Archive : February

Anaphylaxis in Dogs

What Is Anaphylaxis in Dogs?

The immune system serves an important role in protecting your dog from infections and other microscopic threats; however, it can often be overstimulated and result in hypersensitivities or allergies.

Hypersensitivities can be mild or severe and can be local or involve the entire body (systemic). Severe, systemic hypersensitivities are commonly referred to as anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock.

Though rare, if anaphylaxis occurs in a dog, it is a medical emergency. If you think your dog is experiencing anaphylaxis, contact your nearest emergency veterinary office.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis in Dogs

Anaphylaxis occurs because of the inappropriate release of certain infection-fighting compounds by white blood cells. The most common compound released is histamine. In smaller doses histamine causes hives and itching, but when released in large amounts it dilates blood vessels, increases heart rate, and causes low blood pressure.

In most species, anaphylaxis primarily affects the lungs and airways; however, in dogs the gastrointestinal tract often releases histamine directly into the liver, causing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea as well as liver enzyme elevations to be more commonly seen.

Severe vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy may occur suddenly and appear to come out of nowhere. If allowed to progress, this can lead to collapse, convulsions, and even death.

Other symptoms of anaphylaxis in dogs include facial swelling, itching, and hives, which may or may not progress to difficulty in breathing. Though these effects are more likely to occur in less severe cases of hypersensitivity, they still warrant prompt evaluation by a veterinarian.

Causes of Anaphylaxis in Dogs

In theory, any foreign molecule can trigger an anaphylactic reaction, though a dog must have been exposed to this trigger at least twice before shock can occur.

Most canine reactions are to insect bites or stings (commonly bees, wasps, and venomous ants), medications, antigens in vaccines, or chemicals. Anaphylaxis related to food proteins is very rare, though it has been documented.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Anaphylaxis in Dogs

Diagnosis of anaphylactic shock is usually based on clinical signs, physical exam, and history of exposure to an allergen (if the allergy is known).

Blood tests may help confirm the diagnosis by demonstrating dehydration or liver enzyme elevations, though these tests can also be normal. Inflammation of the liver and gallbladder may be seen on an abdominal ultrasound. 

Treatment of Anaphylaxis in Dogs

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, and immediate attention is essential to survival. Your vet will use a combination of medications to reduce the immune response and counteract the symptoms. Epinephrine and corticosteroids such as dexamethasone are commonly used for this purpose.

If a dog has progressed to anaphylactic shock, intravenous fluids may be needed to maintain blood pressure. Severe airway swelling may require a breathing tube, sedation, and even ventilation to ensure your pet can breathe. 

Recovery and Management of Anaphylaxis in Dogs

Prognosis will depend on the severity of the reaction and how quickly care is managed. Mild cases may respond to treatment without hospitalization, while aggressively treated animals may still succumb to a particularly severe reaction.

Histamine released in the system works rapidly and if the effects of this compound aren’t counteracted by medications and support very quickly, the decreased blood pressure can give the body further signals to shut down, and these are harder to combat. In the hospital, severely affected patients are usually observed and treated for at least 2-3 days to make sure that no delayed effects are noted.

Anaphylactic and allergic reactions worsen with repeat exposures, so allergy testing may be worthwhile in recovered dogs who experienced severe symptoms. Avoidance of the allergen, if possible, is best. For allergens that are difficult to avoid, discuss an emergency plan with your veterinarian. This may include medications such as steroids or an Epi-pen that can be kept at home for immediate use.


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Jamie Lovejoy, DVM


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

Perianal Adenoma in Dogs

What Is Perianal Adenoma in Dogs?

Perianal adenomas are a common type of tumor that occur in the perianal region (area around the anus). They often occur in the sebaceous glands (sweat glands) located in this region. These tumors may also be found on the prepuce (foreskin), base of the tail, and groin. Perianal adenomas are also referred to as hepatoid or circumanal adenomas. 

Perianal adenomas are relatively uncommon and non-cancerous. They pose the greatest risk to male dogs that are not neutered. Surgical removal of a male dog’s testicles (castration) is recommended because castration removes the influence of testosterone which typically stops the progression of this tumor. 

While most perianal bumps are benign, meaning the bumps are non-cancerous, there are some perianal bumps that are cancerous. Cancerous bumps are called perianal adenocarcinomas. If a mass is found in this region, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so a formal diagnosis can be determined.  

Causes of Perianal Adenoma in Dogs

The exact cause of perianal adenomas is unknown, but testosterone is thought to encourage excessive production of these cells. Male dogs that are not neutered are at the highest risk of developing perianal tumors, but these tumors can also be seen in spayed females. Female dogs that have not been spayed produce estrogen, which is thought to inhibit the growth of these tumors. 

Perianal adenomas have also been associated with hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s Disease), testosterone-producing adrenal tumors, and testicular tumors. 

These tumors are most commonly seen in breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel, Fox Terrier, and Siberian Husky. 

Symptoms of Perianal Adenoma in Dogs

Perianal adenomas are typically pink, hairless, slow-growing tumors located around the anus, prepuce, or under the tail. They are usually less than one inch in diameter and can become ulcerated (when skin breaks) or infected. Perianal adenomas can look similar to cancerous tumors when viewed by the naked eye, however perianal adenomas are benign tumors.   

Some types of perianal adenomas become locally invasive. A surgical biopsy is recommended to confirm the type of tumor and determine the best treatment course.

How Vets Diagnose Perianal Adenoma in Dogs

A biopsy and histopathology are typically the diagnostics of choice for this type of tumor. A biopsy is a common procedure to collect a sample of tissue from the affected area. Histopathology examines the collected sample to determine the type of tumor and to make a formal diagnosis.

Treatment of Perianal Adenoma in Dogs

For small, non-ulcerated perianal adenomas (tumors where the skin is not broken), the recommended treatment is castration or surgical removal of the male dog’s testicles to prevent progression.

Recovery and Management of Perianal Adenoma in Dogs

In most cases the tumors will regress or stop growing after castration. For ulcerated or bleeding tumors, surgical removal is recommended. If male dogs are not castrated, more perianal adenomas can develop.

Perianal Adenoma in Dogs FAQs

How long do dogs live with perianal adenoma?

Tumor removal and castration offer a good prognosis. Tumors recur in less than 10% of cases. Perianal adenomas are noncancerous tumors, so survival times are typically not associated with the presence or absence of these tumors.

How does perianal adenoma look versus a malignant tumor?

Perianal adenocarcinomas are cancerous tumors that arise from the same cell type as perianal adenomas and occur in the same region of the body. Biopsy and histopathology are recommended to differentiate between these two tumor types. Perianal adenocarcinomas typically grow more quickly than perianal adenomas.


Kessler M. Perianal Tumors [Paper presentation]. Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings Online, Cape Town, South Africa. 2014;39. 

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Virginia LaMon, DVM


Dr. Virginia LaMon graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. She completed her clinical year at Auburn…

Pulmonic Stenosis In Dogs

What Is Pulmonary Stenosis in Dogs?

Pulmonic stenosis is a congenital heart defect in dogs. Stenosis means a narrowing, so pulmonic stenosis refers to narrowing of the valve between the right ventricle (a chamber of the heart) and the pulmonic artery (the major blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs).  The valve may be narrowed due to thickening of the leaflets and/or partially fused together.  This condition is congenital (present at birth) and likely has a genetic and hereditary component. 

Pulmonic stenosis results in increased pressures in the right side of the heart, which can lead to thickening of the heart muscle, heart failure, arrhythmias, and even sudden death.  Puppies with pulmonic stenosis often have other congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis and ventricular septal defect. 

Symptoms of Pulmonic Stenosis in Dogs

In some dogs with mild narrowing, there are no clinical signs, and they never experience symptoms of disease.

However, in dogs with more severe narrowing, the fast and turbulent movement of blood and thickening of the right ventricle result in:

Murmur (ranging from mild to severe)

Exercise intolerance

Fainting (syncope)/collapse


Right-sided congestive heart failure (CHF)

Ascites (fluid buildup)

Causes of Pulmonary Stenosis in Dogs

Pulmonary stenosis is congenital; dogs are born with the defect and there could be an inherited component in some breeds. The breeds most affected by the condition are:

English and French Bulldogs

Terriers (Jack Russell Terriers)

Labrador Retrievers

Miniature Schnauzers

American Cocker Spaniels





How Veterinarians Diagnose Pulmonary Stenosis in Dogs

Most cases of pulmonary stenosis in dogs are detected during a routine puppy examination, first with detection of a heart murmur, an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), or other signs of heart failure such as fluid buildup.

A heart murmur is heard by listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, and refers to turbulence in the blood flow, regardless of cause. Because there are other causes of blood turbulence, a heart murmur alone doesn’t necessarily indicate pulmonary stenosis. Once a murmur is heard, additional diagnostic tests may be needed, including:


Electrocardiography (ECG)


Treatment of Pulmonary Stenosis in Dogs

Cardiac catheterization using balloon valvuloplasty is typically the treatment of choice.

Balloon valvuloplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that opens the narrowed heart valve, is the treatment of choice for pulmonic stenosis in dogs. This procedure is only performed at specialized veterinary cardiology referral centers, and involves threading a catheter with a balloon into the heart and then dilating the balloon. The goal is to open the narrowed pulmonic valve and improve blood flow.

There is no cure for pulmonic stenosis, but balloon valvuloplasty can help manage and improve the condition.  Some dogs may also be treated with beta blockers (such as atenolol). 

Recovery and Management of Pulmonary Stenosis in Dogs

Prognosis is largely dependent on the severity of the obstructions. Dogs with mild or moderate stenosis may not need treatment and can have a normal lifespan. Dogs with moderate stenosis will likely need balloon dilation and may show signs of exercise intolerance and fainting. In severe cases, even after treatment, some dogs will need to be on medication for the rest of their life. Moderate exercise restriction is very important. Follow all instructions given by your veterinarian and veterinary cardiologist.

Pulmonary Stenosis in Dogs FAQS

Is it OK to breed a dog with a mild case of pulmonary stenosis?

Since there could be a hereditary component, breeding is generally not recommended.

What is the life expectancy of a dog diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis?

Prognosis is variable depending on the severity. In dogs that have developed right-sided congestive heart failure or an irregular heartbeat, such as atrial fibrillation, prognosis is guarded to poor. However, in mild or moderate stenosis, some dogs can live a normal life without treatment, while others may need treatment and/or beta blockers.

What is the average cost of balloon valvuloplasty?

In general, the price for this procedure can range from $4,000–$7,000.

Featured Image: carlos Cerdeno


Tou, S. Pulmonic Stenosis in Animals – Circulatory System. Merck Veterinary Manual.

‌Thomas, W.P. 1995. Therapy of congenital pulmonic stenosis. In J.D. Bonagura and R.W. Kirk (eds.) Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XII Small Animal Practice, p. 817-821. W.B. Saunders, Toronto.

Brooks, Wendy. Veterinary Partner, July 2018.

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Dr. Shawna Abrams


Why Is My Dog Scared of Everything?

Reviewed for accuracy on July 25, 2019, by Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM

If your dog is scared of literally EVERYTHING, then you understand that life with a fearful dog can be limiting.

Instead of greeting the world with a confident walk and a wagging tail, a fearful dog might shy away from anything new, or worse yet, react preemptively to avoid a new situation altogether.

It’s not easy for a pet parent to admit that their dog is scared of everything because trying to work through those fears can be overwhelming. 

Fearfulness does have a place in the wild; it increases an animal’s chance of survival by keeping them away from danger. But when your dog is acting strange and scared in everyday life, it’s stressful for both ends of the leash and can even have long-term health implications.

Let’s take a look at why certain dogs are scared of everything, how to recognize fearful behaviors, which situations trigger fear, and how you can help your dog deal with their fear.

What Makes a Dog Scared of Everything?

Dogs that seem scared of everything can be products of nature and nurture. A dog’s genetic makeup, early experiences, environment and daily life can all have an impact on their temperament.

Lack of Socialization 

A common reason for fear in dogs is a lack of positive exposure to new people, animals and environments during the critical fear period of the puppy socialization process.

This important developmental stage in a puppy’s life occurs between 8 and 16 weeks of age, when pups need to have a variety of pleasant interactions with the world around them.

Puppies that don’t have positive exposure to the world around them might be more likely to be wary of anything new or unusual. This can lead them to be scared of things we wouldn’t associate with fear, like people wearing large hats or having a stroller/skateboard/skater go past you.

Genetic Predispositions 

However, some nervous dogs might also have a genetic predisposition to fearfulness or shyness. Puppies born to anxious mothers are more likely to be fearful as well.  

Traumatic Experiences 

For some dogs, all it takes is a single traumatic experience to create lifelong fear responses. For example, a dog that’s caught off guard by firecrackers during a walk might then generalize that fear response to any loud noise—like a car door slamming—and might also develop a fear of walking anywhere near where it happened.


It’s important to note that some behaviors that look like fear might be related to pain. Dogs that seem “hand shy” and nervous about being touched might actually be dealing with an undiagnosed medical issue.

Your veterinarian can help you determine whether your dog is experiencing pain or suffering from fear-based issues.

Recognizing Fear in Dogs

The first step to helping a dog that’s scared of everything is understanding their body language.

Some fear displays are hard to miss—like a trembling, hunched-over dog that has their ears back and tail tucked. But learning to recognize subtler fear reactions will allow you to intervene before your dog’s fear escalates.

Some of the telltale signs of fear in dogs include:

Trembling or shiveringHunched body with head downEars backTail tuckedHair standing up on the neck and backGrowlingShowing teeth

A dog that’s afraid might also show these more subtle signs:

Freezing in placeMoving in slow-motionRepeatedly licking their lipsYawning frequentlyTrying to move away from the stressorPanting heavily or suddenly stops panting

Keep in mind that some behaviors that look like aggression, like leash reactivity and barking, can also be signs of an underlying fear of something.

Common Things That Dogs Are Scared Of and How You Can Help

Many dog fears are universal—it’s rare that a dog actually enjoys a trip to the vet—however, a dog that’s scared of everything might have a difficult time coping with common, everyday noises or encounters.

Loud Noises 

It’s almost impossible to avoid having a startle reflex when you hear an unexpected loud noise, but dogs that are scared of everything will react more dramatically to noises.

For example, a typical dog might jump at the sound of a dropped pan, but a fearful dog might run, hide and then refuse to come out.

How to help:

If your dog only reacts to certain types of noises, like sirens or fireworks or thunder, you can use behavioral modification to help your dog learn to tolerate the sound. Use a recording of the sound to gradually desensitize him to the noise by playing it at a low volume and pairing it with treats.

Increase the sound over a series of training sessions, watching your dog’s body language to make sure that he isn’t becoming uncomfortable with the noise. If your dog is trying to cope with ongoing scary sounds like construction noise, use a white noise machine to muffle the sounds.


Kids can be fast, loud and unpredictable, and because of that, they can be challenging for even the most even-tempered dogs.

But dogs with generalized fear reactions will find children even more distressing, particularly because a child doesn’t understand canine body language and will have a hard time recognizing when a fearful dog is trying to get away.

How to help:

If you don’t typically have children in your home, it’s easiest to manage your dog’s behavior by keeping him in a safe, quiet space when small guests visit.

If you discover that your new dog is fearful around your own children, make sure that he has an area where he can spend time away from them. Then you will need to find a positive-reinforcement dog trainer to help you assess the situation and create a training plan that keeps everyone safe.

Other Dogs 

Unfortunately, not every dog wants to be friends with his own kind, particularly timid dogs. If a dog hasn’t had the opportunity to meet dog friends and develop canine language skills, he might wind up feeling overwhelmed when faced with other pups.

How to help:

Helping fearful dogs learn to feel more confident around other dogs requires a slow approach and a good understanding of canine body language. You will need to slowly work through dog introductions in order to keep your dog feeling comfortable.

For dogs that are mildly uncomfortable around other dogs, you should find a mellow, dog-savvy dog and try walking them together, at the same pace but with distance between them. When both dogs seem relaxed, gradually begin to bring them closer together, making sure that they remain calm and happy as they get closer.

Keep early introductions short and end sessions before the nervous dog gets overwhelmed. And remember that making friends with one dog doesn’t mean the behavior will generalize to all dogs.


Some dogs are uncomfortable around people that look different from their family (for example, large men with beards or people wearing hats and bulky jackets), but dogs that are afraid of anyone outside their family can make going into public or having guests over traumatic.

How to help:

Using desensitization and counter-conditioning can help a stranger-shy dog start to overcome his fears.

To begin, figure out your dog’s “buffer zone”—the area at which he can remain calm when faced with a stranger. Then have the stranger come into view at the edge of that buffer zone and feed your dog a bunch of extra-special treats that he doesn’t normally get.

Continue giving treats while the person is in view for a few seconds, then have the stranger disappear.

Gradually bridge the gap between your dog and the person over a series of training sessions. Always watch your dog’s body language to make sure they remain calm and confident throughout the training process.

Going Outside 

Sometimes the world outside your front door is a scary place. Dogs that move to a different environment, like from the suburbs to the city, might find the noise and crowds in their new neighborhood overwhelming.

Similarly, a traumatic experience outside, like having a fight with another dog, can be enough to create an overwhelming fear of going outside.

How to help:

Dogs that are afraid to leave their home can benefit from a training process called “shaping.” Shaping makes it easier for dogs to face their fears by breaking behaviors down into manageable steps and rewarding the dog for making progress toward the finished product.

Pet parents can begin the process by standing near the door with a handful of treats. When your dog makes any movement towards the door, mark the behavior with a clicker or verbal marker like, “good!” then toss a treat to your dog. Continue to build on and reward each step towards the door until your dog is able to cross the threshold.

Be Patient With Your Dog 

Keep in mind that a fearful dog should always set the pace for training. Trying to push a nervous dog beyond his comfort zone could derail the training process, so be patient and encourage your fearful pup as he learns to be a more confident dog.

Talk with your veterinarian about pairing training and desensitization efforts with natural, holistic calming supplements or pheromone collars. Sometimes, medication is very helpful to calm some dogs in certain situations if natural options have not worked. Also, working with a veterinary behaviorist may be the best option if all other routes have failed. 

By: Victoria Schade

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Related Video: Tips for Calming Dogs During Fireworks

Mothball Toxicity in Pets: What You Need to Know

by Jennifer Coates, DVM

The incidence of mothball poisoning in pets is quite low — 158 cases were reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) between 2002 and 2004. But that becomes irrelevant when it’s your pet who has become sick.

According to the APCC, most of these cases involve a pet eating a mothball, but problems can also arise when they are exposed to the fumes that mothballs produce or when their skin comes in contact with them. If you have mothballs in your home, you need to know what makes them toxic and what to do if your pet comes into contact with them.

Different Kinds of Mothballs, Different Toxic Reactions

First of all, mothballs are not all the same. They can contain two different active ingredients: naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene (p-dichlorobenzene). These two chemicals are also available as flakes, cakes, and crystals, in addition to mothballs. In whatever form, naphthalene is about twice as toxic as paradichlorobenzene, which means that a pet can eat approximately twice as much paradichlorobenzene before death occurs. Therefore, if you’re going to buy mothballs, look for ones made from paradichlorobenzene.

The symptoms of naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene toxicity are different too. After being eaten, naphthalene first affects the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting and poor appetite, but problems don’t stop there. Naphthalene also damages a pet’s red blood cells and can lead to anemia, brown colored mucous membranes, weakness, lethargy, and sometimes seizures. Cataracts and liver damage are possible as well. Naphthalene can also be absorbed through the skin and lungs, but the most severe problems develop after ingestion.

Pets who eat paradichlorobenzene may also vomit, but then tend to have symptoms associated with dysfunction of the nervous system, including disorientation, tremors, difficulty walking, drooling, depression, and seizures. Cataracts and liver damage may develop too. In rare cases, red blood cell damage and anemia are possible. Skin contact with paradichlorobenzene can result in a burning sensation and local irritation.

The fumes produced by both naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene can be very irritating to the nose, eyes and lungs. Pets who are around mothball fumes may develop red, runny eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and/or coughing.

Cats are more sensitive to mothballs than are dogs, and other species can become sick after exposure as well. For example, veterinarians have reported several instances of birds developing symptoms like lethargy, weakness, and difficulty breathing after inhaling fumes from mothballs. At least one bird died as a result.

What to Do if Your Pet is Poisoned by Mothballs

Clearly the best way to protect pets from naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene is to keep them away from mothballs (far away if we’re talking about a bird). But sometimes, despite our best efforts, animals do get exposed. What should a pet parent do then?

Eating one naphthalene mothball is enough to make cats and small dogs very sick so this is not a situation to be ignored. If you suspect that your pet has eaten a mothball (or been exposed by another route), call your veterinarian immediately. It may be possible to get your pet to vomit up the mothball if they have eaten it in the last couple of hours.

Depending on your pet’s condition and how far away you are from the clinic, your veterinarian may recommend that you induce vomiting at home or that you bring your pet in for the procedure. In either case, unless you and your vet are certain that your pet has no more naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene in its system, further treatment will be necessary. This may include gastric lavage (washing out the stomach), administration of activated charcoal, or fluid therapy and drugs to limit vomiting, seizures, and damage to the liver and gastrointestinal tract. If the results of blood work show that your pet has anemia, a blood transfusion and medications that protect red blood cells may also be needed.

What Kind of Mothball Did Your Pet Ingest?

Since treatment can vary depending on whether the mothballs were made with naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, if you are unsure about what type of chemical is in the mothball your pet may have eaten, a neat trick can help you and your veterinarian figure out how to proceed.

Add 3-4 tablespoons of table salt to a half cup of lukewarm water.Mix thoroughly and add additional salt if necessary until no more salt will dissolve.Add a representative mothball to the solution.Naphthalene mothballs will float and paradichlorobenzene mothballs will sink.


Moth Repellent Toxicosis. Camille DeClementi. Vet Med. January 2005;100(1):24-28.

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Poisons (Swallowed) in Cats

Poisons (Swallowed) in Dogs

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Jennifer Coates, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian, writer, editor, and consultant with years of experience in the fields of veterinary…

Healthy Foods Checklist: Quail for Dogs

In addition to turkey and chicken, pet food manufacturers are looking to alternative game birds for new recipes. Quail is popping up as an ingredient in several dog foods and provides ample benefits for our canine companions.

Quails are small ground-nesting game birds that are part of the pheasant family. Quail meat is a relatively lean, low-calorie protein option for dogs and acts as a natural source of essential vitamins. Quail is also high in phosphorous and iron, which helps support strong muscle development.

Adding quail or a quail-based food to your dog’s diet can offer variety and is a good way to change up the type of protein your dog is consuming on a regular basis. Quail is also a novel protein, making it a good solution for pets with food allergies or food sensitivities to proteins such as beef or chicken.

Quail meat and quail eggs can provide a wholesome option for pet parents who want to feed a raw-food diet to pets as well, but quail products may be difficult to find in supermarkets.

Make sure to consult a veterinarian before feeding your dog a raw food diet, or before picking a new commercial pet food.

Hemoabdomen in Dogs (Internal Abdominal Bleeding)

What Is Hemoabdomen in Dogs?

Hemoabdomen is internal bleeding in the abdomen. Internal bleeding is just what it sounds like—blood loss that happens inside the body.

Bleeding is always scary, but internal bleeding can be terrifying. So many questions need answers fast: How much blood is involved? Where is it coming from, and why? How can it be stopped? Will my dog survive?

The abdomen is the most common place for blood to collect inside the body—around the liver, spleen, stomach, intestines, and other abdominal organs. Blood can also collect in other areas, such as the chest cavity (thorax), in a condition called hemothorax.

Hemoabdomen is something that a vet will discover through a physical examination and diagnostic tests. Although you won’t see it directly, you may be able to notice visible signs of it.

Here’s what you need to know about the signs of hemoabdomen, what causes it, and how it’s treated.

Symptoms of Hemoabdomen in Dogs

Many of the symptoms associated with internal bleeding are similar to those seen with external bleeding. This is because no matter whether your dog’s blood stays inside their body or makes its way outside, it’s still not in the cardiovascular system where it needs to be. If your dog has a hemoabdomen, you might notice:

Rapid breathing

A faster heart rate than normal


Mental dullness

Mucous membranes (around the eyes, nose, and mouth) that are pale, blue, muddy, or a brighter pink or red than normal

Skin that is cool to the touch, which is often first noticeable around the ears, feet, and tail

A distended (enlarged) abdomen, although this isn’t always noticeable

Talk to a veterinarian immediately if your dog has any of these symptoms. Call an after-hours emergency clinic if needed. The veterinarian will probably want you to bring your dog in right away, since these signs are often associated with life-threatening health conditions.

This is true whether or not your dog has previously had any internal bleeding. A dog’s condition can very rapidly deteriorate if they are losing a lot of blood.

Causes of Hemoabdomen in Dogs

Many health conditions can cause a hemoabdomen. They can be put into four categories:


Traumatic injuries to the abdomen can lead to internal bleeding. Penetrating wounds (from something entering the body) such as impalements, gunshots, or bite wounds may be obvious when they happen, but some injuries don’t leave much external evidence. Blunt-force trauma like falls, blows, or being hit by a car can cause potentially life-threatening internal bleeding without other obvious injuries.

Abdominal Tumors

Tumors (both benign and malignant) affecting the spleen, liver, or other abdominal organs may disrupt blood vessels and cause internal bleeding. The most common non-traumatic cause of a hemoabdomen in dogs is an aggressive type of cancer, hemangiosarcoma, that often involves the spleen. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know for sure whether a dog has hemangiosarcoma or a different, more treatable type of tumor without surgery and sending a tissue sample to a pathologist to identify.

Post-Operative Bleeding

If your dog has recently had abdominal surgery, it’s possible that blood vessels that were closed off have opened back up and are bleeding. Your dog is losing dangerous amounts of blood if they are developing symptoms associated with a hemoabdomen.

Coagulation (Clotting) Disorders

Dogs may start bleeding if their blood coagulation (clotting) system isn’t working normally. Anti-coagulant rodenticide poisonings are a common cause of this. Immune disorders, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), liver disease, and a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)—which can develop secondary to infection, inflammation, or cancer­—may also be to blame. Coagulation disorders can lead to bleeding in multiple sites throughout the body and need to be treated immediately.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Hemoabdomen in Dogs

When a dog arrives at the veterinary clinic with signs of internal bleeding, the doctor will quickly assess the situation. Dogs that are in critical condition may require intravenous (IV) fluids, transfusions, oxygen therapy, and other treatments before the search for an underlying cause can begin.

During this time, the veterinarian will also ask you questions about your dog’s health history, the signs you’ve been seeing at home, how quickly they developed, if they’ve changed, and whether your dog could have been injured or poisoned.

Diagnostic testing can begin when a dog’s condition is stable. This may include:

A complete blood cell count to check the dog’s red blood cell and platelet levels (platelets help with blood clotting) and to look for signs of infection or inflammation

A blood chemistry panel to measure electrolyte and protein levels in the blood and to monitor organ function

A urinalysis to further check kidney function and to look for infections or blood loss

Blood clotting times to check for coagulation disorders

X-rays of the abdomen and chest to look for signs of bleeding and cancer

Ultrasound of the abdomen to confirm the presence of blood (or other fluids) and to look for tumors

Examining a sample of abdominal fluid

Treatment of Hemoabdomen in Dogs

Treatment for hemoabdomen will depend on the condition’s underlying cause.

Trauma: Some injuries that lead to abdominal bleeding will heal with medical management. This can include fluid therapy, transfusions, medications to enhance blood clotting, belly wraps, and other symptomatic and supportive care. However, more serious injuries often require surgery to stop the bleeding and repair or remove damaged tissues.

Abdominal tumors: Benign abdominal tumors can often be successfully removed with surgery, but hemangiosarcoma is a different story. Only about half of the dogs who are diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma live longer than six months, even with surgery and chemotherapy. While a veterinarian can’t tell you with certainty before surgery what type of tumor your dog might have, they can talk to you about your dog’s likely prognosis based on what they have found during their physical examination and diagnostic workup.

Post-operative bleeding: Mild cases of post-operative bleeding can sometimes be handled with belly wraps, fluid therapy, transfusions, medications to enhance blood clotting, and other types of symptomatic and supportive care. Surgery to close bleeding vessels is usually necessary when blood loss is more significant.

Coagulation disorders: Dogs that have eaten anti-coagulant rodenticides (warfarin, diphacinone, chlorophacinone, brodifacoum, difenacoum, and bromadiolone, for example) will usually recover if they are treated with prescription vitamin-K medications. Immune-mediated diseases can often be managed with immunosuppressive drugs, but it’s also important to deal with any potential underlying health problems, like infections. Supportive care, including transfusions, may also be necessary.

Recovery and Management of Hemoabdomen in Dogs

Dogs that are recovering from a hemoabdomen need to be watched closely. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding home management and the need for future check-ups. Call your vet immediately if you notice the signs of internal bleeding returning or getting worse rather than better.

Hemoabdomen in Dogs FAQs

Can masses cause internal bleeding in dogs?

Yes, both benign and malignant masses can cause internal bleeding in dogs. Diagnostic testing is necessary to determine what type is involved. Sometimes it’s best to proceed to surgery to remove the mass (or as much of the mass as possible) and then send a biopsy sample to the lab for identification.

Are any dogs more at risk for hemoabdomen?

Any dog can develop a hemoabdomen, but certain causes may be more common in some types of dogs. For example, hemangiosarcoma of the spleen is most commonly diagnosed in older, large-breed dogs like German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers.

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Jennifer Coates, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian, writer, editor, and consultant with years of experience in the fields of veterinary…

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s affinity for their human companions is legendary—even the small ones, hence the breed’s nickname, “the nanny dog.” The breed, known for its loyalty, is named after its U.K. origins and is often considered a descendant of 19th-century Bull Terriers (a cross between Old Bulldogs and British Terriers), according to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America (SBTCA).

This medium-size breed—called Staffies for short—can reach up to 16 inches tall and weigh 24–38 pounds. They’re often stocky and muscular (some might say buff!) and are described as playful and protective.

Caring for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terriers love their people and their comforts at home, but they’re also active, agile, and curious. Tug-of-war is a go-to game, and you can’t go wrong with a long, leash-led walk. Staffies have a short, glossy coat that loses dirt easily and dries quickly, so minimal grooming is required.

Like any breed, each Staffy dog has their own personality. The SBTCA describes them as a physically and mentally tenacious breed, but adds that many Staffies live peacefully with other animals. It comes down to proper socialization, training, and supervision.

Overall, they are an intelligent and loving breed—some are even lap dogs—and will dedicate themselves to you and your home.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health Issues

The average Staffordshire Bull Terrier lifespan is 12–14 years, and the breed is statistically a healthy dog. But it’s important for pet parents to know that Staffies are very averse to heat. Limit outdoor exercise in warm weather, and make sure they have plenty of shade and water.

And, like any breed, Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be susceptible to health conditions, including:

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia 

Elbow dysplasia refers to abnormalities in a dog’s elbow where the joint doesn’t develop properly. Hip dysplasia is a similar condition, where the hip joint doesn’t fit together properly and becomes loose. If left untreated, both can lead to arthritis. Ask your vet for a screening if you notice symptoms like lameness or limping, an abnormal gait, or a swollen joint. Treatment can include joint supplements, weight management, and surgery in severe cases.

Luxating Patella

Patellar luxation refers to the knee joint moving out of its proper position. This often manifests as a limp and bunny-hopping gait. Like with hip and elbow dysplasia, treatment usually involves supplements and weight management, but surgery can be required in severe cases. 

Juvenile Hereditary Cataracts (JHC)

JHC causes clouding in a Staffy’s eye lens. And while many dogs develop cataracts as they age, JHC causes cataracts in young dogs. Dogs with JHC can develop cataracts during their first year of life and become blind by the time they’re 2–3 years old. 

Corrective surgery is a treatment option, and the SBTCA recommends breeders genetically test for this ailment. 

L-2-Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria

L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (or L-2-HGA) is a genetic condition that affects a dog’s metabolism. It can lead to neurologic issues such as brain damage. Symptoms, according to the SBTCA, include: 

Epileptic seizures

Wobbly gait

Behavioral changes


Muscle stiffness as a result of exercise or excitement

There is currently no cure, but responsible Staffy breeders will screen their dogs for this condition.

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

DM is the slow-onset destruction of the spinal cord. According to Cornell University, DM in dogs acts similarly to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, in humans. A dog with degenerative myelopathy will start showing signs when they’re middle-aged and become weaker over time. Eventually, DM causes paralysis. Currently, there are no effective treatments for DM aside from palliative care, and diet and exercise.

What To Feed a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

One of the best ways to keep dogs healthy is to feed them the right amount of high-quality dog food. Pet parents should choose a food that’s approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for your dog’s current life stage.

Consult your vet on the best feeding schedule, especially for a Staffy puppy, and the best ways to balance meeting nutritional needs while avoiding overfeeding. 

How To Feed a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffy puppies should be fed three or four times a day on a consistent schedule. Adult Staffies can be fed twice a day. If you have concerns about feeding your Staffordshire Bull Terrier, contact your vet. 

How Much Should You Feed a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

The amount of food your Staffy needs varies by dog. Factors influencing their portions include your dog’s lifestyle, age, weight, and activity level. Dog food bags will often have a feeding guide that typically recommends a total amount of food that should be given to your dog over a 24-hour period, but always talk to your veterinarian for the best guidance. 

Nutritional Tips for Staffordshire Bull Terriers

When it comes to training, Staffies respond well to positive reinforcement (which often means treats!). That said, some dogs can be prone to gaining weight, so avoid giving your Staffy too many goodies. Consider using healthy treats, such as carrots, apples, or blueberries to keep your pup fit and healthy. You should be able to feel (but not see) your Staffy’s ribs without having to press too hard.

Behavior and Training Tips for Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Personality and Temperament

Staffies are playful and affectionate, so pet parents can expect a breed that craves their love and attention. They are known for their gentle nature toward children—so much, in fact, that they’ve earned the nickname “the nanny dog.” Puppy Staffies brought up with cats and other dogs generally do well with them, according to the SBTCA. If you already have a dog and are bringing an older Staffy into your home, introduce the dogs away from the house in a neutral area. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Behavior

In general, Staffies are not persistent barkers, though the SBTCA notes they might bark or “talk” while playing or to alert you of a visitor. Bouts of exercise and long walks are important to meet their high energy levels, but they’re also very content napping on your couch.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training

Staffies are also known for their smarts, and they respond best to a positive, creative training approach. The SBTCA warns that the breed can be stubborn and exuberant, so persistence and patience when training is also important. 

Fun Activities for Staffordshire Bull Terriers


Hiking/long walks


Scent work

Lure coursing

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Grooming Guide

Staffordshire Bull Terriers don’t need a ton of grooming. Their coats are smooth, short, and easy to clean if needed. 

Skin Care

While no special skin care is required for Staffies, it doesn’t hurt to bathe them after a particularly messy playdate outside. But if your Staffy rolls around in the grass, a thorough brushing might be all that’s needed.

Coat Care 

Though Staffies have a low-maintenance coat, they benefit from an occasional brushing and bath. But their coat does make Staffies susceptible to fleas and ticks, so ask your vet about flea and tick prevention, and give them a good brushing with a flea comb in the summer months. 

Eye Care

Staffordshire Bull Terriers typically don’t require special eye care, but pet parents should watch for signs of cataracts, especially if their dog hasn’t been tested for JHC. 

Ear Care

Staffordshire Bull Terriers don’t require special ear care. Your vet can help determine if—and how often—you should clean your dog’s ears. 

Considerations for Pet Parents

If you plan to bring home a Staffy puppy, know that you’re getting a breed that looks tough on the outside but is an affectionate, loving cuddler on the inside. Their low-maintenance grooming and nutritional needs make them ideal for most pet owners, but they’ll do best in a home with pet parents who are active, attentive, and patient.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

How long do Staffordshire Bull Terriers live?

The average Staffordshire Bull Terrier lifespan is 12-14 years.

What’s the difference between a Pit Bull and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

According to the SBTCA, there are a handful of dogs that come from the general classification of “bull breeds.” This includes the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the American Bulldog. The Pit Bull isn’t actually a breed on its own; many “bull breeds” are lumped together and called Pit Bulls. 

Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers a good pet?

Yes, Staffies can make wonderful additions to your home. They are eager to please and are most happy spending time with their pet parents, whether it’s a rainy day inside on the couch or a sunny day walking through the park. But they do take lots of patience and early socialization!

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Sarah Kloepple

Sarah Kloepple is a professional writer and editor living in Baltimore. She is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.  

How Do Pest Control Products Get Rid of Fleas?

What are Insect Growth Regulators and Insect Development Inhibitors?

By Jennifer Kvamme, DVM

In recent years, chemicals have been developed to help in the battle against flea infestations. These relatively new pest control products are called insect growth regulators (IGRs) and insect development inhibitors (IDIs). But what exactly are they and how can they help your pets? 

IGRs and IDIs are used in topical spot-on products, oral medications, injectable drugs, and in-home foggers and sprays. They do not kill adult fleas like other flea control products. They work in different ways to break the flea life cycle, by inhibiting growth and preventing fleas from developing into adults that will continue to lay eggs. In the face of a major flea infestation, an adulticide chemical will also be required to kill the adult fleas, bringing the situation under control and making the pet (and you) more comfortable.

More importantly, these pest control products are safe to use around pets and people because they work to mimic insect hormones and inhibit certain development processes in insects, which does not affect mammals.

Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)

Chemicals called insect growth regulators serve the purpose of mimicking a juvenile growth hormone in the insect’s body. During normal development, the levels of juvenile hormone decrease, allowing the flea larva to molt into the pupal stage. Because IGRs cause insects to be continuously exposed to a version of growth hormone, they never experience the decrease of hormone levels, and they are not able to properly molt. Affected fleas do not immediately die, but they do not reach a reproduction stage, and they die in the immature phase. When flea eggs and larvae are exposed to this kind of chemical, they will die off completely without ever reaching the adult stage. 

Common IGRs found in flea preventive products and household sprays include fenoxycarb, pyriproxyfen, and methoprene. Certain varieties of these chemicals last longer in the environment than others. For example, methoprene is easily broken down in the presence of sunlight, while pyriproxyfen will last much longer in ultraviolet light. Be sure to read all labels carefully to make sure you are getting a pest control product that will work best for your needs, whether you are using it indoors or out.

Insect Development Inhibitors (IDIs)

Chitin is a substance required for insects to develop the hard outer layer that protects them. Without chitin, flea eggs and larvae are unable to form this outer layer, leaving them vulnerable and easy to kill. Insect development inhibitors work to prevent the production of chitin in the insect and halt normal growth.

Generally, IDIs are given to pets via an oral medication, which then deposits in the animal’s body fat. This allows the drug to slowly release and stay in the bloodstream for several weeks. When an adult female flea bites the treated animal, it ingests the IDI in the animal’s blood, which then affects the eggs it eventually lays, preventing further development.

Common IDIs seen on the market today include diflubenzuron and lufenuron. Both of these products are safe to use in mammals.

Because these products do not kill adult fleas, it may still be necessary to provide your pet with other medications that will work in tandem with the IGRs and IDIs to reduce the adult flea populations, such as a spot-on, or shampoo. However, you should check with your veterinarian to be sure the two medications will work together safely before applying them to your pet.  

Image: David Mzareulyan / via Shutterstock

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Jennifer Kvamme, DVM


Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino was developed in the Republic of Argentina by a breeder named Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez. He focused on crossbreeding large, hardworking dogs to create an excellent partner for big-game hunting.

As a giant breed, the Dogo Argentino’s weight ranges from 80-100 pounds and his height reaches up to 27 inches at the shoulder. This breed is muscular and was developed to be tenacious, intelligent, and loyal. Because the Dogo Argentino was bred to be a hunting partner, it is extremely loyal, protective, and energetic.

Caring for a Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino has a short-haired, smooth, white coat with black mucous membranes around its eyes and lips. Occasional bathing is recommended, but intensive brushing and coat maintenance is not necessary; they do shed regularly.  

This breed is thick and muscular from the neck through to the limbs and has a bulky, boxy head with heavy jowls—making them moderate droolers. Because these dogs are athletically built and energetic, they do require moderate to high levels of exercise daily. They can become destructive when they are bored, so regular exercise is also important for maintaining their mental well-being as well as their physical health.

They can be stubborn when it comes to training, so a Dogo Argentino requires experienced pet parents and professional trainers to ensure an appropriate upbringing.

Dogo Argentino Health Issues

The Dogo Argentino is generally very healthy, but he can suffer from some specific disorders due to his size.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common orthopedic disorder affecting large dog breeds. It results from a congenital issue causing loosening in the hip joint, which can develop severe arthritis. This is a debilitating disease that causes progressive pain and difficulty moving as the dog ages.

Periodontal Disease

Dental disease is a common ailment among all domesticated cats and dogs. The Dogo Argentino isn’t susceptible to more dental diseases than other giant breeds, but pet parents still need to maintain their dental hygiene at home to prevent tartar buildup and gingivitis. Once tartar starts to accumulate on teeth, it can be very difficult to remove. Brushing a Dogo Argentino’s teeth at least three times per week is recommended. Annual dental cleanings with a veterinarian are also strongly advised once these dogs reach 3 or 4 years of age.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV)

GDV, also called bloat, is an emergency condition that occurs in large, deep-chested dogs. It consists of the stomach bloating and flipping over itself in a way that eliminates blood supply to the organ. If not addressed immediately, GDV is fatal.

To prevent this from happening, a procedure called a gastropexy is recommended in young large-breed dogs at the time of their spaying or neutering surgeries. The gastropexy secures the stomach to the interior body wall, preventing it from flipping in cases of bloat.


Deafness is a genetic disease that occurs in Dogo Argentinos and is characterized by an individual of this breed having complete lack of hearing from birth. It is generally related to their white coloration.

White pigmentation not only affects the coats of dogs, but also the development of other regions of a dog’s skin. In some animals, the genetics of their white coloration causes the cells that are necessary for transmission of sound within the ears not to develop, leading to lifelong deafness.

Laryngeal Paralysis

Laryngeal paralysis is typically caused by a disorder with the nerve that opens and closes the larynx, or vocal folds, of large-breed dogs. This disorder causes the folds to open only partially or to not open at all. A poorly functioning larynx can cause increased breathing sounds or actual difficulty with breathing. This disorder can be managed surgically in moderate to severe cases.


Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) occurs when a dog’s thyroid gland doesn’t produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormone. Low levels of thyroid hormone can cause weight gain, disorders with a dog’s coat, increased susceptibility to infections, and low energy. Dogo Argentinos and other large or giant dogs are more likely than smaller breeds to develop hypothyroidism.

What to Feed a Dogo Argentino

Any food that is offered to a domesticated pet should be approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO regulates the contents of animal feeds to ensure that proper nutrients are included in foods—to produce a complete and well-balanced diet.

Dogo Argentinos should be fed food that is specifically developed for large or giant breeds. Because dental disease is a common ailment in all animals, including our canine counterparts, prescription dental diets are a great option for Dogo Argentinos.

How to Feed a Dogo Argentino

Most adult large-breed dogs can be fed successfully one to three times daily. As puppies, they should be fed more often—up to for to six times daily—to avoid the life-threatening effects of low blood sugar. All puppies are unable to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels without regular feedings because the organs that produce hormones for processing their food are still developing.

Dogo Argentinos can be particularly eager eaters, so slow-feeding bowls come in handy to prevent rapid food ingestion. Dogs that eat too quickly often inhale large amounts of air, which can lead to bloating and life-threatening episodes of GDV.

How Much Should You Feed a Dogo Argentino?

When considering that an adult Dogo Argentino’s average weight ranges from 80-100 pounds, their resting energy requirement (RER) would range from 1,000-1,200 calories per day. With exercise, a Dogo Argentino should be fed slightly more than their RER. Obese animals should be fed slightly less than their RER. Always work with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of food to feed your dog.

Nutritional Tips for the Dogo Argentino

Fish oil is a strongly recommended addition to a Dogo Argentino’s diet. This product contains omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids that are used to help support the health of the skin and haircoat, heart, kidneys, and joints.

A joint supplement containing methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), glucosamine, and chondroitin is also strongly recommended because Dogo Argentinos are prone to developing arthritis and hip dysplasia. This supplement should be started at an early age. Your veterinarian will be able to direct you to specific brands of supplements and will let you know at what ages and in what amounts these dietary additions can be administered safely.

Behavior and Training Tips for Dogo Argentinos

Dogo Argentino Personality and Temperament

Dogo Argentinos are very energetic and affectionate animals. They enjoy lounging with the family as much as they enjoy intense exercise. They are also proud and protective of their family. Dogo Argentinos may be standoffish with children, but once properly introduced can be playful with them due to their high need for activity. Always supervise children and dogs when they are together.

These dogs tend to be quiet and won’t bark excessively, but they do have a strong prey drive and need to always be leashed or kept inside of fenced-in areas to prevent them from running away.

Dogo Argentino Behavior

Because of their protective instincts, Dogo Argentinos make excellent watchdogs for their household. They can be standoffish toward strangers, but with proper introductions they can be friendly and laid-back. The most trouble they want to get into involves chasing small animals (remember, they were bred to be hunters) or wandering away from the home.

Dogo Argentino Training

Dogo Argentinos can be hard to handle due to their high energy, prey drive, and protective instincts, so they are typically not recommended for first-time pet parents. They are intelligent, but can be stubborn and instinctual, which makes them hard to train. Special care should be taken in training their sociability with other dogs and humans outside of their household.

Fun Activities for Dogo Argentinos

Playing ball

Walking or running on leash

Working (as police or military dogs)

Hunting wild game

Dogo Argentino Grooming Guide

Dogo Argentinos have short, soft coats and are moderate shedders. They should be bathed no more than once weekly (though twice a month is probably a good schedule to keep) or as needed when excessively dirty. They do not have coats that require detangling or clipping.

Skin Care

Dogo Argentinos do not have sensitive skin, but they can have non-pigmented regions of skin under their white hair, making them prone to sunburn. Avoid allowing them to lounge in direct sunlight for long periods of time—this includes hanging their head out of the car window during long drives.

Coat Care

Dogo Argentinos have short coats that are not at risk of matting but will shed moderately. They are not considered hypoallergenic dogs.

Eye Care

Because of their white coats, Dogo Argentinos could possibly develop tear stains under their eyes in the event of chronic excessive tearing. Fortunately, they are not typically dogs that develop excessive tearing—consult with your veterinarian if you notice tearing under their eyes.

Ear Care

Dogo Argentinos do not have special needs regarding regular ear care. Your veterinarian will advise you if a regular ear cleaning schedule is recommended in the case of chronic ear infections, and how often to clean their ears at home.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Dogo Argentinos should not be adopted into homes that already house small animals (miniature/toy dog breeds or cats, especially) due to their strong prey drives. They should be provided a fenced-in yard to help with moderate exercise and their large size. They are typically not recommended for apartment living.

These dogs do require significant training and need pet parents that can accommodate their energy requirements. They do best with a pet parent who has time to devote to the energy of these dogs. Ultimately, Dogo Argentinos are a special breed that require a significant amount of training but are affectionate and loyal partners.

Dogo Argentino FAQs

Is a Dogo Argentino a good family dog?

Dogo Argentinos can be difficult to own as family dogs due to their high prey drive, inherent wariness around strangers, and stubborn nature. This breed is better suited to be working dogs or hunting partners.

Are Dogo Argentinos smart dogs?

Dogo Argentinos are highly intelligent animals. Because of this, they require training that involves significant mental stimulation, and they also make wonderful working dogs when trained for military or police work, search and rescue, or service work.

Is a Dogo Argentino a Pit Bull?

While Dogo Argentinos and American Pit Bull Terriers look similar, they are two separate dog breeds. The Dogo Argentino was historically developed from crossing many different breeds, including the Boxer, Great Dane, Bull Terrier, Irish Wolfhound, English Pointer, and the Dogue de Bordeaux.

Is the Dogo Argentino allowed in the U.S.?

Yes, Dogo Argentinos are legal in the U.S. However, they are banned in a few other countries, including in the U.K.


Announcements. The Association of American Feed Control Officials > Home. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2022, from Basic Calorie Calculator for dogs and cats. Dog and Cat Calorie Calculator | OSU Veterinary Medical Center. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2022, from Dogo Argentino Dog Breed Information & Pictures. DogTime. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2022, from Dogo Argentino. Animal Health Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2022, from Gringaus, A. (2017, November 6). Dogo Argentino dog breed information. American Kennel Club. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from

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Heather Newett, MPH, DVM


Heather is a practicing small animal veterinarian in Denver, CO. In her free time she enjoys hiking, horseback riding, and traveling to new…