Archive : April

Cancerous Lymphoid Cells in the Lungs of Dogs

Lymphomatoid Granulomatosis in Dogs

Lymphomatoid granulomatosis is a rare disease seen in dogs that involves the infiltration of the lungs by cancerous lymphoid cells (lymphocytes and plasma cells). Metastasis may occue in other body sites and organs like the liver, heart, spleen, pancreas, and kidney.

Lymphomatoid granulomatosis is not breed- or gender-specific, but is more common in large and purebred dogs.

Symptoms and Types

Respiratory symptoms are often seen which aggravate over time. The following are a few of the more common symptoms related to this disease:

Cough Difficulty breathing Inability to exercise Weight loss (cachexia) Lack of appetite (anorexia) Fever (in some animals)


The underlying cause for lymphomatoid granulomatosis is currently unknown.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count — the results of which are usually non-specific and inconsistent with the disease.

Blood testing, meanwhile, may reveal an abnormally high number of neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils (all types of white blood cells) in the blood. And X-rays will reveal details related to lung tissue and abnormalities. The attending veterinarian may also take a small lung tissue sample (biopsy) to be sent to veterinary pathologist for a definitive diagnosis.


Unfortunately, there is no cure available. However, chemotherapy is often combined with surgical excision of the affected tissue. Regular blood testing, and cardiac and other body system evaluation are necessary during treatment.

Living and Management

Because there is no cure available, you should talk to a veterinary oncologist for their best recommendations. Chemotherapeutic drugs are highly toxic to different body systems, and various complications are seen during and after treatment. Call your veterinarian immediately if you observe any untoward symptoms in your dog such as difficulty breathing, depression, or lack of appetite. In case of serious complications, your veterinarian may reduce dosages or stop the treatment altogether. In addition, chemotherapy medication is potentially hazardous to human health and should always be administered with the consent of a veterinary oncologist and kept in a secure place. 

Septic Arthritis in Dogs

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What Is Septic Arthritis in Dogs?

Septic arthritis is an infection that occurs in a joint. Septic, in this context, means infected with harmful bacteria (most common), mycobacteria, fungi, or viruses. Arthritis is inflammation in the joint. Usually, septic arthritis occurs trauma, surgery, or a systemic infection in blood that travels to the joints.

Dogs with septic arthritis may quickly experience pain. As bacteria replicates in the joint, it leads to an inflammation that breaks down the joint. Early and often aggressive treatment is required to save the joints from chronic long-term damage.

Fortunately, septic arthritis is not contagious, though the bacteria that cause septic arthritis may potentially be contagious. While there are many species of bacteria, or even other agents, that can lead to septic arthritis, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is one of the more contagious and dangerous agents that can spread from pet to pet, pet to human, or human to human.

Septic arthritis is rarely seen in dogs. Most that are affected with septic arthritis have had a penetrating injury to the joint, a recent orthopedic surgery where the joint was opened, or a suppressed immune system.

Septic arthritis is a medical emergency and should be immediately addressed. Early intervention is important to minimize joint damage.

Symptoms of Septic Arthritis in Dogs

Clinical signs of septic arthritis are both systemic—from the infection in the bloodstream—and local, from pain in the joint itself. The most common symptoms in dogs:

Lameness or pain in one or more joints

Heat or swelling in the joint

Decreased or absent appetite



Causes of Septic Arthritis in Dogs

Septic arthritis is usually the result of a penetrating trauma, a complication of orthopedic surgery, or a systemic bacterial infection concentrated in the joint.

Dogs that have had a recent trauma, such as an animal bite over the joint or a puncture wound near the joint, are at greater risk of developing septic arthritis. All puncture wounds, especially if they’re near the joint, should be thoroughly cleaned.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog has a puncture wound near the joint, as the vet may want to do additional flushing of the wound and prescribe antibiotics.

While sterile technique is always rigorously observed during orthopedic surgery in a dog, sometimes postoperative complications do occur. If your dog has had a recent orthopedic surgery, such as a ruptured cruciate ligament repaired or a bone plate or bone pin inserted, they have an inherent risk for developing an infection of the bone or joint after surgery.

Even the best surgeons using the best sterile technique in the best surgical suites cannot offer zero risk of postoperative infections. Airborne bacteria can still lead to an infected implant, and consequently, to an infected joint.

Diseases that suppress a dog’s immune system can increase a dog’s risk of developing septic arthritis. Additionally, there are cases of young animals spontaneously developing septic arthritis without trauma. Middle-aged, large-breed dogs have been documented to spontaneously develop septic arthritis in elbows that have underlying arthritic changes as well.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Septic Arthritis in Dogs

To diagnose septic arthritis, your veterinarian will start with a thorough physical exam. They will touch and examine any potentially affected joints and do a gait evaluation to assess for lameness. Heat or swelling of one or more joints is the most common clinical sign of septic arthritis. Your vet will also want to assess your dog’s overall state. Sometimes dogs with this condition will run a fever.

Your veterinarian will likely want to run some blood work to screen for signs that the infection is systemic (in the bloodstream). Additionally, x-rays are helpful to rule out other common underlying orthopedic conditions that can also affect the joint, like fractures. Some cases of septic arthritis can be accompanied by osteomyelitis, a bone infection. This often leads to changes to the underlying bone that are visible on x-rays.

After a physical exam, bloodwork, and x-rays, your veterinarian may want to do a procedure called arthrocentesis, also known as a joint aspiration or joint tap. This procedure involves using a sterile needle to collect joint fluid and cells to look at under the microscope. The fluid can also be sent off to a microbiology lab to culture for bacteria. Your dog will be given anesthetics to ensure that the procedure is pain-free.

If these tests do not provide answers, additional imaging like ultrasonography or a computed tomography (CT) scan may be recommended.

Treatment of Septic Arthritis in Dogs

Treatment of septic arthritis often involves aggressive therapy with antibiotics. If your dog is systemically ill and very sick when diagnosed, they may need to be hospitalized until they are stable. Sometimes these patients require lavage, or flushing with sterile saline, of the affected joints.

Often, patients with septic arthritis will be placed on oral antibiotics for a lengthy time. Follow-up visits to recheck the joints are recommended. Your veterinarian may need to repeat some of the previous diagnostics to ensure that the infection is resolving and that your dog is on the right track to recovery.

Monitor your pet closely while they’re undergoing treatment at home for septic arthritis. Note any changes in their comfort, gait, and appetite. Sometimes antibiotics can lead to gastrointestinal upset, so closely monitor your dog’s appetite and stools while on medication.

Follow the instructions on the label and do not discontinue an antibiotic prematurely unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian. Be sure to inform your veterinarian about any changes you notice in your dog’s response to treatment. Consider talking to your veterinarian about adding a probiotic while on antibiotics to keep a healthy gastrointestinal biome.

Recovery and Management of Septic Arthritis in Dogs

Your veterinarian may recommend rest while your dog is healing from septic arthritis. Be sure to ask about any activity restrictions. If your dog is not limping, low-impact exercise such as 15-minute slow walks is encouraged to maintain joint health. If your dog is still favoring, your veterinarian may recommend restricted activity to allow the joint time to rest.

Your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug for your dog that helps ease pain and inflammation. Sometimes these medications can make dogs feel better and want to be more active than they should be during recovery. If your vet recommends your pet should rest, be sure to follow this recommendation even if your dog appears to feel better. Remember that their joint may not be healed yet, even though their pain is controlled.

Once your dog has been cleared to return to normal activity, physical therapy is geared toward a gradual return to full function and range of motion. Your veterinarian may recommend slow walks at first; you might start taking 10-minute walks and doing a slow serpentine pattern in the yard to strengthen the knees. Then, after a week or two of 10-minute walks, increase the walks to 15 minutes. Usually stairs, jumping, and running are the last activities to be added back in before your dog is back to normal.

Other physical therapy may include various range-of-motion exercises, such as moving your pet’s joints in a natural motion. A common exercise for the knees is moving the rear legs in a gentle circular motion, like pedaling a bicycle, while your pet is in a supported position. Your veterinarian is the best person to discuss a physical therapy plan for your dog, as plans will vary depending on the nature and severity of the infection, the age of the dog, and which joint(s) are involved.

Recovery times depend on:

Severity of the joint infection

Number and location of affected joint(s)

Whether the infection is localized or systemic

Time period between infection and start of treatment

Individual response to therapy

Because so many factors can affect recovery time, it is difficult to predict duration. However, most patients can recover and return to full function in 4-12 weeks.

Most cases of septic arthritis are considered “cured” rather than just “managed” once they have resolved. However, having septic arthritis once does not mean your dog will never have it again.

Remember, if your dog sustains an injury that may involve the joint, be sure to get them appropriate care as soon as possible. If your dog has orthopedic surgery, follow all post-operative instructions and be open in your communication with your veterinarian to reduce your pet’s risk of post-operative complications.


Harari J. Septic Arthritis in Dogs and Cats. Merck Veterinary Manual. 2020.

Mielke B, Comerford E, English K, Meeson R.  Spontaneous Septic Arthritis of Canine Elbows: Twenty-One Cases. Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology. 2018;31(6):488-493.

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Melissa Boldan, DVM


Dr. Melissa Boldan graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. She initially practiced mixed animal…

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

What is Hypothyroidism in Dogs?

Hypothyroidism is a common endocrine disease in dogs that results in decreased production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid glands, which are located on either side of the neck near the throat. These hormones serve an important role in metabolism. When the glands are not producing enough hormones, the dog’s body functions slow down. 

Dogs with hypothyroidism usually have either inflammation of the thyroid glands or degeneration (deterioration) of the glands. Fortunately, thyroid tumors are fairly uncommon in dogs. 

When it does occur, hypothyroidism is most common in middle-aged dogs, with medium-to-large breed dogs being more commonly affected. Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, and Irish Setters are among the breeds more predisposed.  

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Dogs with hypothyroidism often show one or more of the following clinical signs: 

Weight gain: This often occurs without an increase in appetite. Many pet parents note that their dog seems to be gaining lots of weight even though they don’t eat that much food. 

Lethargy and laziness: Your dog may prefer to sleep and lie around all day rather than run and play. 

Heat-seeking behavior: Because of their low thyroid hormone and resulting low metabolism, dogs with hypothyroidism constantly run a little cold. Your dog may prefer to lie near the fireplace or on the heat vent to try and stay warm. 

Chronic skin and ear infections: While allergies are relatively common in dogs, chronic skin and ear infections may be a sign of an underlying issue with hypothyroidism. 

Dry and brittle hair with a thinning hair coat: Sometimes a dog with hypothyroidism will lose hair from their back on either side. They may also lose hair from their tail, giving it a rat tail type appearance. 

Increased pigmentation of the skin 

Inability to regrow hair after it’s been shaved 

There are other, less common, signs of hypothyroidism that some dogs develop. Dogs may have reproductive problems, or develop issues with their nervous systems, including nerve pain or dragging their hind legs.  

Dogs with low thyroid may have small, white fat deposits on the surface of their eyes or end up with an eye condition called dry eye, where they don’t produce enough tears. Some dogs even have thickening of the facial skin so the muscles of the face droop.  

Causes of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

The two most common causes of hypothyroidism in dogs are inflammation of the thyroid gland (lymphocytic thyroiditis) and degeneration of the thyroid gland (idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy).  

While we are not sure why these two conditions spontaneously occur in some dogs, we know there is a genetic predisposition. Another rare cause of hypothyroidism in dogs includes cancer. Fortunately, these other causes are only responsible for a small percentage of hypothyroid patients.  

Majority of patients with hypothyroidism have either inflammation of their thyroid gland or degeneration of their thyroid gland, and both conditions can be managed with medication.  

How Veterinarians Diagnose Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Your veterinarian will start with a physical examination of your dog, including a thorough medical history.  It’s important to share any unusual behaviors you’ve noted in your dog and be sure to include a time frame of when you first noticed these behaviors or physical changes.  

Your vet may want to run some basic bloodwork and a urinalysis to establish your dog’s overall health. If your dog has changes in their skin, your vet may want to do skin scrapes or smears (sample collected by either gently scraping the surface of the skin with a scalpel or by pressing a microscope slide to the skin) to look under a microscope and rule out any secondary skin infections.  

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test. Your veterinarian will want to draw blood from your dog to either test in their clinic or send off to an external laboratory for testing.  

Most commonly, this disease is diagnosed by running a screening test called a total thyroxine level (Total T4, or TT4). This test determines your dog’s main thyroid hormone level. If it is low, and your dog has clinical signs of hypothyroidism, this is suggestive of a diagnosis.  

Many veterinarians will then run additional blood tests, either a free T4 level or a full thyroid panel, to confirm the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Sometimes dogs can have a low total T4 but not necessarily have hypothyroidism. Occasionally, a dog can have a total T4 that is at the low end of the normal range but still have hypothyroidism. These confirmatory tests can be especially helpful in such cases.  

Treatment of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Hypothyroidism is treated with an oral medication called levothyroxine. This medication is a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone your dog is missing. It is important to note that hypothyroidism is treatable but not curable.  

Your dog will need to stay on their thyroid replacement hormone for life. This pill comes in several different strengths, so your veterinarian will select the appropriate dose for your dog based on weight. They will likely want to re-check bloodwork in one month to ensure no dose changes are required.  

Untreated hypothyroidism can shorten your dog’s life span, as nearly every organ in the body is affected by thyroid hormone and by the metabolism. Dogs with untreated hypothyroidism develop high cholesterol, decreased immune function, a slowed heart rate, and neuromuscular signs.  

These neuromuscular signs may include unsteadiness, a head tilt, and even seizures. While hypothyroidism responds well to treatment, untreated hypothyroidism can have a negative effect on your dog’s quality of life.  

Recovery and Management of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Management of hypothyroidism in dogs requires lifelong therapy with oral thyroid hormone replacement. Tolerance of medication may change over time, so your dog may require dose adjustments from time to time. It is recommended that you have your dog’s blood thyroid levels checked every 6-12 months to ensure they are still on the appropriate dose of their medication. It is very important that your dog not be given too little or too much thyroid hormone in the long term.  

Once your dog’s thyroid levels have been restored to normal, your dog may lose weight as their body condition improves and will likely have more energy. While it can take months for your dog’s hair to grow back, they will likely experience an improvement in their skin and hair coat over time.  

Hypothyroidism may result in decreased tear production in dogs. Monitor your dog’s eyes for any development of green-yellow discharge. Talk to your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes.  

Hypothyroidism in Dogs FAQs

Is hypothyroidism curable?

Hypothyroidism is manageable, but it is not curable. It is usually treated with lifelong oral synthetic thyroid hormone replacement (levothyroxine medication).

Can medication be overdosed?

Thyroid medication can be overdosed, and it is very important that your dog is on the correct dose of medication to manage their hypothyroidism.  

Your vet will start your dog on a standard dose based on your dog’s weight and will want to repeat bloodwork in one month to ensure the dose is correct. More than one re-check appointment is possible to get the medication dosage correct. 

Metabolism and tolerance of the medication may change over time, requiring periodic dose adjustments. It is recommended that your dog’s thyroid levels be re-checked every 6-12 months. Signs of an overdose of thyroid medication include excessive weight loss, irritability/hyperactivity, increased drinking and/or panting, and lack of sleep.  

How long do dogs live with hypothyroidism?

Dogs with hypothyroidism can live normal, healthy lives when the disease is managed with medication. While the disease is not curable, it has an excellent prognosis and patients generally respond well to treatment. Medically managed patients have a normal life expectancy.

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Melissa Boldan, DVM


Dr. Melissa Boldan graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. She initially practiced mixed animal…

Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?

NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

Pineapple is a tasty treat for us, but is it okay for dogs to eat? When given correctly, and in the appropriate portion size, this tropical fruit can also be a safe and healthy treat for puppies and adult dogs alike. 

Is Pineapple Good for Dogs?

Pineapples contain multiple vitamins and minerals that help support your dog’s immune system and digestive system. Your dog could also benefit from the antioxidants found in pineapple such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and bromelain. And just like watermelons, pineapples contain a high percentage of water, which promotes hydration. 

Although your dog won’t experience major benefits from small pineapple pieces as occasional treats, they are definitely a healthy snack choice. Feeding dog-safe fruits to your pup is a much more nutritious option than table scraps that may be harmful to pets.

Check out some of the vitamins and minerals found in pineapples: 

Vitamin C

Vitamin B6

Vitamin A

Vitamin K













Can Too Much Pineapple Be Bad for Dogs?

Yes, like most things, too much pineapple can be a bad thing for dogs. Pineapples have a high fiber content, which is great for the digestive tract, but too much fiber can actually cause your dog to have an upset stomach. 

Pineapples also have a high sugar content, which can also lead to an upset stomach. If your dog eats too much sugar on a regular basis, they can develop health problems over time like dental issues, obesity, and diabetes. For proper portion sizes, check out our guidelines below. 

Can Pineapple Stop a Dog From Eating Poop?

There’s a tale that many dog owners believe about pineapple stopping a dog from eating poop. The idea is that the antioxidant bromelain, which is found in pineapple, will make your dog’s poop taste bad to them, therefore stopping them from eating their own feces. 

However, there’s no hard evidence proving this theory. If your dog does persist with this unfortunate habit, talk with your veterinarian. 

Sometimes eating poop is just a bad habit that your dog has formed over time. But there could also be underlying health issues causing their desire to eat animal poop. Contact your veterinarian to find out if this applies to your dog and what the best next steps would be.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Pineapple?

Although canned pineapple is not toxic for dogs, it shouldn’t be used as a snack for your pup. Canned pineapple usually comes in a syrup that has very high sugar content. And that much sugar will most certainly upset your dog’s stomach. It’s best to stick with raw pineapple. 

Can Dogs Eat a Pineapple Core?

When feeding your dog pineapple, it’s crucial to always remove the core, stem, leaves, and skin. All of these can become choking hazards for your dog, and even cause an intestinal blockage. 

If your dog has eaten the core of a pineapple, contact your veterinarian immediately. It’s too difficult for your dog to digest and could cause serious problems. 

Can Dogs Eat Dried Pineapple?

If you are going to dehydrate the pineapple yourself, dried pineapple can be a safe and easy treat for your dog. Just make sure it’s not so hardened that it becomes a choking hazard. The process of drying the fruit also concentrates the sugars.

Store-bought dried fruits typically contain a large amount of added sugar, which is not good for your dog’s overall health. This could cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. They also often contain preservatives that could be dangerous for your dog.

If your dog has already eaten some, check the ingredients list for any hazardous ingredients for dogs, such as xylitol. Contact your veterinarian, just to be safe.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Pineapple?

As long as there are no ingredients added to the cooked pineapple, your dog should be fine to eat it in small amounts. Just be sure it’s not so hot that it will burn their mouth. 

However, if you’re cooking the pineapple with other things like garlic and onion, do not feed it to your dog. Garlic and onion are both toxic to dogs. If your dog has eaten just a little bit, they will probably only suffer some stomach upset. But if they have eaten a large amount, this could be hazardous. Take them to your veterinarian immediately.

Can Dogs Eat Pineapple Cake?

You shouldn’t share pineapple cake with your dog. Although pineapple itself is healthy, pineapple cake has too much sugar for your dog and could make them sick.

There’s also the risk of additional ingredients that are toxic to dogs, like nutmeg or xylitol. If your dog ate pineapple cake, especially if it has either of these ingredients, contact your veterinarian right away.

How Much Pineapple Can a Dog Eat?

Any kind of treat should only make up 10% of your dog’s overall diet—even the healthy ones. The other 90% of your dog’s diet should come from well-balanced dog food. 

Below are some general guidelines for safely feeding raw pineapple to your dog based on their weight. Always make sure to remove the core before feeding pineapple to your dog. Each “piece” should only be about 1 inch x 1 inch x ¼-inch thick. 

For pineapple that you’ve dehydrated, rehydrate the pieces or give your dog a little less than the following recommended amounts, since dehydrating concentrates the sugars.

Extra-small dog (2-20 lbs.) = 1-2 pieces of pineapple

          Examples: Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Pugs

Small dog (21-30 lbs.) = 2-3 pieces of pineapple

          Examples: Basenjis, Beagles, Miniature Australian Shepherds

Medium-size dog (31-50 lbs.) = 5-6 pieces of pineapple

          Examples: Basset Hounds, Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs

Large dog (51-90 lbs.) = handful of pineapple pieces

          Examples: Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds

Extra-large dog (91+ lbs.) = large handful of pineapple pieces

          Examples: Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees

If your dog accidentally ate too much pineapple, watch for the following symptoms:





Decreased appetite or loss of appetite


If you do notice any of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian. 

How to Safely Feed Your Dog Pineapple

Pineapple can be a fun and healthy treat for dogs. Here are some easy ways to safely feed it to them. 

Raw pineapple: Cut the pineapple into ¼-inch thick pieces and feed it to your dog as little treats. 

Dried pineapple: Cut raw pineapple into ¼-inch thick pieces and dry it with a dehydrator at home. 

Frozen pineapple: Cut raw pineapple into ¼-inch thick pieces, then freeze it to feed to your dog later as a cold, crunchy treat. 

Fruit smoothie: Blend up a little pineapple with other dog-safe fruits like strawberries, bananas, or blueberries. You can even mix the fruit with a sugar-free, xylitol-free, plain yogurt. Then put this mixture into your dog’s KONG toy to freeze for later. They will love licking up this delicious combination! 

Pina colada mocktail: Try this recipe for a dog-safe pina colada with pineapple, banana, mango, and Rescue Remedy.

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Victoria Lynn Arnold

Victoria is a freelance copywriter for the dog and pet industry, and has two big furbabies of her own. She’s always been passionate…

Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals Made Up of Uric Acid in Dogs

Urolithiasis/Urate Stones In dogs

Urolithiasis is a medical term referring to the presence of stones or crystals in an animal’s urinary tract. When the stones are made up of uric acid, they are called urate stones. These stones can also be found in the kidneys and in the tubes connecting the kidneys to the animal’s bladder (ureters).

While these stones can affect any dog breed, Dalmatians, English Bulldogs, and Yorkshire Terriers are more susceptible to the condition. It is also more common in male dogs than in females, and typically noticed within the first three to four years of life.

It is highly likely the stones will recur after treatment, but the overall prognosis for the animal is positive.

Symptoms and Types  

While many dogs will not show any signs of the disease, the most common symptoms usually deal with urination issues. These can include abnormal urine streams, difficulty urinating (dysuria), blood in the urine, cloudy urine, and eventually the complete inability to urinate (anuria).


Dogs that have an abnormal connection of the main blood vessel in the liver, called a portosystemic shunt, have a higher incidence of developing these types of stones in the urinary tract. A diet consisting of high amounts of purine — found in beef, poultry and fish — can also cause this condition.


Ultrasounds are often performed to determine the size, shape, and location of the stones. This will help your veterinarian to determine an appropriate treatment regimen. Bloodwork will also be performed to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions causing the stones.


If your dog is unable to urinate because of a blockage, surgery is often required. In the event the dog has an abnormal connection of the main blood vessel in its liver — as mentioned above — surgery can be performed to re-route blood flow.

Medications are sometimes prescribed to dissolve the stones; this method takes about four weeks to completely resolve the condition.

Living and Management

To monitor for the recurrence of stones, ultrasounds and X-rays should be performed every two to six months. If caught early, the stones are generally easy to treat without the need for surgery.


A low purine diet has shown some promise in the prevention of the formation of these stones.

The Best Flea and Tick Medications for Dogs

Fleas and ticks are parasites that can be found in almost every climate and location where dogs live. These pests take up residence on your dog and live by biting the dog and feeding on their blood. In the process, they can cause allergic reactions, infections, and other serious health complications. Vets typically recommend year-round flea and tick prevention for dogs.

If you see symptoms of flea infestation, such as skin lesions, excessive itching, or visible flea droppings (often called “flea dirt”) on your dog’s skin, it may mean your treatment program needs adjusting. Also, if you see a tick on your dog, you should first remove the tick and then clean the area. Monitor for symptoms of tick-borne illness, such as swollen joints, reluctance to move, loss of appetite, or lameness.  

Advantage II and Advantage Multi

Advantage II contains the active ingredients imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen. Together, these medications work quickly to control fleas and lice. It kills fleas at multiple life stages, from egg to adult. Advantage II does not control ticks. Advantage Multi contains the active ingredients imidacloprid and moxidectin. It controls adult fleas, as well as hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. It also treats sarcoptic mange and helps prevent heartworm disease. Advantage Multi does not target ticks.

Advantage II Flea Spot Treatment for Dogs, 3-10 lbs

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Advantage II Flea Spot Treatment for Dogs, 11-20 lbs

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Advantage II Flea Spot Treatment for Dogs, 21-55 lbs

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Advantage II Flea Spot Treatment for Dogs, over 55 lbs

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Advantage Multi Topical Solution

Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs, 3-9 lbs

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Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs, 9.1-20 lbs

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Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs, 20.1-55 lbs

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Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs, 55.1-88 lbs

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Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs, 88.1-110 lbs

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Bravecto contains the active ingredient fluralaner, which controls flea and ticks. It is also available as a topical treatment that is given every 3 months. Bravecto should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. Bravecto is available as chews that can be given monthly or every 3 months, available in the following strengths:

Bravecto Chew for Dogs, 4.4-9.9 lbs

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Bravecto Chew for Dogs, 9.9-22 lbs

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Bravecto Chew for Dogs, 22-44 lbs

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Bravecto Chew for Dogs, 44-88 lbs

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Bravecto Chew for Dogs, 88-123 lbs

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Frontline Gold, Frontline Plus and Frontline Shield

Frontline Gold contains the active ingredients fipronil, (s)-methoprene, and pyriproxyfen. It kills multiple life stages of fleas, as well as controlling ticks and lice.

Frontline Plus contains fipronil and (s)-methoprene. It is topical medication that controls fleas, ticks, and lice but is not as fast-acting as the Frontline Gold formulation 

Frontline Shield contains the active ingredients fipronil, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. It kills multiple life stages of fleas, as well as controlling ticks, chewing lice, and stable flies. It also repels mosquitos, stable flies, and ticks. Frontline Shield is highly toxic to cats, so use care or avoid it entirely if you have cats in the household. 

Frontline Gold 

Frontline Gold Flea & Tick Treatment for Small Dogs, 5-22 lbs

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Frontline Gold Flea & Tick Treatment for Medium Dogs, 23-44 lbs

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Frontline Gold Flea & Tick Treatment for Large Dogs, 45-88 lbs

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Frontline Gold Flea & Tick Treatment for Extra Large Dogs, 89-132 lbs

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Frontline Plus

Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Small Dogs, 5-22 lbs

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Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Medium Dogs, 23-44 lbs

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Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Large Dogs, 45-88 lbs

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Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Extra Large Dogs, 89-132 lbs

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Frontline Shield

Frontline Shield Flea & Tick Treatment for Extra Small Dogs, 5 – 10 lbs

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Frontline Shield Flea & Tick Treatment for Small Dogs, 11 – 20 lbs

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Frontline Shield Flea & Tick Treatment for Medium Dogs, 21 – 40 lbs

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Frontline Shield Flea & Tick Treatment for Large Dogs, 41 – 80 lbs

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Frontline Shield Flea & Tick Treatment for Extra Large Dogs, 81 – 120 lbs

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K9 Advantix

K9 Advantix II contains the active ingredients imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. Together, these medications treat ticks, mosquitos, chewing lice, and multiple life stages of fleas. K9 Advantix II is applied monthly. K9 Advantix II is highly toxic to cats and should be used with caution in households that include cats.

K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs, 4-10 lbs

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K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs, 11-20 lbs

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K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs, 21-55 lbs

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K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs, over 55 lbs

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NexGard contains the active ingredient afoxolaner, which is the isoxazoline class of drugs. NexGard treats fleas, Black-legged (deer) ticks, American dog ticks, brown dog ticks, and Lone Star ticks. This product is available as a chew that is given once a month. It should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. 

NexGard Chew for Dogs, 4-10 lbs

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NexGard Chew for Dogs, 10.1-24 lbs

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NexGard Chew for Dogs, 24.1-60 lbs

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NexGard Chew for Dogs, 60.1-121 lbs

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Simparica Trio

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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Blind Quiet Eye in Dogs

Blind quiet eye is the loss of vision in one or both eyes without ocular vascular injection or other apparent signs of eye inflammation. This may occur due to abnormalities in retinal image detection, retinal focusing, optic nerve transmission, or simply the central nervous system’s inability to interpret images correctly.

Symptoms and Types


Because Blind Quiet Eye directly affects the dog’s vision, it may display several signs, including:

Clumsy behavior (e.g., bumping into objects, tripping, falling) Decreased or absent menace response (i.e., does not blink when a hand is waved toward the eyes) Impaired visual placing responses (e.g., extends the paws incorrectly when trying to approach a nearby surface)

In addition, these problems may become more exaggerated when the dog is outside at night.


There are several causes for Blind Quiet Eye, such as cataracts, central nervous system lesions, and the lens’ inability to focus correctly. Other common causes include:

Retinal disorders: Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) Shrinking of the retina (progressive retinal atrophy) Separation of the eye’s inner lining (retinal detachment) Ivermectin toxicity Optic nerve issues due to: Inflammation Cancer Trauma Underdevelopment Lead Toxicity


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health and the onset and nature of the symptoms to the veterinarian. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination (including an opthalmoscopic exam) as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC) to rule out potential systemic causes of the disease.

During the ophthalmic exam a penlight will be used to rule out potential systemic causes of the disease, such as cataracts or retinal detachment. (In cases of retinal detachment, the systemic blood pressure is often elevated.) Ophthalmoscopy, meanwhile, may reveal progressive retinal atrophy or optic nerve disease.

If the ophthalmic exam reveals nothing irregular, it may suggest sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS), retrobulbar optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve after it exits the eye toward the brain), or a central nervous system (CNS) lesion. If the diagnosis is still in doubt, electroretinography — whic measures the electrical responses of photoreceptor cells in the retina — makes it possible to differentiate retinal from optic nerve or CNS disease. Ocular ultrasounds and CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans are also very helpful to visualize and diagnose orbital or CNS lesions.



Your veterinarian will try to localize the disease and will often refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for Blind Quiet Eye brought on by SARDS, progressive retinal atrophy, optic nerve atrophy, or optic nerve hypoplasia. However, cataracts, luxated lenses, and some forms of retinal detachment may be treated surgically.

In addition, dogs with retinal detachment should have their exercise severely restricted until the retina is firmly reattached. These patients should also be switched to a calorie-restricted diet to prevent obesity, which could occur due to reduced activity.

Living and Management

With assistance, blind pets can lead relatively normal and functional lives. However, dogs with progressive retinal atrophy or genetic cataracts should not be bred. Your veterinarian will recommend you with some basic safety concepts, such as examining for potential hazards in your home. He or she will also schedule regular follow-up exams to ensure that any ocular inflammation is controlled and to ensure, if possible, that your pet’s vision is maintained.

Prostate Disease in the Breeding Male Dog

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) in Dogs

The prostate is the only accessory sex gland in the dog. In intact (non-neutered) dogs this gland increases in size and weight with advancing age. This is the most common disorder of the prostate in dogs older than six years and is a normal occurrence of aging. It is not necessarily a life-threatening condition by itself, but can result in a dog being more susceptible to other disorders, along with making the dog very uncomfortable.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in dogs is a hormone mediated proliferation of cells that is commonly seen in dogs from middle age onward. This condition affects the glands and connective tissues of the prostate, causing swelling of the prostrate gland, which then presses against the rectum, making the canal smaller and defecation painful for the dog.

BPH is due to an age-associated increase in estrogen in the prostate. The ratio between estrogen and androgen ratio is believed to contribute to BPH development in older dogs, as both estrogens and androgens are required for significant prostatic enlargement to occur.

The clinical effects of BPH are minimal or absent in most dogs, but in chronic cases, BPH can render the prostate more susceptible to infection from the urinary tract and subsequent development of bacterial prostatitis.


Prostatitis/Prostatic abscess The prostate gland and urinary tract of normal intact dogs are sterile environments; microbial growth within the prostate is inhibited by a prostatic antibacterial factor. Prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate, typically occurs in association with bacterial infection, and may be acute (sudden and severe) or chronic (long-term). Bacterial prostatitis may progress to abscess formation. It is associated with BPH due to alteration of the prostatic architecture. Concurrent bacterial urinary tract infection is not always noted with bacterial prostatitis. Prostatic cysts  Prostatic cysts may be primary or secondary to hyperplasia, cancer, or inflammation. Multiple cysts may be associated with BPH and squamous metaplasia (the change of one cell type to another). Squamous metaplasia occurs with exposure to estrogen or with an alteration in the estrogen:androgen ratio. Estrogen converts prostatic epithelium to a stratified squamous type, and subsequent duct occlusion contributes to cyst formation. Paraprostatic cysts (fluid-filled sacs found adjacent to the prostate) are attached to the prostate, lined by skin cells that give off a secretion, and are variable in size. Larger cysts containing excess collagen and cauliflower-like bony extensions are not uncommon, but they’re almost always sterile. Prostatic neoplasia (cancer) Prostatic adenocarcinoma (a cancer that originates in the glandular tissue) is most the commonly reported form of BPH. Other tumor types include fibrosarcoma (a malignant tumor derived from fibrous connective tissue), leiomyosarcoma (a cancer of the smooth muscle cells), and squamous cell carcinoma (a malignant tumor of skin cells). Prostatic transitional cell carcinomas typically arise from the prostatic urethra rather than the prostate gland itself. Incidence of prostatic neoplasia in intact versus castrated dogs is similar. Prostatic adenocarcinoma, a malignant form of abnormal cell growth, is not associated with benign hyperplasia. Bone metastasis occurs in more than one-third of prostatic adenocarcinoma cases, typically to the nearby pelvic bones and back bone.

BPH incidence is high in non-neutered dogs. By five years of age, 50 percent of intact dogs exhibit histologic evidence of BPH. The true incidence of prostatis is unknown, but it’s considered common in veterinary practice. However. The incidence of neoplasia is low; carcinomas are reported at 0.29–0.60 in the dog population. Prostatic cysts in intact dogs generally occurs before four years of age. Cancer of the prostate generally occurs before ten years of age.


Prostatic disease – general Asymptomatic Tenesmus (constipation) Bloody urethral discharge Reduction in urination or defecation Stranguria (straining to void) Benign prostatic hyperplasia Hematuria Hematospermia Prostatitis – acute Systemic illness (vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, weight loss) Purulent urethral discharge Pyuria Hematuria Infertility Stiff legged gait Prostatitis – chronic Recurrent/chronic urinary tract infection Hematuria Stiff gait Infertility Prostatic cyst See type description for BPH (above) If associated with infection see prostatitis Prostatic neoplasia Emaciation Dyschezia (defective reflex for defecation-painful defecation) Difficulty with moving rear limbs Lumbosacral pain (back pain between the ribs and pelvis)


BPH Intact breeding males Over five years of age Prostatitis Infection of the prostrate Over five years of age Squamous metaplasia Administration of estrogen Cell tumor Paraprostatic cyst A cysts that occurs in the tissues surrounding the prostate Over eight years of age Prostatic neoplasia No association between intact or non-intact status Over ten years of age


You will need to provide a thorough history of your dog’s’s health leading up to the onset of symptoms. Initially, standard laboratory tests will include a complete blood profile, chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. Because there are so many possible causes for this condition, your veterinarian will use differential diagnosis. This process is guided by deeper inspection of the apparent outward symptoms, ruling out each of the more common causes until the correct disorder is settled upon and can be treated appropriately.

The doctor will thoroughly examine your dog and make some preliminary estimations based on the physical exam. However, the preferred method for looking at the prostate is by ultrasound, so the results of these images will provide much of the information your veterinarian needs to make a diagnosis. In addition, x-ray imaging can be used to gather information that is not revealed by the ultrasound. Culture samples from the urinary tract will be taken for analysis, as well as semen, and if a mass of tissue, or tumor, is found, your doctor may also perform a biopsy in order to define the mass.


For benign prostatic hyperplasia, treatment is only indicated for symptomatic dogs. Castration is the treatment of choice for animals with no breeding value, and this should effectively resolve the problem.

However, if the dog is valuable for breeding purposes, medications can be used to temporarily reduce the size of the prostate so that the dog can be functional. This treatment is typically only used to reduce clinical signs so that sufficient quantities of semen can be collected and frozen for future use. It is not meant as a long-term therapy, and without further treatment the prostate will return to pretreatment size eight weeks after discontinuation of therapy. Your veterinarian will likely recommend castration once the desired doses of semen are stored.

If the cause is found to be a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed, based on the specific culture and sensitivity results. If the infection is chronic, the antibiotics of choice will be designed to treat the more intense form of infection. Castration is recommended if the course of antibiotics does not get resolve the infection. If the diagnosis is a cyst, treatment will be based on the location, type, and size of the cyst. Again, castration may be recommended.

If the diagnosis is cancer, it has usually metastasized by the time of diagnosis. Chemotherapy may be advisable, depending on the nature of the cancer, but it is important to keep in mind that there is no cure or long-term remedy for cancer. Pain relief medication will be prescribed to help your dog to cope.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will want to repeat the prostatic fluid cultures in follow-up visits. Semen evaluation should be performed in all dogs maintained for breeding, but not before 65 days after the resolution of bacterial prostatitis. The abdominal ultrasound will also need to be repeated in order to evaluate the prostate size after medical therapy.

Dogs that test positive for Brucella (Gram-negative bacteria) should not be used for breeding, as this disease is highly infectious. It is also important to note that Brucellosis is a zoonotic infection that can be passed from dogs to humans, although is remains an uncommon disease in humans. In the event that your dog is diagnosed with Brucellosis, you will need to take the necessary precautions when handling any secretions from your dog.

Possessive and Territorial Aggression in Dogs

Some dogs are dangerous to other dogs, and even to humans, while they are eating. In fact, dogs can be aggressive in guarding everything they consider their possessions, such as food, bowls, items they steal or find, and toys. They are also very territorial and will defend any area they consider to be under their domain (e.g., the home).

Is this aggression dangerous? Absolutely. However, this is normal behavior. Dogs are bred to protect, and at times it may be an issue of training and learned behavior. A secure fence is one solution but be aware that no fence is absolutely secure. In some dogs the behavior can be modified, but first you need to understand what the underlying cause is.


GrowlingLifting the upper lipAggressive BarkingSnappingLungingBitingExtreme reaction when someone approaches the dog’s space (e.g., backyard)Doorbell may bring on a frenzy of aggression


There are times the dog develops the habit of defending food, objects, and territory by being aggressive because it has had successful results in the past. Other common causes include:

Underlying medical conditionsPoor socializing as a puppySexual maturationInbreedingEnvironmentPack order behaviorGenetic (or normal to the particular dog or breed)


Your veterinarian will first rule out any underlying diseases. If nothing is found to explain the behavior, they may refer you to an animal behaviorist who specializes in training dogs.


You are probably not going to “cure” this aggressive dog, however, controlling the behavior is the goal. If the number of aggressive incidents can be decreased, you should feel that you have succeeded. A dog-training specialist can help you develop safety and management tools.

Safety should be the primary concern. Avoid situations that may bring on an aggressive reaction. If your behaviorist recommends punishment/dominance-based training techniques, you may want to seek alternative help, as it may escalate aggression. There are better ways to deal with the problem.

Feed the dog in a confined space and do not give it items that might incite aggressive behavior. Confine it to areas where people can neither be heard nor seen. Finally, teach your dog to wear a head halter and basket muzzle.

In extreme cases, it may be necessary to put the dog down (euthanize), as it is sometimes the only way to assuredly prevent your dog from injuring others — especially those that have already been involved in an incident or incidents.

Living and Management

Behavior modification requires patience and consistency. It also takes time before the results are visible. In the presence of aggression-provoking stimuli, try desensitizing and counter-conditioning techniques. Use basket muzzles for safety when working with the dog.

Teach it first to sit and relax on a verbal command. Do this in a neutral location and use food rewards in tiny pieces to avoid food aggression during these exercises; reward non-aggressive behavior also. Gradually increase the level of stimulation, being careful to stay below the threshold that will result in aggression. Remember, patience will be important, as progress is slow coming. Just when you think you’ve made a difference, there could be signs of a setback. It’s important to remain firm with the training exercises.

While there are medications on the market for this behavioral disorder, they are not recommended. If your veterinarian does prescribe medication, it should only be utilized in association with behavior modification. It should never be utilized alone, as it will not solve the problem.

See Also

You’re Not a Bad Pet Parent if Your Dog is a Loner

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By Victoria Schade

It doesn’t take much to win a dog’s unconditional love, and that’s one of the reasons we cherish them as companions. Most dogs are driven to try to make friends with everyone they meet, both canine and human. Their boundless affection and dog socialization skills are inspiring!  

But not all dogs like to make friends.

Some dogs might be closely bonded with their family but don’t want to connect with anyone else. They’re well-adjusted, happy dogs, but they seem to prefer being introverts, chilling on their own instead of joining the crowd.

Because this feels so un-dog-like, pet parents might wonder if they did something to cause their dog’s standoffishness. But loner dog behavior can be a product of nature or nurture, or a combination of both. If your dog is healthy and content and acts appropriately around other dogs and people, it’s actually no reason for concern.

The Difference Between Aloof and Fearful Responses

It’s important to first distinguish between a reserved dog and a dog that’s fearful, as the reactions can look similar at first. While both dogs might be reluctant to approach strangers, aloof, loner dogs will likely regard someone they don’t know from a distance without retreating, or might quickly sniff the person and then move on to avoid further contact. A fearful dog might cower, run away or try to hide when approached by an unknown person.

Similarly, loner dogs usually don’t initiate interactions with other dogs. They might allow a dog to do investigative sniffing and reciprocate, but they’ll rarely respond to play requests. These are the dogs at the park that prefer to investigate the perimeter rather than getting their paws dirty in the scrum. On the other hand, a fearful dog might retreat before another dog can get too close, or preemptively bark to prevent the dog from approaching.

What Causes Loner Dog Behavior?

There are many reasons why a dog might seem reserved. Some dogs are bred to work independently, such as herding and guarding dogs. Other breeds are notorious for bonding to their family but remaining wary of strangers. That said, breed traits aren’t a guarantee of dog behavior, which means that it’s possible to have a Labrador that’s not a goofy lovebug, or a Jindo that’s a social butterfly instead of a wallflower.  

Some loner dogs might have suffered from early trauma or a lack of exposure to novel stimulus during the pivotal dog socialization period, which might make them reluctant to get to know other dogs and new friends.

Keep in mind that canine personality can change as a dog matures. A happy-go-lucky puppy might mellow into a reserved adult. The drive to play with peers can also diminish as a dog gets older, so don’t be surprised if the star of the dog park becomes more selective about playmates as he gets older.

However, if your normally affectionate dog suddenly becomes reserved or withdrawn, he could be dealing with an undiagnosed health issue, so make an appointment with your veterinarian for an exam.

As long as your dog is appropriate with other dogs and people, meaning he’s pleasant and tolerant during interactions, it’s okay for him to be a less demonstrative friend.

Living With a Loner Dog

First, don’t blame yourself for “creating” an introverted dog! Even though most dogs seem hardwired to try to make the world love them, there’s nothing wrong with a dog that prefers the company of his familiars above others.

That said, some loner dogs might even be reserved with their own family, avoiding extended petting sessions and close-in snuggles. Although you might be disappointed that your dog isn’t more cuddly, try to respect what your dog is saying to you.

It’s important to let your dog set the pace for physical affection, particularly if you hope to encourage more contact over time. If you reach out to your dog to pet him and he backs away, understand that he’s telling you “no thanks.”

Test his threshold for touch by stroking him on the shoulders or chest for a few seconds, then stop and see if he asks for more by moving in closer to you or pawing at your hand. The secret to building a strong relationship with any dog, particularly a loner dog, is letting him set the pace for interactions.

Encourage your guests to toss dog treats to your dog from a distance rather than forcing contact, and let them know that he probably won’t appreciate a petting session. Make sure to give your dog an escape route when strangers are around, particularly when he’s on a dog leash and “trapped” near people.

You can gently discourage contact by telling people you’re working on specialized training—you don’t have to be specific—and move on before your dog is pushed out of his comfort zone. Remember, you are your dog’s advocate, and you help him cope when he’s in a challenging situation.

What About Dog Playing Sessions?

Even though you might think it’s fun for dogs to have dog friends, your furry best friend might not agree. If your dog isn’t motivated to play with peers, don’t force him to go to the dog park where he might encounter pushy dogs that don’t take no for an answer. As long as your dog is appropriate around other dogs, there’s nothing wrong with choosing the loner life over playing with the pack.

Love the Dog You’re With

Aloof dogs can feel more cat-like because they’re selective with their affections, which can be a disappointment for some pet parents. But dogs are gifted communicators that show their affection in a million different ways, like a panting smile or a companionable stroll. Even if it’s not exactly what you envision, your snuggle-free loner dog will always love you back in his own unique way!

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Victoria Schade, CPDT-KA


Victoria Schade has been a dog trainer and writer for over twenty years. During that time her dog duties have included working behind the…