) heartworms, as well as roundworms and hookworms. Heartgard© Plus is available in a monthly chew in the following strengths: 

HeartGard Plus Chew for Dogs (up to 25 lbs.)

< img src="13173/hg small_1.jpg">

HeartGard Plus Chew for Dogs (26-50 lbs.)

< img src="13173/hg medium_0.jpg">

HeartGard Plus Chew for Dogs (51-100 lbs.)

< img src="13173/hg large.jpg">

According to the manufacturer, Heartgard© Plus is well tolerated. Side effects may include vomiting and diarrhea within 24 hours of dosing. Less common side effects include depression, lethargy, anorexia, ataxia, staggering, mydriasis, convulsions, and hypersalivation. Complete safety information is available on the product’s safety label. All dogs should be tested for heartworm infection before starting Heartgard© Plus. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Heartgard© Plus, contact your vet right away. The product should be given according to your vet’s instructions, following the included product label.

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs 

Simparica© Trio combines the active ingredients sarolaner (in the isoxazoline class of medications), moxidectin, and pyrantel. Together, these medications target a wide range of parasites, including larval (juvenile) heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms, as well as providing flea and tick control against a variety of tick species. The product is available as a monthly chew in the following strengths: 

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (2.8-5.5 lbs.)

< img src="13173/Simparica.2.4-5.6.jpg">

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (5.6-11  lbs.)  

< img src="13173/Simparica.5.6-11.jpg">

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (11.1-22 lbs.)

< img src="13173/Simparica.11-22.jpg">

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (22.1-44  lbs.)  

< img src="13173/Simparica.22-44.jpg">

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (44.1-88 lbs.)

< img src="13173/Simparica.44-88jpg_0.jpg">

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (88.1-132 lbs.)

< img src="13173/Simparica.88-152_0.jpg">

According to the manufacturer, Simparica© Trio is well-tolerated. In clinical studies, side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, polyuria, hyperactivity, and polydipsia. Complete safety information is available on the product’s safety label. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Simparica©, contact your vet.  

Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs 

Interceptor© Plus combines the active ingredients milbemycin oxime and praziquantel. Together, these medications target larval (juvenile) heartworms, adult roundworms, adult hookworms, adult whipworms, and adult tapeworms. Interceptor© Plus chews are available in the following strengths:

Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs (2-8 lbs.)

< img src="13173/interceptor small_0.jpg">

Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs (8.1-25 lbs.)

< img src="13173/Interceptor medium.jpg">

Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs (25.1-50.1 lbs.)

< img src="13173/interceptor large_0.jpg">

Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs (50.1-100 lbs.)

< img src="13173/interceptor xl_0.jpg">

Side effects that may be associated with Interceptor© Plus include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, ataxia, anorexia, convulsions, weakness, and salivation. For complete safety information, see the product’s label. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Interceptor© Plus, contact your vet right away.  

Tri-Heart© Plus Chewable Tablets 

Tri-Heart© Plus chewable tablets contains a combination of ivermectin and pyrantel. Together, these medications provide control of larval (juvenile) heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms. Tri-Heart© is administered once a month as a chew. It is available in the following strengths:

Tri-Heart© Plus for dogs (up to 25 lbs.) 

< img src="13173/Triheart.Up to 20_0.jpg">

Tri-Heart© Plus for dogs (26-50 lbs.) 

< img src="13173/Triheart.26-50_0.jpg">

Tri-Heart© Plus for dogs (51-100 lbs.)   

< img src="13173/Triheart.51-100_1.jpg">

Tri-Heart© Plus is generally well-tolerated in dogs. Side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, diarrhea, mydriasis, ataxia, staggering, convulsions, and hypersalivation. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Tri-Heart© Plus, contact your vet right away. For full safety information on Tri-Heart© Plus, see the product’s label.  

Sentinel© Spectrum Tablets for Dogs 

Sentinel© Spectrum Chews for dogs contain a combination of milbemycin oxime, lufenuron, and praziquantel. Together, these medications effectively control larval (juvenile) heartworms, adult roundworms, adult hookworms, adult whipworms, adult tapeworms, and fleas. Sentinel© Spectrum tablets are administered monthly in a chew. It is available in the following strengths:  

Sentinel© Spectrum for dogs (2-8 lbs.) 

< img src="13173/Sentinel.2-8.jpg">

Sentinel© Spectrum for dogs (8.1-25 lbs.)

< img src="13173/Sentinel.8-25.jpg">

Sentinel© Spectrum for dogs (25.1-50 lbs.)

< img src="13173/Sentinel.25-50.jpg">

Sentinel© Spectrum for dogs (50.1-100 lbs.)

< img src="13173/Sentinel.50-100.jpg">

Side effects with Sentinel© Spectrum are relatively uncommon. Side effects may include vomiting, depression/lethargy, pruritus, urticaria, diarrhea, anorexia, skin congestion, ataxia, convulsions, salivation, and weakness. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Sentinel© Spectrum, contact your vet for a consultation. For complete safety information, see the product’s label.   

Where are Flea and Tick Populations the Worst?

Areas with Prevalence of Fleas and Ticks


By Jennifer Kvamme, DVM


Fleas and ticks pose more of a problem for dogs and cats in certain parts of the United States than in others. A climate where the environment is warmer and more humid allows populations of fleas and ticks to explode, causing serious health concerns for the cats, dogs, and humans in these locations.


The distribution of certain tick and flea species varies depending on an area’s climate. Climates that experience colder winter seasons get some respite from dealing with ticks and fleas for a few months during the year, while hot, dry climates are less hospitable for fleas and ticks year round.


Tick Populations


In recent years, ticks that were more commonly found in the southern part of the country have started to expand their populations into northern areas. Ticks of the Ixodes and Amblyomma species are making their way to climates that were previously too cold for them. With warming temperatures, wildlife conservation programs, reforestation, and expansion of urban areas, tick migration is on the rise.


For example, the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) is finding its way to new locations with the help of a growing deer population in the eastern part of the United States. Along with the increasing population of deer ticks comes the increased likelihood of Lyme disease and/or anaplasmosis transmission to dogs and cats in that part of the country.


Because migrating tick populations bring with them potential diseases that have not been a problem in certain areas before, it’s becoming increasingly more important to protect your pet from ticks. Using tick prevention medications, vaccinations, and having your pets screened for various tick-borne diseases is essential. Your veterinarian can provide the best advice as to which diseases are more prevalent in your area.


Flea Populations


The most common flea species affecting cats and dogs in the U.S. is Ctenocephalides felis, or the cat flea. While fleas may be found anywhere in the country, they are found in greater numbers in areas where higher humidity levels and warmer temperatures exist.


This is why you will see a major flea problem in Florida even in the winter, while in Chicago they become less active for a few months of the year. In the drier desert regions of the U.S., humidity levels are typically not high enough to support the flea life cycle. Because of this, your pets are at lower risk of developing a flea infestation in those states.


Even if you live in an area of the U.S. that may not be known for having large numbers of fleas and ticks, your pet may still benefit from preventive medications. Your veterinarian can give you the best advice as to your pet’s risk for flea infestation or tick-borne diseases. Prevention is always easier, safer, and less expensive than treating a disease once it’s become established in your pet. 

< img src=";base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">< img src="2927/user_default.svg">


Jennifer Kvamme, DVM


18 Dogs That Love to Swim

There’s a dog out there for every lifestyle, and that includes avid swimmers! If you enjoy spending your days in the water, these high-energy, water-loving dogs are more than happy to join you. They’ll gladly spend hours by the poolside, cruising on the lake, and splashing on the beach right beside you.

What Is a Water Dog?

Water dogs are bred to excel in or around water. Throughout history, people have relied on these dogs for various tasks, such as flushing out or retrieving game from the water, retrieving things that fell overboard from ships, and even delivering messages between boats. Nowadays, many of these dogs have retained a water-loving disposition and enjoy having jobs where they retrieve objects. And—no surprise here—they also tend to be excellent swimmers.

Typically, water dog breeds can be identified by their waterproof coats, webbed feet, and love of swimming. They are often thought to be predecessors to modern retrievers, who, as pet parents know, always have time for a splash.

18 Dogs That Love the Water

1. Portuguese Water Dog

< img src="37499/portuguese-water-dog-swimming.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/Lynda

Originally bred to work alongside fishermen, Portuguese Water Dogs have become highly prized pets due to their intelligence, loyalty, and affectionate nature. These energetic dogs sport curly or wavy fur that doesn’t shed often but does need regular grooming. To keep them happy and healthy, it’s important to provide them with lots of exercise, so be sure to take them for a swim or other heart-pumping activity for at least 30 minutes each day!

2. Irish Water Spaniel

< img src="37499/irish-water-spaniel-swimming.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/slowmotiongli

One of the oldest spaniels, the Irish Water Spaniel is a rare water-loving dog. Although they resemble a Poodle due to their top knot and curly coat, these spaniels are larger and have a distinctive skinny, rat-like tail. They love swimming and excel at retrieving objects.

3. American Water Spaniel

< img src="37499/american-water-spaniel-swim.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/Steve

This pooch is the state dog of Wisconsin. A great retriever with a sensitive disposition, the American Water Spaniel has a curly coat that repels water. These dogs make a fantastic addition to families seeking an intelligent and eager-to-please companion.

4. Spanish Water Dog

< img src="37499/spanish-water-dog-swimming.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/otsphoto

The very affectionate Spanish Water Dog is an energetic companion that thrives when given tasks to accomplish. Originally bred to herd cattle and retrieve waterfowl, these dogs thoroughly enjoy staying active by swimming or playing fetch in the water, where they use their webbed paws to help them swim.

5. Golden Retriever

< img src="37499/golden-retriever-swimming.jpg">
Photo credit: iStock/Chayantorn

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. due to their intelligence, loyalty, and affectionate personality. Their famous golden coat is not only beautiful; it also helps repel water when they go for a splash—which is often!

6. Labrador Retriever

< img src="37499/labrador-retriever-swimming_0.jpg">
Photo credit: iStock/Chalabala

One of the best dogs for swimming is the Labrador Retriever. With their muscular body and wide, otter-like tail, Labs are perfectly designed for a great time in the water. Pet parents can also train their Labs for dock diving, which combines running, jumping, swimming, and retrieving—all activities loved by Labradors.

7. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

< img src="37499/chesapeake-bay-retriever-swimming_0.jpg">
Photo credit: iStock/ktatarka

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers hold the distinction of being the first retriever breed officially registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Their thick double coat has a layer of oil that helps repel water and provides insulation to keep them warm as they swim, even in frigid temperatures. These water-loving dogs are the official state dog of Maryland.

8. Standard Poodle

< img src="37499/standard-poodle-swimming_0.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/Teemu Tretjakov

Originally bred to hunt waterfowl, Standard Poodles are generally beloved for their laid-back disposition and cute wooly coat. Thanks to their history as water dogs, Poodles enjoy swimming. Their famously curly coat is water-resistant and won’t weigh them down as they swim.

9. Curly-Coated Retriever

< img src="37499/curly-coated-retriever-swim.jpg">
Photo credit: iStock/Wirestock

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a smart and confident retriever that won’t hesitate to leap into a lake and paddle for hours. This affectionate breed is great with kids, so pet parents with children can look forward to some lakeside fun with the whole family, pooch included!

10. Flat-Coated Retriever

< img src="37499/flat-coated-retriever-swim.jpg">
Photo credit: iStock/martinedoucet

Intelligent and energetic, the Flat-Coated Retriever was bred to retrieve game both on land and in water. Thanks to the breed’s history, modern descendants love swimming and are well-equipped for it: Their webbed feet and water-resistant fur make these dogs ever-ready for a dip.

11. English Setter

< img src="37499/english-setter-swim.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/

The graceful English Setter is an excellent birding dog who particularly enjoys being in and around water. This breed loves the company of their pet parents and will gladly join them on a fun summer jaunt into the nearest pool for a good, long swim.

12. Lagotto Romagnolo

< img src="37499/lagotto-romagnolo-swimming.jpg">
Photo credit: iStock/majaiva

The Lagotto Romagnolo gets its name from càn lagòt, an Italian phrase meaning “water dog” in the Italian dialect of Romagna, where this breed was used for activities like waterfowl retrieval and working in wet marshlands. Today, Lagotto dogs still love a good swim, but are often used to hunt truffles instead of waterfowl, thanks to their keen sense of smell and excellent hunting instincts.

13. Newfoundland

< img src="37499/newfoundland-dog-swimming.jpg">
Photo credit: iStock/stanfram

Hailing from Canada, the Newfoundland was originally bred to work on ships. These big dogs are adept at swimming and are strong enough to rescue a grown man from drowning. Their partially webbed paws and thick, water-resistant coat allow them to maneuver through the icy waters of Canada with ease, making them well-suited for jobs in water-related environments.

14. Irish Setter

< img src="37499/irish-setter-swim.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/Egooktamuck

Beautiful and athletic, the Irish Setter makes a great addition to many families due to their outgoing, playful, and affectionate nature. These dogs are strong swimmers and love being out and about with their pet parents, whether it’s at the beach or in a backyard pool. Notably, at least three sitting U.S. presidents have had Irish Setters: Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon.

15. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 

< img src="37499/nova-scotia-duck-tolling-retriever-swimming.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/annaav

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, although the smallest retriever breed, is packed full of energy. These intelligent working dogs have a water-repellant double coat that serves them well while retrieving ducks and other waterfowl. When pet parents bring them close to the water or something else they desire, these vocal dogs may express their excitement by emitting playful, high-pitched howls that sound like screams.

16. Otterhound

< img src="37499/otterhound-swim.jpg">
Photo credit: iStock/LourdesPhotography

The Otterhound is a breed of dog that was specifically bred for—you guessed it—hunting otters. These dogs possess several traits that make them ideal for this job: big, webbed feet; a high tolerance for cold water thanks to their thick double coat; and an exceptional sense of smell that enables them to track an otter’s scent, even underwater and several hours after the otters have left the area.

17. Barbet

< img src="37499/barbet-dog-swim.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/Annabell Gsödl

The Barbet, described by the AKC as resembling “a Muppet come to life,” is a shaggy, cheerful dog that loves to swim. Pronounced as “bar-bay,” the name Barbet is derived from the French word barbe, which means beard, a reference to the breed’s hairy chin. This French water dog is often mistaken for a Goldendoodle due to their similar appearance.

18. Boykin Spaniel

< img src="37499/boykin-spaniel-swimming.jpg">
Photo credit: Adobe/Jonathan

The Boykin Spaniel has an easygoing demeanor at home, but don’t let that fool you: they’re a keen hunter and retriever when on the job. With their webbed feet, they excel at swimming, while their luxurious brown double coat keeps them warm. This lovable water dog is native to South Carolina and was specifically bred to work in swamps and lakes.

Safety Tips for Taking Your Dog Swimming

If you have a water dog, don’t automatically assume they’re an avid swimmer. While some dogs may naturally have a greater affinity for the water, it’s important to introduce all dogs to the water gradually and under supervision.

To teach a dog to swim, follow these steps:

Begin in shallow water and gradually let them move deeper, letting your dog stop where they feel comfortable.

Never force your dog into deeper waters before they are ready.

Offer praise and positive reinforcement as your dog gains confidence in the water.

Ensure your dog has an easy and accessible way to exit the water.

Be cautious of stagnant water, which can harbor toxic algae, and fast-moving water that might be too strong for your pooch to handle.

Always follow proper safety precautions, such as using a life vest and supervising your pup at all times.

Featured Image: iStock/stevecoleimages

< img src="37499/IMG_3063_0.jpg">


Emily Sanders

Allergies in Dogs and Puppies: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

Does your dog or puppy itch, scratch, chew, or lick themselves excessively? These are all signs that your dog may have allergies.

Allergies are common in dogs—in fact, they are one of the top reasons for veterinary appointments. Dog allergy symptoms most commonly affect the skin and ears. 

While humans often outgrow allergies, allergies in dogs tend to worsen as they get older. So how do you know if your dog has allergies, and what’s causing them? What’s the best allergy treatment for dogs?

Here’s what you need to know about dog allergies signs and what you can do to relieve your dog’s allergies.

Key Takeaways

Dogs can be allergic to many different triggers, including fleas, food, and items in their environment.Common signs of dog allergies include itching, licking, hair loss, and rashes.Treatment for dog allergies depends on what your dog is allergic to.

Types of Allergies in Dogs

Here are a few of the different types of allergies a dog can have.

Flea Allergies

An allergy to fleas is the most common skin disease seen in dogs. The bite of just one or two fleas per week is enough to make affected dogs itch. Flea saliva is believed to be the allergen that causes the itchiness.

Seasonal/Environmental Allergies

Also known as atopy, seasonal or environmental allergies are caused by substances that exist in your home, backyard, and anywhere else your dog spends time.

These allergens can be inhaled, as with pollen, or absorbed through the skin when your dog touches them. Common triggers (allergens) for these allergic reactions include pollens, plant or animal fibers, dust mites, and mold spores.

Food Allergies

These are also known as adverse food reactions. Dogs can develop an allergy to a particular food at any point during their life, regardless of whether they have eaten these brands or types of foods in the past. 

The most common food allergy for dogs is to a protein source in the diet, but sometimes the allergy is to grains and/or other ingredients.

Dog Allergies Signs

Dog allergies signs can include:

Itchy skin



Face rubbing

Red skin

Loss of fur

Recurrent skin and ear infections

Gastrointestinal (GI) signs

The type and severity of these signs depend partly on the type of allergy your dog has.

Signs of Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs

The most common symptom of flea allergy dermatitis is itchy skin and irritation at the base of the tail, although other areas of the body may also be affected. 

Seasonal/Environmental Allergy Signs in Dogs

Common symptoms include scratching/itchy skin, licking (especially the paws), and face rubbing. Affected dogs may also experience red skin, loss of fur, and recurrent skin and/or ear infections. You may see red skin or fur loss on your dog’s paws and lower legs, face, ears, armpits, and belly.

Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs

The symptoms of food allergies are often the same as for seasonal/environmental allergies. There may also be GI signs, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or an increased number of bowel movements per day.

Is There an Allergy Test for Dogs?

Yes, but allergy testing in dogs is done for seasonal/environmental allergies only. Studies have shown that blood testing and skin testing for food allergies are not accurate in dogs. Studies have also shown that hair and saliva testing for seasonal or environmental allergies in dogs are not accurate.

Prior to performing allergy testing, your veterinarian should rule out other causes for your dog’s allergy symptoms. Allergy testing should not be used to confirm that your pet has seasonal/environmental allergies, but to determine the specific things to which your dog is allergic. 

Seasonal/environmental allergy testing can be performed in dogs by either skin testing or blood testing. Skin testing is the most accurate type of allergy test, and it’s generally performed by board-certified veterinary dermatologists.

Allergy testing should not be used to confirm that your pet has seasonal/environmental allergies, but to determine the specific things to which your dog is allergic.

For skin testing, mild sedation is required. The fur is clipped in a small area, and a series of very small amounts of allergens are injected into your dog’s skin. The degree of the allergic reaction to each allergen determines whether your dog is allergic to it. The cost of these tests can range from $300–$700.

Dog Allergy Treatment by Type

Treatment will depend on what the vet determines your dog is allergic to. Here are a few examples of how your vet might approach treating allergies.

Treatment for Flea Allergies

Treatment for flea allergy dermatitis is aimed at reducing the symptoms of itchy skin and irritation until the fleas are eliminated. To eliminate allergy symptoms in a flea-allergic dog, strict flea control is required.

There are many highly effective flea control products and medications available. Some are topical and come in the form of a liquid that you squeeze onto your dog’s skin, such as Advantage®, Revolution®, or Vectra®. Others are given orally in the form of chews, such as Simparica®, NexGard®, or Comfortis®. Consult with your veterinarian to determine your best option. Oral preventions tend to be more effective than topical, but use caution—some of the oral preventions have flavorings your dog might be allergic to.

In severe cases, a dog’s environment must be treated for fleas as well. Vacuum thoroughly to remove eggs, larvae, and pupae, and discard the vacuum bag. You can use insecticides inside and outside your home to treat all flea life stages.

It is important to use an insecticide containing an insect growth regulator, such as methoprene or pyriproxyfen, to halt the development of flea eggs and larvae. You can hire a professional exterminator, but you should specify that the treatment is for fleas. 

Treatment for Food Allergies

The treatment for food allergies in dogs is to feed a hypoallergenic diet for at least 12 weeks. This is the only way to determine if your dog has a food allergy. 

Hypoallergenic diets either have limited ingredients with an uncommon protein source or are processed in a special way (hydrolyzed) to be less likely to cause allergic reactions. The concept is that a dog cannot be allergic to a food that they have not been exposed to before.

Consult your veterinarian to choose the proper diet. Over-the-counter foods are not recommended for a proper food trial. Treats, flavored medications, and human foods will also have to be eliminated during this trial period. 

Other allergy treatment for dogs are aimed at reducing the symptoms while waiting to see if the diet change is helpful. Cytopoint®, Apoquel®, or steroids may be used to help control itching while waiting to see if a hypoallergenic food trial results in improvement of your dog’s allergy symptoms.

Treatment for Seasonal/Environmental Allergies

If allergy testing has not been performed, then the treatment is symptomatic, meaning that it aims to reduce or eliminate your dog’s symptoms. Treatments can include:

Oral medications, such as Apoquel®, Atopica®, or antihistamines

Injectable medications, such as Cytopoint®

Fatty acids


Frequent bathing and other topical therapies, such as sprays, wipes, or a mousse

Steroids should not be used long-term in the management of allergies due to the risk of significant side effects.

If an allergy test has been performed, then the ideal allergy treatment for dogs is avoidance of the allergen. This is possible in a few, select circumstances, but most dogs are allergic to a variety of substances that can be difficult to avoid completely.

Most dogs are allergic to a variety of substances that can be difficult to avoid completely.

Other treatment can include an allergy vaccine, also known as immunotherapy, which is given either by injection under the skin (allergy shots) or by mouth. The goal of immunotherapy is to make the immune system less reactive to the allergy-causing substances.

The success rate of immunotherapy is 60–70%. This is the best long-term approach to allergy control, especially in younger pets that experience symptoms most of the year. Symptomatic treatment can and should be given while starting immunotherapy. It may be many months before any improvement in symptoms is seen from immunotherapy alone.

Featured Image:

< img src="48767/burkett.jpg">


Leigh Burkett, DVM


Dr. Leigh Burkett was born and raised in Northeast Tennessee. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Wake Forest University…

7 Pool Safety Tips for Dogs

Summer is here, and it’s only natural to want to be outside. A big part of summer is swimming in the pool, but can your canine family members take part in the fun too? The short answer: Yes! But read on for a few things to keep in mind when inviting your furry friends to join you poolside.

As with humans, pool safety is key to keeping the good times going. When it comes to dogs, many of them love the water and will take to it naturally, while others will benefit from a little swim training. Whether or not your dog is a born swimmer, it’s important to make your pool accessible for them, giving them easy ways in and out of the water—that will also keep your pool from being damaged.

Key Takeaways

Make sure your pup is comfortable with water first–before letting them dive directly into a pool. Some pups are natural born swimmers, some are not.Life jackets are a great way to ensure your pup is safe during any water activity–no matter their swim style.Never leave a pup unattended near a pool.

Is It Safe to Have a Pool With Dogs?

If precautions are taken, it can be safe to have a pool when you have fuzzy family members. Making your pool environment safe for you and your dog, whether or not you invite them in for a swim, will keep everyone safe, happy, and prepared for a great summer.


How your dog can easily and safely get out of the poolGetting a pool fence to keep them away altogether (especially if you keep a solar cover on your pool)Life vestsEnsuring your dogs are supervised at all times when they are in and/or around the pool    

Pool Safety Tips for Dogs

Install a Pool Fence

Sometimes a fence blocks off a general part of the yard, keeping younger children and fur children away from the pool. But perimeter fences, which can be installed temporarily, go around the border of the pool itself, leaving an entrance open and only a couple of inches away from the very edge of the pool.

They are installed in panels that stand about 4–5 feet off the ground. In other words, no jumping into the pool from the sides. This is also a good way to ensure safety, so your pup doesn’t accidentally fall into the water.

Teach Your Dog to Swim

While many dogs are natural swimmers and have the instinct to paddle, being in the water can make them nervous or scared if they weren’t expecting to be there. Anxious dogs may even panic, which can lead them to exhaust themselves in the water and, in a worst-case scenario, drown.

If you want your dog to be prepared, safe, and confident in the water, consider swimming lessons! Training your dog to be comfortable in the water is the main goal, but teaching them to learn to swim properly is just as important. Even better, it’s great exercise for dogs, especially older pups with mobility issues.

To teach your dog yourself, start by carrying them into shallow water and lowering them down. They will probably start paddling their front paws, but this “method” ends up with a lot of splashing and not a lot of swimming. Holding up the back of their bodies, under their waist, will keep them from ending up in a vertical position and help them start to paddle their rear paws as well. Use positive reinforcement and praise to help your pup swim to the pool steps in the beginning, then stick by their side as they start to venture out and perfect their paddle.

And never forget that any activity you do with your furry friend is a great bonding opportunity! Sharing their water adventures, including training them, will build trust between you and your dog, making them feel even safer while in the water.

Use Dog Life Jackets

While training your dog to swim, a great way to keep them afloat is using a life jacket. A life jacket or flotation device will keep your dog safe in case they tire easily, which is something to keep in mind with larger breeds and senior dogs.

Life jackets can also come in handy for breeds that want to join in the fun with their humans but aren’t natural swimmers. If your dog has a large head, short snout, flat face, or short legs like English and French Bulldogs, invest in a reliable life jacket before considering a trip to the pool. 

Always Supervise Your Dog Around Water

The most important thing to remember when letting your pup play in the water with you is to always keep an eye on them. There are several things to look out for before, during, and after your dog is in the pool:

No drinking the water. Every dog (and human) who gets in the pool will inhale some pool water once in a while, but watch out for excessive drinking. Pools treated with chlorine can be harmful to ingest if your dog drinks too much. The same goes for salt water pools; too much salt is never good for a pup. And if your pup is hot and exhausted from being outdoors and swimming, they’re going to want to drink it to quench their thirst.

Fortunately, the amount of chlorine in the pool water is very diluted. Symptoms are mild and include mild gastrointestinal issues, but it’s still a good idea to stop your dog from drinking too much of it. Keep fresh water and a portable dog bowl nearby so your pup has access to clean drinking water at all times.

Watch to see if your dog gets tired. Dogs who are enjoying themselves in the pool may not notice they’re getting tired. If you notice the rear part of their body sinking a bit, that’s a good sign that they’re becoming fatigued and could use a break. This is when a life vest or flotation device can save them from slipping beneath the water’s surface, but if you don’t have one for your dog, ensure that they have a safe and easy way to get out of the pool.

Pool ramps, steps, and ladders for dogs will give your pup a safe spot to exit and take a breather before jumping in again.

Providing a reliable access point for them will also help during training and if your dog gets nervous in the water.

Check your dog’s paws and ears. Chlorinated water is safe for your dog to swim in, but too much of a good thing can take its toll. As with humans, too much exposure to chlorine can cause dry skin, and if you notice your dog licking their paws after being in the pool, their pads could be irritated.

Chlorine can also affect their fur, making it dry or even changing the color. If your dog is a frequent pool guest, give them a rinse or a bath to remove the chlorine, and consider a conditioner for their fur before they get in the pool. For their paws, you can even use the same paw balm you use in the winter.

While it’s commonly thought to be a chlorine issue, water in the ears can lead to an infection if it goes untreated. Dogs with floppy ears are especially prone to infections, so give the insides of your dog’s ears a quick rub with a cotton ball. If it seems like they’re pawing at their ears or shaking their heads more than usual after a swim, or you notice redness in the ear canal, give your vet a call.

If you think your dog might be a swimmer, invite them in. Just take a few precautionary measures and your fuzzy family member can join you in the pool instead of watching from the air-conditioned house—unless that’s what they prefer! It’s great exercise for you both and it’s also a perfect way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog, building trust that lasts beyond pool season.

Featured Image:

< img src="69006/JFphoto.jpeg">


Jamie Frevele

Jamie Frevele is a writer who has worked for Marvel, WWE, and more. She is now writing her own stories, so you can follow that journey on…