Archive : August

Japanese Chin

Small, lively and lovable, this Oriental toy dog has a distinctive expression and a happy, bouncy gait. The entire look of the Japanese Chin, in fact, is nothing short of Oriental aristocracy.

Physical Characteristics

The inquisitive and sharp expression of the Japanese Chin gives it a clear Oriental appearance. The inner corners of its eyes have a little bit of white that lends it an expression of amazement. This aristocratic and lively dog has a small and square-proportioned body. It moves with a light, sprightly, and stylish gait.

The dog’s single coat, meanwhile, is straight, silky, abundant, and tends to stand away from its body; its color variations include black and white, red and white, or black and white with tan points.

Personality and Temperament

As a very dedicated companion, the Japanese Chin is fond of a warm lap. It is always willing to please, very sensitive, and obendient to its owner. This dog is amicable to everyone, whether dogs, pets, or strangers. Often known to be cat-like, some Chins may climb. The Japanese Chin loves to play a boisterous game and is gentle enough to become a child’s companion.


The Chin cannot live in very hot and humid weather, and is not suited for outdoor living. Its long coat requires combing about twice a week. A fun game, a romp, or a short walk can fulfill the exercise needs of the small but very energetic Japanese Chin. Be aware that some Japanese Chins have a tendency to wheeze.


The Japanese Chin, with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, is prone to minor ailments like patellar luxation, cataract, heart murmur, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), and entropion. Achondroplasia, portacaval shunt, and epilepsy are sometimes seen in this breed. The Japanese Chin is also susceptible to corneal abrasions and cannot tolerate anesthesia or heat. Knee and eye tests are recommended for this breed.

History and Background

The Japanese Chin is closely related to the Pekingese, both of which were popular among the Chinese aristocracy and given as presents for visiting nobility on occasion. The name of the Japanese Chin may be misleading, as it is widely believed the Chin actually originated in China.

There are many tales that relate the manner in which the Chin was introduced to Japan. For instance, Zen Buddhist instructors may have brought the breed to Japan after 520 A.D., or a Korean prince in 732 A.D. may have carried them to Japan; others say a Chinese ruler gifted two dogs to a Japanese emperor many thousand of years ago. No matter what the true story is, however, the Japanese Imperial family was very fond of the breed and kept the dogs as lapdogs or for the simple purpose of ornamentation. Some very small Chins were even said to be kept in hanging cages, generally used for birds.

As Portuguese sailors were the first to trade with Japan in the 1500s, they may have been instrumental in bringing the dogs to Europe. According to official records, however, the first Chin arrived in 1853, when Commodore Perry presented Queen Victoria with a pair of Chins from his journey to Japan. In following years, traders and merchants brought more Chins to sell them in America and Europe.

The American Kennel Club offically recognized the breed in the late 19th century as the Japanese Spaniel. The earliest imports were bigger than the present day Chins, and were probably crossed with English Toy Spaniels in order to create a smaller breed. The imports of the dogs ended with World War I, but by then the breed had already been accepted.

Although it is modestly popular in the United States, it is in Japan where the Chin has the most fans.

Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the three Schnauzer breeds (the others being the Standard Schnauzer and the Miniature Schnauzer). These big Schnauzers stand 23.5-28.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 85 pounds—that’s a 65-pound difference from Miniature Schnauzers. 

The breed was developed in Germany from breeding Standard Schnauzers with Great Danes, according to the Giant Schnauzer Club of America, to work as farm and home guardians. Today, these brave and loyal dogs have mostly traded farm life to work as police and military dogs.  

Caring for a Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzers are intelligent dogs that are eager to please and easily trained. But they are also high-energy dogs that require daily exercise as well as mental stimulation through training sessions and playtime. While they’ve been bred to guard and therefore might be a little suspicious around new people, they are sweet and gentle with their family. Pet parents must socialize their Giant Schnauzer puppy as early as possible to teach them that new people, animals, and experiences aren’t scary.

Along with training, socialization, and regular stimulation, Giant Schnauzers have a wiry double coat that makes regular visits to the groomer and daily brushing a must.  

Giant Schnauzer Health Issues

The Giant Schnauzer lifespan is typically 12-15 years, and they are a generally healthy breed. However, they are prone to certain health conditions, and your Giant Schnauzer dog should be seen by a veterinarian at least every 12 months.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a developmental disease common in many large-breed dogs, including the Giant Schnauzer. As puppies grow, three bones in the pelvis must fuse to form the hip joint around the top of the femur (thigh bone). If those bones don’t fuse properly, it results in a hip joint that is too shallow or is loose. This causes pain and, eventually, arthritis.

X-rays can be used to detect hip dysplasia, and the condition is most commonly managed with medication and joint supplements to reduce pain and slow the progression of arthritis. Surgery may be recommended in severe cases.

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

OCD in dogs is a developmental disease seen in young, large-breed dogs that affects cartilage and bone development. When bones are growing, they briefly start as cartilage, then change into bone near the growth plates, at the ends of the bones. When a dog has OCD, the cartilage doesn’t change to bone and, instead, separates from the bone. The result is pain and limping.

In Giant Schnauzers, this is most seen in the elbows and shoulders. Typically, you will see signs of limping or pain in Giant Schnauzer puppies 3-9 months old.

This condition is linked to diet, so feeding your Giant Schnauzer puppy a large-breed puppy food that’s not too high in protein and has an appropriate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is important to prevent OCD. Treatment can involve surgery to remove the abnormal cartilage. Medication to manage their post-surgery discomfort may be prescribed.


Hypothyroidism in dogs is the result of an autoimmune disease that destroys the hormone-producing cells in the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is important for metabolism and skin health; signs of hypothyroidism include obesity, low energy, a dull coat, and an increase in skin infections. Dogs with hypothyroidism typically will not show signs until after a substantial amount of the thyroid gland is destroyed.

This condition is treated with lifelong daily medication. With treatment, dogs with hypothyroidism can go on to live a normal, healthy life.

What To Feed a Giant Schnauzer

It’s important to feed your Giant Schnauzer a high-quality, large-breed dog food. Go-to dog food brands include Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, or Purina Pro Plan. Grain-inclusive diets are always recommended to prevent heart disease.

How To Feed a Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzers should be fed a measured amount of food twice daily, ideally at the same times every day. Giant Schnauzers are curious and intelligent dogs that like a challenge, so they enjoy slow feeder bowls and puzzle feeders for their meals.

To help prevent OCD and hip dysplasia, Giant Schnauzer puppies should be on large-breed puppy food until they are at least 1 year old. Puppies should also be fed more often than full-size Schnauzers (three or four times per day) on a consistent feeding schedule.

How Much Should You Feed a Giant Schnauzer?

Your Schnauzer’s dog food bag is the best place to find information on how much to feed them. That said, it’s important that Giant Schnauzers aren’t overfed—this can lead to obesity—so speak with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet.

Keep in mind: Giant Schnauzers are, as their name implies, giant. So they need a lot more food than smaller dog breeds do. Your dog food budget can add up quickly when you bring home a Giant Schnauzer puppy—up to $100 a month or more.

Nutritional Tips for Giant Schnauzers

As a large dog, the Giant Schnauzer is more likely to develop arthritis as they age, especially if they have OCD or hip dysplasia. However, using a high-quality joint supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin has been proven to slow the development and progression of arthritis. Commonly recommended brands are Cosequin, Dasuquin, and VetriScience Joint Support. 

Behavior and Training Tips for Giant Schnauzers

Giant Schnauzer Personality and Temperament

The Giant Schnauzer is a very intelligent and high-energy dog. They are affectionate and playful, but they’re also vigilant and can be wary of strangers initially. Like all dogs, Giant Schnauzers must be indoor dogs because they enjoy being with their people—but they also need a fenced yard to play and exercise daily with their favorite human.

Giant Schnauzer Behavior

As long as Giant Schnauzers get sufficient exercise, socialization, and play, they are generally well-behaved dogs. That said, they are always on alert and will bark to let their family know if anything seems suspicious to them—even if it’s just a neighbor walking down the sidewalk.

Giant Schnauzer Training

Giant Schnauzers are easily trained because they are eager to please and attentive to their family. Like all dogs, they respond well to positive reinforcement methods. Training and socialization need to begin when your Schnauzer is a puppy so they can overcome their wary, territorial tendencies. Full-grown Schnauzers excel at agility, herding, coursing, and obedience.

Fun Activities for Giant Schnauzers



Long walks

Scent tracking



Giant Schnauzer Grooming Guide

The Giant Schnauzer has a wiry double coat with characteristic heavy eyebrows and a beard. All this hair requires regular weekly brushing as well as regular professional grooming.

Skin Care 

Beyond regular bathing and grooming to maintain the coat, Giant Schnauzers do not have specific skin considerations. Any redness, sores, scabbing, or hair loss should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Coat Care

Weekly brushing is required to help prevent the Giant Schnauzer’s coat from matting. Every few months, your dog will need to be professionally groomed, where the coat will be stripped out. Shaving or clipping the coat can damage the texture, leading to more matting—and the need for more frequent grooming. 

Eye Care 

Giant Schnauzers grow heavy eyebrows that a groomer must trim regularly so the brows don’t interfere with eyes or vision. Any redness or cloudiness of the eyes, squinting, holding the eyes closed, or yellow or green discharge from the eyes should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Ear Care

Giant Schnauzers can develop ear infections. Their ears should be checked weekly for discharge, redness, or odors; any of these changes should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Cleaning your dog’s ears every week or two with a dog-specific ear cleanser can help keep their canals healthy.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Anyone considering bringing home a Giant Schnauzer, whether from a breeder or Giant Schnauzer rescue, will need two things: a house with a yard, and the ability to give their dog at least 40-60 minutes of exercise and play every day. Giant Schnauzers don’t do well in apartments or in homes where people aren’t home much.

Well-trained Giant Schnauzers get along well with kids and other dogs, but they generally do best in homes with older kids, as small kiddos can easily be knocked down by these big Schnauzers during play. Giant Schnauzers need a family who will dedicate themselves to their dog’s training and exercise; the pups also require weekly brushing at home and professional grooming every two to four months. 

Giant Schnauzer FAQs

What are the different Schnauzer sizes?

There are three sizes of Schnauzers: Giant, Standard, and Miniature.

Miniature Schnauzers weigh 11-20 pounds and stand 12-14 inches tall.Standard Schnauzers weigh 30-50 pounds and stand up to 20 inches tall.Giant Schnauzers weigh 55-85 pounds and stand 23.5-27.5 inches tall.

Both the Giant and Miniature Schnauzers are derived from Standard Schnauzers in Germany.

Is a Giant Schnauzer hypoallergenic?

No dog is completely hypoallergenic. And while the Miniature Schnauzer and Standard Schnauzer breeds can be a good fit for people with dog allergies, Giant Schnauzers are not, thanks to their large size and thick double coat.

How much does a Giant Schnauzer cost?

A Giant Schnauzer from a reputable, experienced breeder can cost $1,200-$3,500. Potential pet parents should also factor in monthly grooming and food costs.

Is a Giant Schnauzer a good family dog?

Giant Schnauzers can be difficult around strangers; require a lot of time, training, and grooming; and are very energetic. They are not recommended for first-time pet parents or families with small children, small dogs, or cats. But with proper training and socialization, Giant Schnauzers do well with other large dogs and children who are at least 10 years old. Well-trained, well-socialized Giant Schnauzers are very affectionate toward their family. 

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Emily A. Fassbaugh, DVM


Dr. Emily Fassbaugh grew up in San Diego. She attended the University of California, Davis for both her undergraduate studies in Animal…

Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is descended from an old, hardworking breed of German dogs historically used to pull carts, herd livestock, and hunt rats. Today, the friendly, whip-smart breed makes an excellent and adaptable family pet.

The first image of a Schnauzer dog dates back to the late 1400s, according to the American Miniature Schnauzer Club (AMSC). Their long beards gave the breed their name: Schnauze is the German word for muzzle. 

Miniature Schnauzers are small dogs that are generally between 12–14 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 10–20 pounds. They are the smallest of the three Schnauzer sizes, the other two being the Giant and Standard Schnauzer.

Caring for a Miniature Schnauzer

Mini Schnauzers are bright and charismatic dogs that can adapt to life in a city apartment as well as on a sprawling farm. They enjoy play as well as a good snooze, but Miniature Schnauzers still need at least an hour of exercise a day, as well as mental stimulation to keep their active minds occupied. They enjoy walks, puzzle games, agility, and learning new tricks.

They’re sturdy dogs that, despite their prolific facial hair, don’t shed much. In fact, Miniature Schnauzers can make good pets for some people with dog allergies, though no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.

Miniature Schnauzer Health Issues

Miniature Schnauzers are generally healthy dogs with a life expectancy of between 12–15 years. When purchasing Miniature Schnauzer puppies, the AMSC recommends asking about the health of the puppy’s parents, as this breed can be prone to certain health conditions. 


Cataracts are a condition that creates cloudiness on the lens of the eye, causing reduced vision and sometimes blindness. This is a hereditary condition in Miniature Schnauzers, but cataracts can also be caused by diabetes or trauma. Surgery can remove cataracts and restore vision.

High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)

A condition called hyperlipidemia can also affect Miniature Schnauzers, according to the breed club. This results in increased levels of fat in the blood and can be caused by endocrine disorders, genetics, obesity, medications, and other health problems, according to the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA). 

Veterinarians use blood tests to diagnose the condition, and treatment—which can include medicine, supplements, or a low-fat and high-fiber diet—depends on the underlying cause. 


Miniature Schnauzers are predisposed to pancreatitis. This is when the pancreas has an inflammatory reaction and causes lethargy, abdominal pain, vomiting, dehydration, and loss of appetite. Sometimes pancreatitis can cause collapse and shock, which can be fatal. 

Treatment depends on severity and primarily consists of supportive care and treating the symptoms. This can be anything from taking antinausea and pain medication at home to days (or even weeks) of IV fluid support while hospitalized.  

Liver Shunts

Liver shunts describe an abnormal blood flow that bypasses the liver. This is problematic because the liver filters and detoxifies blood, so dogs with liver shunts can experience symptoms such as:

Bloody diarrhea

Bloody vomit 

Weight loss

Poor appetite

Increased thirst and urination

Mental dullness 

Treatment and prognosis depend on whether the shunt is located within or outside the liver. 

Mycobacterium Avium Complex

Rarely, Miniature Schnauzers can inherit Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC), a deadly immune disease. The condition was believed to be passed down through a specific family of Miniature Schnauzers, according to the breed club. The disease can be detected through genetic testing, and symptoms include lethargy, lack of appetite, weight loss, weakness, and diarrhea. 

What To Feed a Miniature Schnauzer

Mini Schnauzers, though small, need a well-balanced diet to keep them fueled up for their active lifestyles. They should be fed dog food that’s approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials and formulated for small dogs.

How To Feed a Miniature Schnauzer

Adults should be fed twice a day, though Miniature Schnauzer puppies can be fed small, more frequent meals (three or four per day) on a regular schedule. 

How Much Should You Feed a Miniature Schnauzer?

The AMSC recommends feeding a quality kibble with a fat content between 10%–15%. Schnauzers, like all dogs, require a health balance of fiber, vitamins, fats, and proteins. Calorie needs depend on your dog’s age, size, and activity level.

But don’t let those cute little bearded faces persuade you to feed them more than they need: Overweight Schnauzers are more prone to serious health conditions. “Schnauzers love to eat,” the AMSC states, “and can easily con their owner into overfeeding them at mealtime or with multiple treats all day. Measure amounts, and do not self-feed or free feed.”

Nutritional Tips for Miniature Schnauzers

Your dog should get all the nutrients he needs in his AAFCO-approved dog food. Your veterinarian can give guidance on whether additional supplements are needed. 

Behavior and Training Tips for Miniature Schnauzers

Miniature Schnauzer Personality and Temperament 

Mini Schnauzers are smart and spunky dogs who love people. They’re energetic but eager to please their family by following cues and commands. Well-trained Miniature Schnauzers do well with kids and other family pets, making fun playmates.

Miniature Schnauzers can make good pets for some people with dog allergies, though no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.

Because Schnauzers of all sizes come from a working-dog heritage, many enjoy having a job to do. Try enrolling your Miniature Schnauzer in dog sport classes, such as agility or obedience competitions, so he can give his body (and brain!) a workout.

Miniature Schnauzer Behavior

Mini Schnauzers are alert dogs, which means they can be especially vocal and bark at neighbors, delivery people, and neighborhood squirrels. 

Speaking of barking at neighborhood animals, spunky Miniature Schnauzers can sometimes think they’re much bigger than they actually are. Their history as rat-catching dogs means some are more prone to chasing anything that moves, which can easily get them into trouble. Mini Schnauzers should always be kept on a leash or within a fenced-in yard when they’re outside to prevent them from darting off. 

Miniature Schnauzer Training

Schnauzers love to please their people and are amenable to many types of training. Once your Miniature Schnauzer puppy masters the basics of “sit” and “stay,” try teaching him more involved tricks or how to run an agility course. As long as you use positive reinforcement and keep sessions fun, your Schnauzer dog will love the challenge. 

Fun Activities for Miniature Schnauzer


Obedience competitions

Lure chasing

Barn hunt

Miniature Schnauzer Grooming Guide

To maintain a Miniature Schnauzer’s well-coiffed look, the breed’s wiry, medium-length coat requires a lot of grooming, both by their pet parents and a professional.

Skin Care

Miniature Schnauzers don’t require any specific skin care, though owners should keep an eye out for dry skin, abrasions, or other abnormalities. Talk to your veterinarian if you notice anything concerning about your Schnauzer’s skin.

Coat Care

Schnauzers have a double coat—a wiry top layer on top of a softer undercoat. They require regular trims to keep their hair healthy and their mustache tidy. Miniature Schnauzers should see a professional groomer at least once every eight weeks. 

Brushing your Schnauzer at least once a week also helps reduce tangles and mats. The Schnauzer’s signature beard may need more upkeep than the rest of his body, as it may become discolored from eating or playing.

Eye Care

Pet parents need to pay special attention to the hair around their Miniature Schnauzer’s eyes, as it can block the dog’s vision. Keeping their hair trimmed will help. 

Ear Care

Miniature Schnauzers aren’t prone to ear infections. However, pet parents need to clean their pup’s ears with a dog-specific ear cleaner every time their dog is in water, such as after a bath or a swim. Otherwise, moisture can become trapped in their canals and cause an infection. 

Considerations for Pet Parents

Mini Schnauzers crave the attention and presence of their family, according to the AMSC, and shouldn’t be left alone to entertain themselves all day. Prospective Schnauzer pet parents need to have enough time to spend with their new friend.

“They need to live as a part of their family, going where they go, doing what they do,” according to the AMSC. 

As long as you have time to devote to them, Schnauzers are affable and adaptable, making them good pets for many types of families. As long as they are given enough exercise and attention, they make a wonderful and charming addition to any household. 

Mini Schnauzers crave the attention and presence of their family and shouldn’t be left alone to entertain themselves all day.

Miniature Schnauzer FAQs

What are the different Schnauzer sizes?

At 12–14 inches tall, Miniature Schnauzers are the smallest of the three Schnauzer dogs. Standard Schnauzers are larger, at 17–20 inches tall, while Giant Schnauzers are the biggest and stand 24–28 inches tall.

How long do Miniature Schnauzers live?

The typical Miniature Schnauzer lifespan is 12–15 years.

Do Miniature Schnauzers bark a lot?

Miniature Schnauzers are alert and intelligent dogs that can serve as good watch dogs. They can be known to be vocal, though good training can help minimize unwanted barking.

Are Miniature Schnauzers good pets?

Miniature Schnauzers make good pets for many types of households. They are happiest when they are with their people—no matter where that may be. 

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Elise Schmelzer

Elise Schmelzer is a journalist based in Denver, Colorado, where she lives with her two cats, Slurpy and Rosie. She writes on a variety…

Pleural Effusion in Dogs

What Is Pleural Effusion in Dogs

Pleural effusion—fluid accumulation around the lungs—is a rare condition in dogs that is considered a medical emergency, especially if it becomes severe enough to cause trouble breathing.  

Pleural effusion is an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, which is abnormal. The pleural space is a body cavity that extends between the lungs and the chest wall on both sides of the chest, and from the mediastinum in the upper chest to the diaphragm. This cavity is lined with pleura—a thin membrane that consists of mesothelial cells, connective tissue, blood vessels, and lymphatics.

Pleural effusion occurs when either too much fluid is being produced by the body or dumped into the pleural space, or when too little fluid is reabsorbed by the pleura itself, leading to fluid accumulation. The pleura normally produces a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant to keep the chest wall from sticking to the lungs during breathing.

Respiratory distress is ALWAYS a medical emergency in dogs. If your dog is having trouble breathing, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms of Pleural Effusion in Dogs

Clinical signs of pleural effusion in dogs can range from unnoticeable to severe. Sometimes, when effusion is minimal, your dog will show no symptoms at home. As fluid continues to accumulate, however, you may notice some of the following signs:

Increased respiratory rate: A normal respiratory rate in a dog at rest (or sleeping) should be less than 30 breaths per minute (one inspiration and one expiration = one full breath). When this progressively increases above 30 breaths per minute or is paired with other signs of respiratory distress, it is considered a medical emergency.

Difficulty breathing: This includes panting, an outstretched neck, increased effort on inspiration, an abdominal component to respirations, and/or gasping.

Coughing: Due to pressure placed by fluid accumulation on the lungs and airways, coughing is a frequent side effect. If your dog is coughing frequently, violently, or if the cough is paired with any increased respiratory rate or trouble breathing, contact a vet immediately.

Restlessness: Often dogs with moderate to severe pleural effusion will pace or have trouble getting comfortable due to fluid accumulation. They may lay in a certain position that allows the neck to be outstretched and the chest to expand. Usually, they will have trouble sleeping.

Exercise intolerance: If your dog is used to daily 2-mile walks but is suddenly sitting after walking a block to catch his breath, or starts coughing during his walks, this can be an indicator of underlying lung, heart, or airway issues.

Cyanotic gums: This blue to purple discoloration of the gums occurs secondary to decreased oxygenation in the body and is considered a medical emergency, unless your dog is a breed that normally has pigmentation to their gums.

Lethargy: General tiredness is a vague clinical sign, but is often linked to pleural effusion.

Decreased appetite: This is a general clinical sign of pleural effusion, and can be noted in early or late stages.

Vomiting: This is a vague clinical sign of pleural effusion, and can be noted in early or late stages.

Weight loss: Fat and muscle loss can be noticed in chronic cases of pleural effusion.

Causes of Pleural Effusion in Dogs

Pleural effusion has many causes in dogs. Medical conditions that cause changes in pressures in the body, protein content in the body, and a leaky lymphatic system can lead to fluid collection in the pleural space. Fluid buildup within this space causes problems, as it impedes the lungs from filling with air due to pressure; this in turn leads to trouble breathing.

Pleural effusion differs from pulmonary edema—the term for fluid within the lungs, not around the lungs. Pulmonary edema can also lead to trouble breathing but for different reasons, and is often caused by congestive heart failure, pulmonary thromboembolism, choking, drowning, or electric shock. Treatment for pleural effusion and pulmonary edema differ greatly, which is why it is important to distinguish between the two conditions.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Pleural Effusion in Dogs

Your veterinarian will obtain a thorough history of your dog’s clinical signs, previous medical conditions, current medications, when the symptoms started, and how they have progressed. Your veterinarian will then perform a complete physical examination and may suggest diagnostic testing based on what they discover. They may suspect pleural effusion based solely on examination alone.

Bloodwork—including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, heartworm status, and electrolyte panel—is often evaluated to investigate for systemic disease. Chest radiographs are typically obtained as well, which illuminates fluid within the chest cavity and can range from scant (minimal changes to the lungs on x-rays) to severe (complete blocking of the heart silhouette on X-rays).

Treatment of Pleural Effusion in Dogs

Treatment of pleural effusion in dogs depends on the cause of the fluid accumulation. Thoracentesis is the mainstay of therapy for most dogs with effusion, and is considered both a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure. This technique provides immediate relief by removing the fluid from the pleural space, thus allowing the lungs to expand more effectively. Usually, breathing improves instantly once the procedure is started.

Supplemental oxygen is often considered and given, but it is not going to help the lungs expand—which is why thoracocentesis is so important in therapy.


Recovery and Management of Pleural Effusion in Dogs

Most causes of pleural effusion in dogs require lifelong management to lessen the risk of fluid accumulation around the lungs. 

Antibiotics are used to treat effusion caused by bacterial infection (Pyothorax). Diuretics are often used in cases of effusion secondary to congestive heart failure. Sometimes steroids and/or chemotherapy medications are necessary if the fluid buildup is secondary to cancer.

It is important to note that for all causes of pleural effusion, if the fluid causes any breathing issues (increased respiratory rate/effort), the fluid must be drained to give relief and to see improvement. Medications can be helpful to lessen fluid re-accumulation around the lungs, but they only help to reduce small amounts of fluid. 

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Katie Grzyb, DVM


Dr. Katie Grzyb received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University in 2009. She continued her clinical training at…

Why Is My Dog Vomiting?

There’s nothing that can get a pet parent moving quite like the sound of a dog vomiting or about to vomit. It’s a sound that all pet parents recognize and hate to hear.

So, what causes dog vomiting?

Dogs vomit for many reasons. Some of the reasons are nothing to worry about, but sometimes, vomiting is a sign of a serious health problem that needs immediate veterinary care. 

Learning to tell the difference can be tricky, but it’s important to know why dogs vomit, when you should be concerned, and what you can do to help.

This guide will break down the causes of dog vomiting, help you identify dog vomit types, and explain what you should do and when it’s time to call a vet.

Jump to a section here:

Is It Dog Vomiting or Regurgitation?What Does Your Dog’s Vomit Look Like?Yellow VomitWhite, Foamy VomitClear, Liquid VomitMucus-Like, Slimy VomitBloody Vomit (red or pink)Brown VomitGreen VomitWorms in VomitGrass in VomitWhy Is My Dog Throwing Up?Do You Need to Go to the Vet if Your Dog Is Vomiting?What Can You Give a Dog to Stop Vomiting at Home?Dog Vomiting Treatment at the Vet’s OfficeHow to Prevent Some Cases of Dog Vomiting

Is It Dog Vomiting or Regurgitation?

One important thing to keep in mind is that dog vomiting and regurgitation are not the same thing. Think of dog vomiting as more of an “active process” and regurgitation as more of a “passive practice.”

Why do you need to know the difference? Because the causes of and treatments for the two conditions are very different, and vomiting tends to be more concerning than regurgitation.

Dog Vomiting

Vomiting occurs when the contents from the stomach and upper intestines are forcefully ejected. Dog vomit can contain yellow bile or dog food that has been partially digested, and it usually smells sour.

Vomiting may occur directly after eating or anytime thereafter. It’s usually preceded by signs of nausea, such as drooling, licking the lips, and swallowing excessively.

Some dogs may eat grass before or after they vomit, possibly to induce vomiting or protect the esophagus, because grass can cover sharp objects like bone shards when the dog vomits. it is a good idea to prevent them from eating a large amount, or it may make matters worse. 

They might also eat their own vomit. This is an instinct that dogs have that is very unappealing to us as humans, but it’s not a big problem for dogs.

Because vomiting causes dehydration, your dog might try to gulp down a whole bowl of water after vomiting. This may trigger more vomiting, so try to limit their water consumption to small amounts at a time. 

Regurgitation in Dogs

Regurgitation, on the other hand, is a mild ejection of undigested food from the dog’s esophagus, meaning that it never made it to the stomach. A major difference is that regurgitation doesn’t involve abdominal heaving.

It tends to happen shortly after eating—maybe your dog ate too much or ate too fast. Or your dog could be overly excited or stressed out.

What Does Your Dog’s Vomit Look Like?

Once you’re pretty sure that your dog is vomiting and not regurgitating, you can identify the type of vomit by the appearance of it. What the vomit looks like can help determine the causes of vomiting in dogs.

Yellow Vomit

Yellow vomit is very common when a dog has an empty stomach, and the yellow color that you see is due to bile secretions. This occurs most commonly in the middle of the night or early morning hours.

It can be caused by acid buildup, reflux, or any other systemic condition that causes nausea on an empty stomach.

White, Foamy Vomit

Vomit that is white and looks foamy can be caused by a buildup of stomach acid. The foamy appearance may be caused by the vomit coming into contact with the air or being sloshed around in the stomach before the vomiting occurs.

Clear, Liquid Vomit

If your dog is vomiting a clear liquid, it can either be caused by stomach secretions or when there is water pooling in the stomach that comes up by itself when vomited.

Often, this happens when a dog drinks while feeling nauseous and can’t even keep the water down. 

Mucus-Like, Slimy Vomit

Slimy vomit that looks like mucus occurs when a dog is drooling and it pools in the stomach in response to some major irritation. The dog relieves their nausea when they vomit up the mucus. 

Bloody Vomit (Red or Pink)

Blood in a dog’s vomit should always be taken seriously.

Blood itself causes nausea, so it is often vomited up if it pools in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. If the color does not progress to red, and the vomiting is not prolonged or profuse, the pink tinge is not always a sign of an urgent situation.

However, if there are blood clots, fresh blood, or a coffee-ground appearance to the vomit, these things could indicate bleeding into the stomach or upper small intestine.

Bleeding can be a result of an ulcer, a tumor, lack of clotting, or eating rat poison. All of these conditions need treatment as soon as possible in a veterinary hospital. 

Brown Vomit

Brown vomit could just be regurgitated food from the esophagus that never made it to the stomach to be digested. Also, it can indicate that a dog ate too quickly and didn’t chew the food, or swallowed a lot of air by gulping it down.

But although brown vomit may look like it’s just regurgitated kibbles, sometimes, there can be more to it. It’s best to inspect the vomit to try to determine the nature of the contents.

Traces of blood can appear brown at times if they are not profusely bloody. Brown vomit can also be an indicator of coprophagia (eating poop). 

Green Vomit

Green vomit can be caused by eating grass. It can also be due to a contraction of the gall bladder before vomiting (usually on an empty stomach), resulting in bile in the stomach. 

Worms in Vomit 

Worms and other infectious organisms can cause vomiting in dogs. If there are live worms or a large infestation, such as with roundworms, a dog may vomit them up. (More commonly, they will shed eggs that can be found in the feces, and that is the only way to diagnose them.)

Grass in Vomit

Grass is a common ingredient in dog vomit.

Dogs often eat grass when they have an upset stomach, which can sometimes induce vomiting. If they are eating grass on a regular basis, however, it is a possibility that they can be ingesting more pesticides and parasites. 

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Why Is My Dog Throwing Up?

There is no catchall answer for why a dog is vomiting.

Different ages, breeds, and behaviors can make dogs more prone to vomiting.

There can be external causes or internal causes, and there are many factors, including the duration, color, severity, etc., that can Influence how to respond to the vomiting.

Here is a list of possible causes of vomiting in dogs, whether it’s acute (one-time, sudden instance) or chronic (happens often over time):

Abrupt diet change

Addison’s disease


Brain tumor



Diabetes mellitus

Drinking contaminated water

Eating grass (which can be caused by something else)

Eating poop (coprophagia)

Eating too fast

Exercising after eating

Food allergies or intolerance

Gastritis or an upset stomach from eating garbage or spoiled food

Gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestinal tract)

Gastrointestinal ulcers

Head trauma, drug side effects

Heat stroke

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis

Infections (bacterial, viral, or fungal)

Inflammatory bowel disease

Ingestion of toxic plants or other toxins

Intestinal obstruction from a foreign body

Intestinal parasites

Kidney disease

Liver disease



Middle ear problem

Motion sickness from riding in the car



Reaction to a medication

Acute Dog Vomiting 

Acute vomiting is something that comes on all of the sudden and has not been going on for a long time. 

Here are some reasons why a dog may suffer from acute vomiting:

Eating Something Bad

Dietary indiscretion is something that is more common in younger dogs. From getting into the trash to eating a poisonous outdoor plant, you will usually know very quickly that your dog is sick.

If they eat an object that bounces around in their stomach but doesn’t cause an obstruction, this could turn into a chronic condition if you don’t know it is in there.

If the food they get ahold of is super fatty, it can lead to another serious stomach issue called pancreatitis.

Contagious Diseases 

Dog vomiting can be caused by certain contagious diseases as well, which are also more common in younger dogs. 

One of the causes of a dog vomiting from a contagious disease is parvovirus, which can be very serious. It’s most common in puppies that are around other dogs in group settings.

Certain breeds may be more susceptible to parvovirus, including Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and sled dogs.

Intestinal Parasites

Parasites can also cause vomiting in a dog.

Often, the dog is carrying the parasite and we don’t know it. Then, all of the sudden, they may start showing symptoms such as vomiting.

Sometimes, the actual worm is vomited up, and more often, we don’t see the worm but the eggs that can be detected in the stool sample. 

Contaminated Water

Drinking out of puddles and community drinking bowls can cause some bacterial imbalances that may cause stomach upset in dogs.

Drinking out of lakes with cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) can be deadly. The dog may first develop vomiting, but severe cases can progress to neurologic signs and death.


Vomiting can be caused by bloat. Bloat or gastric dilatation and volvulus is an acute and life-threatening condition requiring patients to be hospitalized and aggressively treated.

If the stomach fills with air and then twists on itself, it can cut off the circulation and cause the dog to go into shock. 

It is most common in large-breed and deep-chested dogs, including German Shepherds, Great Danes, Standard Poodles, and Labrador and Golden Retrievers.

Eating or drinking excessively or quickly can be a factor in developing bloat.

Chronic Dog Vomiting

A chronic condition is one that goes on for a long time, and can be constant or every so often.

Chronic dog vomiting can be frustrating if you don’t know the underlying cause. Some dogs are prone to vomiting on a regular basis. Chronic vomiting in young dogs is often due to parasites or a food sensitivity. It can also be caused by certain diseases or health issues.

Bloodwork, X-rays, ultrasounds, or biopsies are often necessary to diagnose the problem.

Here are some of the common causes of chronic vomiting in dogs.


Megaesophagus, which is a generalized enlargement of the esophagus, can be caused by a number of conditions that can affect dogs of all ages.

Some dogs can be born with the condition because that is just how their esophagus is formed. Other dogs acquire it over their lifetime due to conditions such as Addison’s disease, myasthenia gravis, or hypothyroidism.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Chronic vomiting also can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). As the name implies, one may associate IBD with lower GI symptoms, but in fact, sometimes vomiting is the main symptom. 


We mentioned pancreatitis as a common acute cause of vomiting in dogs. However, some dogs suffer from chronic pancreatitis, which makes them prone to vomiting on an ongoing basis.

These dogs need to be fed a very low-fat diet without exception.

Schnauzers, Shetland Sheepdogs,  Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, and Bichon Frisés are genetically prone to chronic pancreatitis, which can also lead to diabetes.

Do You Need to Go to the Vet if Your Dog Is Vomiting?

The most important thing to determine is when it’s necessary to bring your dog to the vet, and when it’s okay to try a home remedy or just wait for the vomiting to pass.  

If the vomiting has been going on for less than 12 hours, and your dog is perky and keeping down food and water, then it may be okay to wait and monitor the situation. 

One of the biggest dangers with dog vomiting is dehydration. When a dog becomes dehydrated, essential body functions start to break down.

It’s time to call and visit your vet if your dog:

Is a puppy (can become weak from dehydration or have hypoglycemia if they can’t keep calories down)

Is geriatric

Is projectile vomiting (potential sign of obstruction)

Tries to vomit or dry-heaving and nothing comes out (symptom of bloat, which can be life-threatening)

Vomits blood

Vomits pieces of a foreign object or an entire object

Is lethargic (sign that the whole body is affected)

Is urinating less (sign of dehydration)

Has a tender or enlarged abdomen (seen with more serious causes of vomiting)

Refuses food

Cannot hold down small amounts of water

Is showing signs of dehydration (the skin doesn’t snap back into place after being gently pulled; dry gums)

Has diarrhea with the vomiting (can quickly lead to dehydration)

Has pre-existing medical problems

Ate people food (to determine whether it’s cause for concern)

Vomits often (chronic vomiting)

Is losing weight from vomiting often (chronic vomiting)

Is declining in their appearance and overall demeanor (including weight loss, muscle mass deterioration)

Emergency Situations

The things to watch for that would warrant an urgent visit to the vet or emergency clinic include:

Vomiting accompanied by diarrhea (especially if it turns bloody)

This indicates a situation that can quickly lead to severe dehydration that could result in a need for hospitalization.

Your dog becoming lethargic after vomiting, or vomiting with shaking

This could be a result of severe abdominal pain or cramping from electrolyte imbalances. You do not want to wait too long without veterinary attention.

Your dog eating a foreign object, a known toxin, or something you suspect may be toxic (projectile vomiting could signal eating a foreign object)

If you are unlucky enough to not stop it from going down the hatch, you can inform the vet or poison hotline right away what it was and find out what actions need to be taken.

What Can You Give a Dog to Stop Vomiting at Home?

There are some home remedies that you can try if your dog is having mild vomiting and not any of the serious symptoms mentioned earlier. 

Pepto Bismol is not a preferred treatment for dogs. The concern about Pepto Bismol is that it contains salicylic acid, which is an ingredient in aspirin. We need to use this with caution, especially in dogs taking anti-inflammatories or steroids, as it could cause GI bleeding.

Pepcid AC (famotidine) and Prilosec (omeprazole) are safer options to use to help reduce acid production and acid reflux, and these often settle their stomach. 

Dog Vomiting Treatment at the Vet’s Office

In most cases of vomiting, treatment via injection is the most effective route. It is the most reliable way to guarantee that the medicine is getting into the dog’s system and to prevent further vomiting. Often, a dog will vomit up a pill, and it can’t help them if they can’t keep it down. 

Medications to Stop Nausea and Vomiting

Cerenia (maropitant citrate) is the most commonly used antiemetic (medication that stops vomiting) for dogs in recent years. It acts on a trigger zone in the brain to stop nausea, and also acts on receptors in the stomach.

Vets will often start your dog with an injection of Cerenia and then follow up with pills every 24 hours for a couple of days to make sure the vomiting has been resolved.

Reglan (metoclopramide) is less widely used but is still very helpful for motility disorders in dogs as well as megaesophagus.

Zofran (ondansetron) is also an antiemetic that’s used in a hospital setting. 

In addition to these measures, the veterinarian may also recommend feeding your dog a bland or easily digestible diet.

How to Prevent Some Cases of Dog Vomiting

Many causes of dog vomiting cannot be prevented, but some can be if you follow these rules:

Don’t change your dog’s diet suddenly. Always use a gradual approach. Sudden dietary changes are a common cause of intestinal upset in dogs.

Don’t give your dog toys that can be swallowed or chewed into pieces, thereby causing GI irritation or blockage.

Don’t give your dog bones. These, too, are routinely implicated in vomiting episodes.

Avoid table scraps. Some human foods are downright dangerous for dogs (e.g., grapes, raisins, chocolate, xylitol, onions, garlic, chives, macadamia nuts, and high-fat items), but individuals with sensitive stomachs may not even be able to eat “safe” human foods without vomiting.

Don’t let your dog scavenge for food on walks or by having access to garbage cans. “Garbage gut” is what veterinarians commonly call the gastroenteritis caused by consuming scavenged items. Scavenging also increases the risk of foreign-body ingestion and toxin exposure.

Watch overly inquisitive dogs carefully. You might even want to try to use a muzzle to keep them from eating anything they might find along your walks.

Featured Image:

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Stephanie Lantry, DVM


Dr. Lantry is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian and worked towards that…

Skin Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) in Dogs

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs

The epidermis, or skin, consists of several layers. The outer layer is made up of scale like cells called the squamous epithelium. This layer of tissue covers the surface of much of the body, and lines the cavities of the body. A squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that originates in the squamous epithelium. It may appear to be a white skin mass, or a raised bump on the skin. Often the raised mass will necrotize in the center and ulcerate, with occasional bleeding.

As carcinomas are characteristically malignant and particularly invasive, it is essential to have this form of skin cancer diagnosed and treated without delay. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas are typically fast growing tumors that get bigger with time and resist healing. If the ulcers are diagnosed before they have had an opportunity to become malignant, this condition may be treated effectively in some cases.

Squamous cell carcinomas are seen more in dogs that live at high altitudes and in dogs that spend a lot of time in the sun. Scottish terriers, Pekingese, boxers, poodles, Norwegian elkhounds, dalmatians, beagles, whippets, and white English bull terriers seem to get this kind of skin cancer more that other breeds of dogs. Large breed black dogs are more prone to squamous cell carcinomas on their toes than other types of dogs, and dogs that have light colored skin and hair are more prone to this type of skin cancer than other types of dogs. As with most forms of carcinoma, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is most commonly seen in older dogs.

Symptoms and Types


A crusty or bleeding sore on the skin that does not go away with antibiotics or creamsSores that do not heal for several monthsSores in areas where the hair is white or light colored

Growths or Tumors

White colored growth of skin; mass

Growths in areas where hair is white and skin is light colored

Sores or growths may be found anywhereUsually there is just one growth or soreCommon locations are the nose, toes, legs, scrotum or anus


Long term exposure to sunlight/UV rays


You will need to give your veterinarian a thorough history of your dog’s health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition, such as a recent flea infestation that would have left sores from vigorous scratching. Once this history has been detailed, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination on your dog, paying close attention to any growths on the skin or any sores that have not healed in several months. Your dog’s lymph nodes will be palpated to determine if they are swollen, an indication that the body is fighting an invasive disease or infection, and a sample of lymph fluid will be taken for laboratory analysis. The presence of cancerous cells in the lymph glands will be indicative of metastasis through the body. Basic laboratory tests include a complete blood count and biochemical profile to confirm that your dog’s organs are functioning normally.

Because carcinomas are characteristically malignant and metastasize quickly, your veterinarian may also order x-ray images of your dog’s chest and abdomen so that a visual inspection can be made of the lungs and organs. Likewise, if your dog has a tumor on one of its legs, your veterinarian will want to take x-rays of the leg to see if the tumor has spread to the bone underneath it.

Standard biopsies will be taken of the growth or sore. This is the best way to determine exactly what kind of tumor your dog has.


The course of treatment will depend on how large your dog’s tumor is and how many tumors there are. In some cases, when sores are diagnosed before they become cancerous, they can be treated with topical medication.

If your dog only has one small tumor that has not spread to other organs, it may be removed by cryosurgery – freezing technique, or with a special type of light therapy called photodynamic therapy. It may also be surgically removed.

If your dog has a large tumor, it will be treated with surgery. During surgery, the tumor and a lot of the tissue surrounding it will be removed to ensure that all of the caner cells are removed. In some cases, so much tissue may be removed during surgery that skin will need to be taken from another area of the body and used to cover the area where the tumor was, a technique called skin grafting.

Some cases will result in a more severe removal of tissue. For example, tumors that are on the toes require amputation of the affected toe, and tumors on the nose will require a partial removal of the nose. If the tumor is found on the ear, part of the ear will be removed. These types of surgeries will result in a cosmetically different appearance for your dog, but otherwise, dogs recover well from these surgeries.

If the tumor cannot be completely removed, your veterinarian may recommend radiation or chemotherapy after surgery. Sometimes, when surgery is impractical, chemotherapy and radiation are used solely to treat tumors. In this case, the chemical treatment will keep the tumor from growing as quickly and help to make your cat more comfortable.


Living and Management

After surgery, or while your dog is being treated for the tumor, you should expect your dog to feel sore. Your veterinarian will give you pain medication for your dog to help minimize discomfort. Use pain medications with caution; one of the most preventable accidents with pets is overdose of medication. Follow all directions carefully. You will need to limit your dog’s activity while it heals, setting aside a quiet place for it to rest, away from household activity, children, and other pets. It might be practical to consider cage rest for your dog, to limit its physical activity. Your veterinarian will tell you when it is safe for your dog to take exercise again. Until then, only take your dog for short walks.

It is important to monitor your dog’s food and water intake while it is recovering. If your dog does not feel up to eating, you may need to use a feeding tube or a high protein liquid supplement so that it is getting all of the nutrition it needs to completely recover. Your veterinarian will show you how to use the feeding tube correctly, and will assist you in setting up a feeding schedule.

If you are treating your dog with a topical medication for its sores, it is important to follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions. You will probably need to wear gloves to apply the medication.

After your cat has recovered, your veterinarian will set up a schedule for regular progress checks. Recurrence is possible, so your doctor will check for any new tumors, and x-rays of the chest and abdomen will be taken to see if there are any new tumors in the lungs or internal organs.

A full recovery will be dependent on the size and location of the tumor.


Limit the amount of time your dog spends in the sun, especially between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, when the sun is at its highest and the rays most damaging. When you must take your dog outdoors during daylight hours, apply sunscreen to your dog’s ears, nose, and other areas that are either lightly furred or colored before going out in the sun. In some cases, tattoos can be applied to light colored skin as a permanent sunscreen. If you notice any new sores or masses, take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible so that it can be treated immediately.

Euthanizing Pets at Home: Cost and What to Expect

Now more than ever, pet parents think of their dogs and cats as members of the family. So it comes as no surprise that they are giving a lot of thought and attention to the handling of their pet’s end-of-life care.

In the past, the options to say goodbye to your family pet would have been to take them to your veterinarian’s office or to a shelter for euthanasia.

A new branch of veterinary medicine, pet hospice, provides concierge end-of-life services to meet this need, including palliative care and in-home euthanasia. Here’s what you need to know about these services and what they offer.

What Is Pet Hospice?

Dog and cat hospice services are modeled after hospice services for people. Animal hospice provides compassionate care and support for a pet with a chronic, life-threatening, or incurable illness.  

Hospice care veterinarians will often come to your home to examine your pet and walk you through pain management, nutrition, and hygiene protocols, among other issues, so you can help make your pet’s final time—be that days, weeks, or months—as comfortable and dignified as possible.

This concierge veterinary relationship can help provide peace of mind during the difficult end-of-life decision-making process. Your hospice care team can then help you make decisions regarding euthanasia and body care.

Hospice consultations range from $150-$250 per hour.

Euthanizing Pets at Home

In-home euthanasia has now become an option in most cities. This provides a way to say goodbye to your pet in a comfortable and private setting. Letting your pet go at home can allow your family and other pets to say their goodbyes in their own time and space.

In-home euthanasia services are usually also able to provide aftercare for your pet’s remains by transporting the body to be cremated and returning ashes to you if you choose private cremation.  

How Much Does In-Home Pet Euthanasia Typically Cost?

In-home euthanasia costs can vary, depending on the services provided. Services that your veterinarian is likely to provide include:

Traveling to your location to provide services; an additional cost for emergency services is likely

A physical examination and discussion about your pet’s condition as well as your concerns or questions about the process

Sedation for your pet to ensure the process is peaceful and comfortable

The euthanasia procedure

Transportation of the remains for cremation

Cremation services and remembrances of your choice (such as paw prints or ashes)

Combined, you can expect to spend $400-$1,500 for their services, but the cost will vary depending on your location and the aftercare services you choose.

How Does the Veterinarian Prepare for Home Euthanasia?

The veterinarian will arrive at your home at the agreed upon time and examine your pet. Based on your pet’s condition, they will choose the best medications and process to perform the euthanasia.

Once the veterinarian determines the best plan, they will talk you through it and give you the time that you need to ask any questions.

Together, you will choose the best location to perform the procedure.

What Drugs Are Used for In-Home Pet Euthanasia? How Do They Work?

Euthanasia is typically a two-step process that involves two injections to make it painless and stress-free for your pet.

The first injection is a sedative that can be administered into a muscle or intravenously, depending on the medicine. Once injected, your pet will become relaxed and will gradually fall asleep. Be aware that they may not close their eyes.

Once your pet is resting comfortably, a second injection is given into a vein to stop their heart. The second injection typically takes anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to work.

What Happens to Your Pet’s Body After an In-Home Euthanasia?

The vet will usually call you ahead of time to discuss the details of how your pet’s body will be handled post-euthanasia. It is best to think about this in advance.

Options in your area may vary but can include:

Home burial

Aquamation (an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cremation that uses alkaline hydrolysis)

Burial at a pet cemetery

Communal cremation (ashes are not returned to you)

Private cremation (ashes are returned to you)

You may elect to arrange these services on your own, but your veterinarian can arrange these for you as well.

Your veterinarian will provide peaceful and respectful transportation of your pet’s remains. It you would like to wrap your pet in a special blanket or include one of their favorite toys in their cremation, let your veterinarian know.

End-of-life decision-making can be extremely difficult. Veterinary hospice and in-home euthanasia services are good options for pet parents who want to experience these moments in the privacy of their own home.

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Related Video: When Is the Right Time to Euthanize a Pet?

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Liz Bales, VMD


Dr. Liz Bales is a graduate of Middlebury College and The University of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine. She focuses on unique…

What’s the Treatment for Cancer in Dogs? Is There a Cure?

Reviewed and updated for accuracy on August 27, 2019 by Dr. Hanie Elfenbein, DVM, PhD

Few diagnoses in the veterinary world bring more pain to a dog owner than one simple word: cancer.

The mind instantly goes to the perceived harshness of chemotherapy, surgery or radiation treatments; the likelihood of remission; and the possibility of losing the battle altogether.

And while conditions such as kidney and heart disease can be more difficult to treat—and have a poorer chance of survival than some types of cancer—this doesn’t stop the specter of cancer from casting a dark shadow over your pet and family.

Canine cancer is common enough that you are likely to hear those words from your veterinarian, but there are many options for treatment and care.

Can You Cure Cancer in Dogs?

In veterinary medicine, the goal of cancer treatment is entering remission, not curing it.

Why? The reason is that aiming for curative treatment would make too many dogs sick. Veterinarians take into account the dosage of treatments and the symptoms they cause. Lower doses can be used to achieve remission, and in some cases, to cure it.

As part of the protocol for treating canine cancer, veterinarians made the decision that dogs should not feel sick during treatment. You cannot explain to your dog that he has to go through bad days now in hopes of having good days later.

Dog Cancer Treatment Options

The course of your dog’s cancer treatment will be determined by your veterinarian or veterinary oncologist, and will depend on the type of cancer as well as other factors specific to your dog.

Your vet may recommend chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, or a combination of these dog cancer treatments.

If symptoms relating to chemotherapy or radiation therapy cannot be treated with supplementary medicine, your veterinarian or veterinary oncologist may recommend discontinuing treatment.

Veterinary medicine has also made some recent strides in other treatments, such as immunotherapy or antibody therapy.

Here are the three most common forms of treatment for cancer in dogs.


Performing surgery to physically remove as much of the cancer as possible is usually part of treatment whenever feasible.

Surgery may be the only type of therapy that is recommended, or else it will be performed before or after chemotherapy or radiation therapy.


While chemotherapy is a blanket term for using drugs to combat disease, it can be administered in several ways.

According to Dr. Joanne Intile, DVM, MS, DACVIM, chemotherapy can be administered orally, intravenously (into a vein), topically, subcutaneously (under the skin), intramuscularly (into a muscle), intratumorally (directly into a tumor) or intracavitarily (into a body cavity).

The majority of dogs treated with chemotherapy don’t suffer much in the way of serious side effects. This is because veterinarians do not use the same high doses of medicine as is used for people with cancer.

Dogs may experience these side effects during chemotherapy:

Most dogs will not lose their fur, but some breeds (those with continuously growing haircoats like Poodles) might experience some hair thinning.

Your dog might also have a smaller appetite and experience temporary diarrhea or vomiting—typically mild and short-lived and will occur 24-72 hours after a chemotherapy session.

Bone marrow suppression is another worry with chemotherapy treatments because it can lead to anemia and/or increased risk of infection. But these types of side effects are typically treatable.

The Clinical Oncology Service at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania estimates that the chance of “severe side effects … is estimated to be less than 5% of all pets receiving chemotherapy. With proper management, most animals recover uneventfully within a few days.”

Your veterinarian will keep track of your dog’s progress through regular examinations, blood work and discussions with you regarding what you observe at home. They may make changes in the dosage or types of drugs that are used for treatment based on how your dog responds to them.

Radiation Therapy

Depending upon the type of cancer and how it is affecting your dog, your vet may recommend radiation therapy rather than chemotherapy.

“Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment—once we inject it, it goes all throughout the body, battling microscopic disease when it starts spreading to other locations. Radiation therapy is a localized therapy, like surgery,” says Dr. Rick Chetney Jr., a veterinary oncologist who specializes in radiation treatments to fight cancer. “It’s often used for tumors that we can’t surgically remove because they’re up against necessary structures such as the heart or brain.”

Whole- or half-body radiation can be used to treat cancers that are not contained in one location, such as lymphoma.

Animals are given varying levels of sedation for radiation treatments, mainly to keep them still. There’s no direct pain from the radiation treatment itself, although some discomfort, skin problems or fatigue may be associated with its effects.

How Many Radiation Treatments Do Dogs Need?

“A definitive radiation therapy protocol is given once daily—usually with between 16-20 daily treatments—so it takes about three or four weeks,” says Dr. Chetney.

Dr. Chetney explains, “An individual treatment takes about an hour and a half to two hours, and most of that time is spent waiting for the patient to become sleepy from the sedative, and then later to recover from the anesthesia. The treatment itself only takes about 5-10 minutes.”

Depending on your dog’s specific cancer and situation, radiation may be administered less frequently, such as every other day or every third day.

Talk to your veterinarian or veterinary oncologist about your options to make your dog’s therapy protocol practical for you to carry out.

How Much Do Dog Cancer Treatments Generally Cost?

When your dog is diagnosed with cancer, one of the first concerns you may have is the cost. It’s hard to determine a general cost for treatment, because there are many different options and dosages depending on your dog and the type of cancer.

Consulting with your vet or oncologist will certainly help get you a ballpark figure, but they may be hesitant to give you a specific figure since it’s impossible to predict just how your dog will respond to treatment. 

They will lay out a treatment plan and proposed rate, but many factors that affect the eventual cost.

“There are some cancers that are very affordable and inexpensive to treat, and others that really start to add up. Some cancers can be a couple hundred dollars a month, and others can start to add up into the thousands before you’re done. Everything is completely customized to that pet, what we know and what the wishes of the family are,” explains veterinary oncologist Dr. M.J. Hamilton, DVM, DACVIM (O).

If you already have pet insurance, many types cover cancer treatment (most likely partially), but rules concerning preexisting conditions will generally prevent you from getting coverage once your dog has been diagnosed.

List of Specific Costs for Dog Cancer Treatments

According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, an initial visit to confirm a cancer diagnosis can be upwards of $200.

That doesn’t include any diagnostic tests that may be necessary for diagnosis, including X-rays, blood work and ultrasound examinations. Major surgery to remove a cancerous tumor that’s deep inside the body or that will require reconstruction, can start at $1,500.

Chemotherapy treatments might range from $200-$5,000, depending upon the type and severity of the cancer. Radiation therapy can range from $2,000-$6,000 or higher.

You will also need to factor in additional medications that might be needed—such as pain relievers or antibiotics—which could cost another $30-$50 per month for an indefinite period.



Specialist visit to confirm cancer diagnosis


Chemotherapy treatments


Radiation therapy


Pain relievers, antibiotics, etc.

$60-$50 per month







Diet for Dogs With Cancer

According to Dr. Patrick Mahaney of Los Angeles, “It’s crucial that all veterinarians and pet owners be attuned to whole-body health, especially when a pet is diagnosed with cancer and is going through surgery, radiation or chemotherapy,” says Dr. Mahaney. “What’s not totally addressed in the veterinary oncology community is nutrition.”

In terms of a cancer diet for dogs, keeping your dog on a diet that is easily digestible and contains the right balance of nutrients can help them feel better when undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. This is especially important as many of the milder side effects of treatment relate to the digestive system.

Providing Treatment and Palliative Care for Dogs With Cancer

While a diagnosis of cancer in your dog is by no means a certain death sentence, it’s sure to be a stressful time for you and your dog.

Your veterinarian and veterinary oncologist will work with you to give you options for treatment and help walk you through any difficulties that come with it.

Don’t just assume that you can’t afford certain treatments. There are palliative options that are inexpensive and can give you and your dog more good days together.

Palliative care will help your dog feel like herself for as long as possible by minimizing pain and sometimes slowing the growth of the cancer.

Maintain communication with your veterinarians, as they are your best resource for helping you maintain a good quality of life for your dog.

By: David F. Kramer

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Caffeine and Pets: Safety Tips and Considerations

By Helen Anne Travis

Coffee. Soda. Tea. When it comes to caffeine, many of us humans can’t go a day without our beverage of choice. But what effects, if any, does caffeine have on our pets?

It turns out our pets react in much the same way we do. Caffeine makes them restless. They get jittery and their hearts start to race. But because our pets weigh so much less than we do, it only takes a relatively small amount of caffeine to cause a big problem, potentially leading to expensive hospitalization or even death.

Here’s everything you need to know about caffeine toxicity in dogs and cats, what to do if you suspect your pet has consumed caffeine, and how to keep your furry companions safe.   

Is Caffeine Safe for Pets?

“Cats and dogs should not ingest any caffeine,” says Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro, adjunct associate clinical professor of emergency-critical care at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York.

If pets do ingest caffeine, it can take just 30 minutes to an hour to reach peak concentrations in their bloodstream and cause signs of clinical toxicity, she says.

Symptoms will depend on the size of the animal and the amount of caffeine consumed, adds Dr. Cathy Meeks, a board-certified internal medicine specialist and a group medical director at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, Florida.

“Coca-Cola has less caffeine than caffeine tablets,” she says. “And a Chihuahua can tolerate a different amount than a German Shepherd.”

Call your veterinarian immediately if you believe your pet has consumed caffeine. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline or ASPCA Animal Poison Control, Mazzaferro says.

Have ready an estimate of your pet’s weight and the amount of the caffeine-containing substance they may have gotten into so the experts can determine their potential risk.

Signs Your Pet Has Consumed Caffeine

Dogs and cats may exhibit clinical signs of caffeine toxicity within 30 to 60 minutes of consumption, Mazzaferro says. Symptoms to watch for include restlessness, agitation, hyperactivity, vomiting, and panting, she says. As the toxicity progresses, they may also exhibit tremors and seizures.

You may even be able to feel your pet’s heart racing beneath his or her fur, Meeks says. If your pet develops an extremely rapid or irregular heartbeat, it could lead to death, she says. Clinical signs can last for six to 12 hours or more, depending on the dose of caffeine ingested.

When comparing typical 8-ounce servings of popular caffeinated beverages, brewed coffee contains roughly 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine, compared to brewed black tea at 25 to 48 milligrams, soda (Cola) at 24 to 46 milligrams, and energy drink at 27 to 164 milligrams, according to the Mayo Clinic. Meanwhile, a single caffeine tablet usually contains 200mg of the stimulant. Ingestion of 14 milligrams of caffeine per pound of body weight can lead to signs of restlessness and agitation in dogs and cats, Mazzaferro says, while higher doses (23-27 milligrams per pound of body weight) can lead to cardiotoxicity. In other words, a single caffeine tablet contains enough of the medication to be very dangerous to an eight pound dog or cat.

Treating Caffeine Toxicity in Pets

Depending on how quickly you’re able to bring your pet in, your veterinarian may be able to induce vomiting to prevent further absorption of the caffeine, Meeks says. Both experts advise against trying to induce vomiting on your own. “It could lead to aspiration pneumonia if done incorrectly,” Meeks says. “It’s much safer to do in the clinical setting.”

If your veterinarian cannot induce vomiting in time, he or she may give your pet intravenous fluids to help flush the caffeine from the body, Mazzaferro says. Your veterinarian may also administer medications to control abnormal heart rhythms, slow a dangerously elevated heart rate, and control tremors and seizures.

It takes about 24 to 48 hours for the caffeine to pass through the animal’s system, Meeks says. As long as they get treatment in a timely manner, most pets will survive.

How to Keep Your Pets Safe

One of the reasons cats and dogs are so sensitive to caffeine is their indiscriminate eating habits, Mazzaferro says. They tend to consume a lot of whatever contains the toxin in a single setting. “Because dogs and cats rarely drink caffeinated beverages, they are usually exposed by ingestion of over-the-counter stimulant medications, such as Vivarin, Dexatrim diet pills, and Excedrin,” she says. (Vivarin and Dexatrim contain about 200 milligrams of caffeine per pill, while Excedrin contains 65 milligrams per pill, as well as other potentially dangerous drugs.) If your pet consumes a medication like Excedrin, tell your veterinarian so he or she can also monitor for signs of acetaminophen and aspirin toxicity, Mazzaferro says.

To keep your pets safe, keep all medications, as well as caffeine-containing products like coffee beans, powder, or grounds; tea bags; and chocolate products, far out of reach from pets. “A lot of people don’t realize an espresso bean could be toxic,” Meeks says. “But a dog is more likely to eat a chocolate-covered espresso bean than a caffeine pill. Make sure anything that could be tasty is not within their reach.” One little “treat” can be really high in caffeine and other substances that can make pets very sick.

Bone Overgrowth in Dogs

Hypertrophic Osteopathy in Dogs

Hypertrophic osteopathy refers to an abnormal enlargement of bone due to new bone formation. It commonly occurs in humans and dogs and has been reported in dogs, horse, cow, sheep, and various other more exotic species.

In dogs the disease is characterized by swelling, primarily affecting all four limbs. Subtle in onset, it is often mistaken for early arthritis. Neoplasia is a common cause of this disease, and therefore, more common in older dogs as neoplasia is more common in older dogs.

Symptoms and Types

LethargyReluctance to moveSwellings at distal portions of limbs, especially forelimbsPainful limbsEdema on limbsDecreased movement in joints due to swellingLameness


The exact cause of new bone formation is still unknown, but this condition has been seen in association with various diseases, including:

PneumoniaHeartworm diseaseHeart diseaseTumor of urinary bladderTumor of liver and prostate glandLung tumors metastasizing to the affected areas


Your veterinarian will take a detailed history, asking you about the duration and frequency of symptoms. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination. Routine laboratory tests including complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis will be conducted. The results are usually normal but may vary depending on the underlying disease, if present. X-rays of the bone may reveal new bone formation and help your veterinarian in localizing the disease. He or she may also decide to take bone sample for further evaluation, including investigating for the presence of tumors.


Diagnosis of the underlying cause and treating it are major goals for the resolution of the problem. However, as exact etiology is still unknown, finding the underlying cause and treating it is not always possible. Your veterinarian will prescribe painkillers to alleviate pain and drugs to reduce swelling at affected sites. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the tumor mass.

Living and Management

It is important to follow the guidelines and administer medication at the right dosage and time to maintain quality of life. But even after treatment of the primary cause, clinical symptoms may continue for one to two weeks. Bone(s), meanwhile, may take months to get back to its original shape, even with the correction of the underlying disorder and are not known to be fully reversible. Your dog may feel sore and may need therapy for pain management at home.

If a metastic tumor is the underlying cause of the hypertrophic osteopathy, prognosis is very poor.