Archive : December

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds are a giant, docile breed with a dignified appearance and a long, fascinating history. They were created by breeding Middle Eastern hounds with the native dogs of Britain. The first recorded report of an Irish Wolfhound is in a letter by a Roman statesman in 391 AD, according to the Irish Wolfhound Club of America. The Irish Wolfhound earned the name by assisting in hunting Irish wolves to near-extinction in the 1700s.

Today, this gentle breed makes a wonderful house pet—if you have room for them. This giant dog breed can approach 130 pounds and stand 28-35 inches tall. The average Irish Wolfhound lifespan is 6-8 years.

Caring for an Irish Wolfhound

Despite their intimidating size, Irish Wolfhounds are a gentle, calm breed that craves affection. They are affectionate with most people and generally patient with children. Many challenges associated with their size can be solved by early socialization and obedience training.

Because of the Irish Wolfhound’s history as a hunting dog, they can have a strong prey drive. A home with a (tall!) fenced-in yard will keep them from chasing neighborhood wildlife.

As for grooming, the Irish Wolfhound has minimal needs and does not shed or drool excessively.

Irish Wolfhound Health Issues

The Irish Wolfhound has a handful of serious health conditions pet parents need to stay vigilant for, and pet health insurance might be a good investment. And even with proper care, Irish Wolfhounds have a shorter life expectancy than smaller breeds, at around 7 years.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat, GDV)

Gastric dilatation-volvulus, a severe form of bloat in dogs, is a condition that occurs suddenly and requires immediate life-saving intervention.

GDV happens when the stomach fills up with food or gas, causing expansion and increased pressure. The stomach can then rotate, which causes inadequate blood supply to the spleen and stomach. If not treated quickly, shock, tissue damage, and even death can occur. Increased risk is seen in:

Older dogs that have a deep chest (like the Irish Wolfhound)

Dogs that are fed from elevated bowls

Dogs that are fed only once per day

Immediate veterinary intervention is needed to stabilize and treat GDV. The longer a dog has this condition without intervention, the greater the risk of death.

Symptoms include non-productive retching, swollen abdomen, drooling, and collapse. To prevent GDV, a prophylactic gastropexy can be performed to secure the stomach to prevent it from twisting. This is often done at the same time as the dog’s spay or neuter surgery.

Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma)

Osteosarcoma is an aggressive, malignant bone cancer Irish Wolfhounds are predisposed to. This is the most common type of bone tumor found in dogs, especially larger breeds. The first symptom that is noted is usually lameness/limping. If this is observed, the veterinarian may take x-rays to look for this type of cancer.

If osteosarcoma is diagnosed, the most important first step is pain control.  Then, the recommendation is usually removal of the affected area. In most cases, this involves the amputation of a limb. Chemotherapy treatment is recommended following the removal of the tumor to slow the spread to other areas of the body.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, causing a loose joint. This can be influenced by growth rate, hormones, diet, and exercise. Hip dysplasia can cause degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis. This arthritis leads to pain, limping, and difficulty standing.

Maintaining a lean body condition is important for preventing arthritis. Many vets recommend low-intensity exercise, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin supplementation for dogs diagnosed with hip dysplasia. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia, like hip dysplasia, is a condition where the elbow joint develops abnormally. This is usually influenced by genetics, abnormal/rapid growth, diet, and trauma. The condition can cause pain and lameness, and can progress into arthritis. Treatment of elbow dysplasia varies based on the severity, but surgery is required in most cases.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is degeneration of the heart that causes the muscle of the left ventricle to become very thin and pump weakly. The symptoms of the disease may occur suddenly or progress gradually as the disease worsens over time. DCM can eventually lead to congestive heart failure.

DCM is a very serious condition that requires intensive treatment, and not all dogs will return to normal. A correlation between DCM and grain-free diets has been found but is not fully understood. Talk with your veterinarian about the risks and benefits of feeding an Irish Wolfhound a grain-free diet.

What To Feed an Irish Wolfhound

Feeding commercial kibble or wet food that’s compliant with Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards is a good way to make sure the Irish Wolfhound receives a complete and balanced diet.

As a giant breed, Irish Wolfhound puppies need to grow at a steady rate so their muscles and bones grow in unison. The bone and joints can become weak if their bones grow too quickly, and additional body weight places extra strain on these weak spots. Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia can also happen due to rapid growth.

To maintain a healthy growth rate in Irish Wolfhound puppies, proper amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrates are necessary. They can get all their nutrition through AAFCO-compliant foods that are designed for giant and large-breed dogs. Discuss with your veterinarian which diet is best for your dog.

How To Feed an Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound does best if fed about every 12 hours as an adult. Raised food and water bowls may increase the risk of bloat and need to be avoided.

How Much Should You Feed an Irish Wolfhound?

Just like humans, the recommended caloric intake for an Irish Wolfhound varies from dog to dog due to size, metabolism, and activity level. The best way to determine how much to feed your Irish Wolfhound is to talk with your veterinarian and consult the feeding guide labels on your chosen dog food.

Maintaining a lean body and healthy weight are very important for protecting an Irish Wolfhound’s joints.

Nutritional Tips for Irish Wolfhounds

Irish Wolfhounds benefit from the addition of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA) into their diets. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in skin and joint supplements, fish oil, and even in some specially formulated dog foods. These fatty acids will act as natural anti-inflammatories that help to support the skin, coat, kidneys, joints, and heart.

Behavior and Training Tips for Irish Wolfhounds

Irish Wolfhound Personality and Temperament

Irish Wolfhounds are generally a calm, gentle, and easygoing breed. Wolfhounds will become accustomed to nearly any level of activity, but they should be exercised regularly to limit health concerns.

Most Irish Wolfhounds are comfortable with children and other dogs if they are socialized at an early age. That said, they can have a powerful prey drive and may chase smaller animals, like cats, or bolt to catch a squirrel while on a walk.

Irish Wolfhound Behavior

Most Irish Wolfhounds do not bark to excess, but they will alert you if anything is amiss. Some might develop separation anxiety when left alone, so they shouldn’t spend hours apart from their family. Increasing physical and mental activity will also help prevent anxiety from developing.

Irish Wolfhound Training

Irish Wolfhounds are sensitive and eager to please, so they can easily be trained by using positive reinforcement. The Irish Wolfhound does not respond well to rough treatment or scolding—if these tactics are used, these sensitive creatures will shut down.

Fun Activities for Irish Wolfhound




Obedience training

Irish Wolfhound Grooming Guide

The Irish Wolfhound has a wiry, medium-length coat with minimal grooming needs. They are moderate shedders but don’t drool excessively.

Skin Care

Irish Wolfhounds do not require any special skin care. They should be bathed with a dog-specific shampoo for wiry hair every 1-3 months as needed for odor and appearance.

Coat Care

The Irish Wolfhound’s coat does not form mats or knots easily, but weekly brushing is recommended to remove loose hairs. Every six months, the Irish Wolfhound should be hand-stripped, which is done by hand-plucking or using a stripping rake to remove dead hair. 

Eye Care

No special eye-related grooming care is necessary for the Irish Wolfhound. However, if squinting or ocular discharge is noted, contact your veterinarian. These can be signs of more serious eye conditions.

Ear Care

Cleaning your dog’s ears every 2-4 weeks will help to prevent ear infections. If you see any redness or heavy debris, an examination by the veterinarian is in order.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Irish Wolfhound are gentle and sensitive, making them fabulous family friends when socialized and trained early. Their giant stature should be considered, especially by families with limited space. They may have a strong prey drive thanks to their hunting history, so care should be taken around small animals like cats or rodents.

Irish Wolfhounds have a fair number of health conditions, making pet health insurance a wise decision. The hardest part about having an Irish Wolfhound is their short lifespan of 6-8 years.

Irish Wolfhound FAQs

How long do Irish Wolfhounds live?

As with many giant breeds, the Irish Wolfhound has a short lifespan, averaging 6-8 years.

Is an Irish Wolfhound a good pet?

The Irish Wolfhound makes a wonderful pet due to his gentle temperament and desire to please the family. His giant size makes obedience training crucial, and he’ll pick up cues and commands easily.

Is an Irish Wolfhound larger than a Great Dane?

On average, a Great Dane is a little larger than an Irish Wolfhound, though individuals may vary. A Great Dane can weigh up to 180 pounds and stand 32 inches tall. While the Irish Wolfhound’s height also reaches 32 inches, they are typically lighter, at 105-120 pounds.

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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…

Iris Bombe in Dogs

Complete Posterior Synechiae in Dogs

Synechiae are adhesions between the iris and other structures in the eye. Iris bombe occurs when there is a complete adhesion between the iris and the capsule of the lens of the eye creating a 360 degree area of adhesion. This results in a billowing of the iris forward into the eye.

Iris bombe can occur in both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how this type of eye problem affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms seen with iris bombe include:

Squinting Corneal lesions, such as ulcers Excessive tearing Glaucoma Variation in the color of the iris Opacity of the lens Uveitis Decreased papillary reaction to light


Chronic infection Corneal ulcer Foreign body injury to the eye Hyphema (bleeding in the front part of the eye) Penetrating wounds to the eye Surgery


Diagnosis is based on an ophthalmic examination, which involves examining the structures of the eye. Tonometry may be performed to measure the intraocular pressure (the pressure within the eyeball.)


In some cases, treatment may not be necessary. However, when glaucoma occurs, it must be treated. In cases like this, laser surgery may be necessary to release the adhesions.

Standard Schnauzer

The Standard Schnauzer originated in Germany in the Middle Ages, where the breed served as a ratter, hunter, and farm watch dog. The name is derived from the German word schnauze, which means snout and alludes to  the Schnauzer’s distinctive nose and beard. The Schnauzer was likely derived from cross-breeding Poodle and spitz breeds. 

The Standard Schnauzer became popular on the dog show circuit around 1900, under their original breed name Wire-Haired Pinschers. This is when the first records of the dogs are noted in the U.S.; the American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the breed in 1904. Today, Standard Schnauzers are considered one of the leading all-around performance event dogs. They also are used as therapy, service, and rescue dogs.

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

Caring for the Standard Schnauzer

These dogs have a compact, square-proportioned, stalky body with a stiff, wiry outer coat and pronounced bristly eyebrows, whiskers, and mustache. The Standard Schnauzer’s size is 18-19 inches tall, and the average Standard Schnauzer weight falls between 25-45 pounds. They commonly come in two colors: black or salt-and-pepper, though dark or silver-gray coats can also be seen.

Their medium-length, wiry coats require a lot of grooming, including twice-weekly combing, quarterly trimming, and professional shaping. While show dogs typically see a groomer for stripping (a process where the fur is removed from the root instead of trimmed), a regular clipping is OK for Schnauzers who are family pets.

Known to be energetic and intelligent, Standard Schnauzers are an easily trained and loyal breed—though they can be a bit stubborn. These smart pups bore easily and need to be kept busy with at least 30 minutes of activity every day so they don’t develop anxiety and become destructive. Standard Schnauzers enjoy playing at the park or in a fenced-in yard, working puzzle toys, and going on walks in a sturdy harness. This breed does best with patient, experienced pet parents.

Standard Schnauzers don’t drool much, but they have a moderate tendency to dig and bark when they’re bored. To keep them on their best behavior, guide them with positive reinforcement training and make sure they’re well-socialized. Standard Schnauzers tend to be reserved around unfamiliar people and other animals, but they’re loyal, joyful, and devoted to their family, including other family pets and children.    

Standard Schnauzer Health Issues

The average Standard Schnauzer lifespan is 13-16 years, and the breed doesn’t suffer from any major health conditions. However, they can be susceptible to a few medical issues throughout their life.

Canine Hip Dysplasia 

Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip joint that occurs during growth, causing looseness in the joint. This will eventually lead to degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis if left untreated.

Most Standard Schnauzer breeders have their dogs tested for hip dysplasia before adopting out any Standard Schnauzer puppies. Hip dysplasia is not curable, but it can be treated with physical therapy, holistic methods, medications, and (in severe cases) total hip replacement.


Cataracts are a cloudy lens in the eye. The lens focuses light to the retina, which then allows for vision. If this lens is opaque, vision is impaired. There are different types of cataracts, and many can be corrected with surgery by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Retinal Dysplasia 

Also known as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), this is an abnormal development of the retina. It’s normally diagnosed during breeding examinations or puppy examinations by the Canine Health Information Center, so your Standard Schnauzer puppy should be cleared before you bring them home. During PRA, cells of the retina degenerate over time, leading to blindness.  There is no treatment or cure, but the condition is not painful.

Pulmonic Stenosis 

This is a suspected inherited congenital heart defect that affects the pulmonic valve, which is between the heart’s right ventricle and pulmonary artery. Pulmonic stenosis can be mild to severe; some mild cases require no therapy while more severe cases may require a surgical balloon valvuloplasty to open the valve. Other cases can sometimes be stabilized with oral medications. If the condition is severe and left untreated, congestive heart failure may result.


Hypothyroidism is a condition where there’s an insufficient level of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream due to disease of the thyroid glands. It’s a common condition in all three Schnauzer sizes and is thought to have a genetic basis. This condition can cause weight gain, skin infections, hair loss, heat-seeking behavior, and lethargy. It’s typically treated with oral medication.  

Hemophilia A 

This is the most common inherited blood clotting disorder in dogs. It’s caused by a genetic mutation that prevents blood from clotting normally, causing mild to severe bleeding. There’s no cure for this condition, but treatments can be administered if bleeding is noted and/or if a surgical procedure is required to lessen the likelihood of bleeding.

Bladder Stones 

Bladder stones are stone-like mineral formations in the bladder. They can cause inflammation and even lead to urinary tract infections or blockages. Some types of bladder stones can be dissolved with diet changes or with medications that change the urine’s pH, but others require surgical removal via cystotomy.

Follicular Dermatitis 

This is a condition affecting the skin where the hair follicles become inflamed, typically due to bacteria, though it can be secondarily caused by allergies. This is a treatable condition, but—if caused by allergies—often incurable.

What to Feed a Standard Schnauzer

Adult Standard Schnauzers need a balanced diet with appropriate age specifications: puppy, adult, or geriatric. If they become overweight, caloric restriction and increasing activity is recommended.

How to Feed a Standard Schnauzer 

There are no breed-specific guidelines on feeding for Standard Schnauzers, though most puppies should be fed smaller meals three to four times a day. Adult dogs do well with a twice-daily feeding schedule.

Some Schnauzers are known to eat too quickly. If you notice your dog scarfing down their food, feeding them with a slow feeder bowl or offering multiple small meals throughout the day can help avoid regurgitation, belly upset, or vomiting.

How Much Should You Feed a Standard Schnauzer 

Standard Schnauzer puppies grow quickly, which means it’s important to feed them high-calorie puppy food until they are about 1 year old to help them grow appropriately. Follow the feeding guidelines on the back of the bag of the puppy formula, based on their age and expected body weight. Your veterinarian can help guide you on how to add or remove food based on your puppy’s growth, weight, and lifestyle.

Once a Standard Schnauzer turns 1, you can slowly transition them to an adult-formula diet that has fewer calories. Again, your veterinarian can guide you during this transition and at annual health exams, so your dog maintains healthy weight and food intake.

Nutritional Tips for Standard Schnauzer 

There are no specific recommended supplements for the Standard Schnauzer at this time. Daily probiotics, joint supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fish oils can be considered for this breed.

Behavior and Training Tips for the Standard Schnauzer

Life is never boring with a Standard Schnauzer. They are fun-loving, energetic, and intelligent dogs that are social and thrive in a family environment, especially around children. Because of their guarding instincts, they are moderate barkers, though usually only to alert others around them of something they find concerning. Standard Schnauzers may bark when new people come to your home, but once they get to know these visitors, they quickly accept them.  

Standard Schnauzer Behavior 

This breed is high-energy, smart, quick to learn, and inquisitive, but Standard Schnauzers can get bored easily if they’re not exercised physically and mentally. They are constantly exploring new surroundings and require a moderate amount of exercise and mental games to keep them from destructive behavior, which they usually turn to out of boredom.

If they don’t get enough exercise, they will exercise themselves—and likely in ways that you won’t appreciate, like running through the house, chasing children, and chewing up whatever’s on the floor. Standard Schnauzers prefer to be around their family rather than isolated in a kennel.

Standard Schnauzers can also be territorial and watchful over their family and home. Pet parents will need to be patient and calm their pet’s worries about visitors with proper training and socialization.

Standard Schnauzer Training

Standard Schnauzers are clever but headstrong. As puppies they learn quickly, but they often use their intelligence to avoid obeying commands. Because of this, early socialization and training is necessary. 

Training should begin at home as soon as your Standard Schnauzer puppy is 8 weeks old, and then include some type of socialization and puppy classes when they’re 10-12 weeks old (as long as your veterinarian approves this type of training, dependent on vaccine status and health of the dog). 

This breed requires a patient, stable, and strong-willed trainer who can redirect misbehavior immediately (remember, Schnauzers can be bold and often mischievous). They tend to learn quickly with repeated consistent training, plenty of controlled exercise, and reward-based exercises involving food and games. 

Fun Activities for Standard Schnauzers

Long walks

Games of fetch

Puzzle toys

Nose work

Standard Schnauzer Grooming Guide

The Standard Schnauzer’s coat is medium-length and wiry, with long mustache and eyebrow hairs that make them look like distinguished gentlemen. They have a double coat—a wiry outer coat and a dense, softer undercoat.

Regular grooming is essential with twice-weekly brushing, monthly bathing, quarterly hair clipping, and nail trims and ear cleanings every one to two weeks. Standard Schnauzer shedding is minimal, which makes them a desired pet for many people.  

Skin Care 

Monthly bathing with oatmeal-based dog shampoos is recommended, depending on your pet’s health and lifestyle.

Coat Care

Twice-weekly brushing with a pin brush to help untangle and smooth out the fur works best for giving your Standard Schnauzer a shiny coat. The undercoat may also need to be professionally stripped a few times a year. 

Eye Care 

To obtain (and maintain!) the distinctive eyebrows of the Standard Schnauzer, take your dog to quarterly professional appointments with an experienced Schnauzer groomer. 

Ear Care 

Routine ear cleanings every one or two weeks are recommended as basic care for a Standard Schnauzer. Keeping the ears clean and dry will help prevent ear infections, but check them periodically for any odor, redness, or sensitivity. If any of this is present, contact your veterinarian for an exam.

Considerations for Pet Parents

If you’re looking for a dog breed that’s full of energy, loves their family, protects the children in their life, and loves exercise, you may have the perfect breed in a Standard Schnauzer. But remember: They can be stubborn and may push your boundaries, so a strong, patient pet parent is best for this breed.  

Standard Schnauzer FAQs

Is a Schnauzer a good family dog?

Schnauzers thrive on family life. They are loyal and protective until they trust newcomers into their territory or around their loved ones. 

Are Schnauzers smart dogs?

Schnauzers are highly intelligent, inquisitive dogs. But this cleverness may also cause them to be stubborn and can get them into trouble if they become bored. 

Do schnauzers need a lot of grooming?

Schnauzers require a moderate amount of grooming, with twice-weekly brushing and at least quarterly professional grooming appointments.

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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…

Portuguese Water Dog

Spirited, athletic, and intelligent, the Portuguese Water Dog is an excellent swimmer and seafarer bred to be a fisherman’s helper on Portugal’s coasts. They are beloved for their affectionate natures, minimal shedding, and adorable teddy bear-like faces—so much so that they even reached celebrity status: Sunny and the late Bo Obama, who both lived with the first family in the White House, may be the most famous Portuguese Water Dogs in U.S. history. 

But Portuguese Water Dogs, which can grow to be up to 23 inches tall and weigh between 35-60 pounds, are popular additions to households all over the U.S. Due to their energetic demeanors, the fluffy and friendly water dog breed is best for active pet parents.

Caring for a Portuguese Water Dog

The jolly, affectionate Portuguese Water Dog can be a doting family pet if given the proper amount of exercise, training, and attention starting at an early age. They are also wired to work, according to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (PWDCA): The canines were bred from the 13th century to perform duties such as retrieving fishing gear and preventing fish from escaping nets along the coast of Portugal.

That means pet parents should be prepared to provide their energetic Portuguese Water Dog with plenty of attention and exercise (at least 30-60 minutes per day). Those who do will be rewarded with loyalty, plenty of snuggles, and affection. Their robust, medium-size bodies are blessed with low-shedding coats, but their curly or wavy locks require regular grooming and care.

“They are just happy-go-lucky, nice dogs,” says Pam Nichols, DVM, CCRP, CFI, immediate past president of the American Animal Hospital Association.

Portuguese Water Dog Health Issues

While they are predisposed to a few conditions, “health issues with Portuguese Water Dogs tend to be relatively low,” Nichols says. 


Hypothyroidism is a condition in dogs characterized by the decreased production of hormones in the thyroid gland. Like in humans, this gland serves an important function in dogs’ metabolism. If the organs aren’t producing enough hormones, body functions slow, resulting in symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, chronic skin and ear infections, heat-seeking behaviors, and an unhealthy coat. 

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can shorten your Portuguese Water Dog’s lifespan. But thankfully, the condition can be treated with a lifelong oral medication and routine monitoring by your veterinarian.

Hip Dysplasia 

Hip dysplasia is a condition characterized by an unstable fit of the hip’s ball and socket. Pups with hip dysplasia commonly display reduced activity and limited mobility. There are many options for treating hip dysplasia, including nutrition supplements (such as Glucosamine with MSM), anti-inflammatory medications, and, in severe cases, surgery. If left untreated, arthritis can develop.

Addison’s Disease

According to the PWDCA, Portuguese Water Dogs are one of about a dozen breeds that are predisposed to Addison’s disease, a dysfunction of the adrenal glands. The glands, located near the kidneys, produce corticosteroid hormones that affect dogs’ ability to manage stress and metabolism. With Addison’s disease, there is a decrease or total lack of these hormones being produced. Pups with the disease may show symptoms such as:


Decreased appetite



The disease is treatable and, if caught early, affected patients can live normal, active lives.

Congenital Eye Issues

Portuguese Water Dogs can develop progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) or cataracts, according to the PWDCA. PRA is a disorder that causes deterioration of the retina, a light-sensitive layer of cells in the eye, and can gradually lead to blindness. While it isn’t painful, symptoms include night blindness, dilated pupils, and clumsiness. There is no treatment for PRA, but it can take months or even years for the disease to fully impair a dog’s eyesight.

Cataracts involve cloudiness in the eyes, which can eventually lead to vision loss. If you notice your pup’s lenses have a cloudy or opaque appearance or that his vision has become limited, consult a veterinarian. The issue can be treated with surgery, but it will lead to blindness if untreated.

What To Feed a Portuguese Water Dog

To help your Portuguese Water Dog maintain a healthy weight, avoid health problems, and be his happiest and most energetic, he must consume the proper type and amount of dog food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

How To Feed a Portuguese Water Dog 

Nichols recommends choosing a high-quality dog food brand (such as Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Eukanuba, Royal Canin, or Purina Pro Plan) that is appropriate for your dog’s life stage. Portuguese Water Dog puppies should be fed on a regular schedule three times per day, while adults can be fed once in the morning and once at night.

How Much Should You Feed a Portuguese Water Dog?

To determine the quantity of food to give your Portuguese Water Dog, talk to your veterinarian. They will assess your pup’s age, activity level, and other factors to determine how many calories your dog needs to consume daily. The correct meal size will depend on factors including the type of food, number of meals, and life stage.

Nutritional Tips for Portuguese Water Dogs

Portuguese Water Dogs fed a complete and balanced diet shouldn’t need nutritional supplements unless a veterinarian recommends them. Essential nutrients in dog food include protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fat, the right combination of which will help your four-legged friend look and feel his best.

Behavior and Training Tips for Portuguese Water Dogs

Portuguese Water Dog Personality and Temperament 

Portuguese Water Dogs are intelligent and loyal companions that make wonderful additions to families of all sizes—though they require proper training, socialization, and exercise to manage their high energy levels and curious natures. “A Portuguese Water Dog can make a great family pet that can be around children and other animals,” says Christos Philippou, owner and trainer at Delaware K9 Academy. “However, proper introductions are a must to keep everybody in the household safe.”

Since these water-loving dogs were bred to be the right-hand pups of Portuguese fishermen, they love to work and learn new things. They need jobs—whether that’s learning new tricks, agility training, or fetching balls and Frisbees—to keep them happy. Athletic and clever, Portuguese Water Dogs are ideal for households that enjoy exercise and outdoor activities like hiking, walking, jogging, and swimming. 

Portuguese Water Dog Behavior 

While the pups aren’t known to be huge barkers, Portuguese Water Dogs will speak up when prompted—for example, by squirrels in the yard or visitors at your doorstep. However, the activity-relishing Portuguese Water Dog can turn to undesirable behaviors like excessive barking and chewing if he doesn’t receive the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise.

“These dogs love to run and do not tire easily,” Philippou says. “They will certainly need a daily walk paired with mental stimulation and obedience training to reduce nuisance behaviors and to ensure their needs are being met.”

Pet parents can keep their four-legged friends busy by setting up agility or obstacle courses in their backyard, taking their pups for a swim, and investing in a variety of puzzle toys.

Portuguese Water Dog Training 

The Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their high intelligence and easy-to-train nature—which is why they’ve been helpful companions for centuries. Positive reinforcement, a training method that involves using praise and treats to reward good behaviors, should be started as early in your dog’s life as possible.

“Positive reinforcement training is a great option for the Portuguese Water Dog, as they can often be highly food motivated,” Philippou says. “Rewarding the good behaviors is an excellent way to communicate with your dog and mark good behaviors that you want to continue.”

In addition to excelling at obedience and agility training, the breed has a gentle temperament that is ideal for therapy and service dog training.

Fun Activities for Portuguese Water Dogs 

Walking or running




Dock diving

Dog park



Agility training

Obedience training

Puzzle games

Portuguese Water Dog Grooming Guide

The Portuguese Water Dog’s eye-catching coats can be either wavy or curly, both of which are low-shedding and require regular grooming and brushing. To keep their beautiful hair from becoming unruly, Nichols recommends a visit to the groomer every 4-6 weeks.

“They don’t shed much and have a constantly growing hair coat,” she says. “That also means their coat will mat if left alone, so get a good groomer and get a good schedule going.” 

Nichols also urges pet parents to brush their Portuguese Water Dog’s teeth daily, which can help prevent expensive anesthesia-induced cleanings later in life.

Skin Care

If your adventure-loving friend gets wet or dirty from being outside, give him a bath with a dog-specific shampoo. But otherwise, Portuguese Water Dogs don’t require a regular bathing routine. 

Coat Care 

Because the Portuguese Water Dog has such voluminous curls and waves, they are prone to matting and require regular visits to the groomer. Pet parents will also need to brush their dog a few times a week. 

Eye Care

Because congenital eye conditions such as PRA and cataracts are common in Portuguese Water Dogs, pet parents should look for symptoms such as impaired night vision, clumsiness, and dilated pupils.

Ear Care

Portuguese Water Dogs are not prone to ear infections, but they can benefit from ear cleanings, especially if they love to swim.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Loving and loyal Portuguese Water Dogs make wonderful additions to active households of all sizes. But they must be supplied with the right amount of daily mental and physical stimulation, which can encompass everything from trail running to a romp in the yard.

They can thrive in smaller quarters like apartments if their needs are met, but Portuguese Water Dogs will ultimately be happiest with plenty of room to roam in a fenced-in yard. Pet parents should also plan on using positive reinforcement training starting at a young age and budgeting for regular visits to the groomer.

Portuguese Water Dog FAQs

How much is a Portuguese Water Dog?

The cost of a Portuguese Water Dog puppy can range from $1,500-$2,500, depending on the breeder, lineage, location, and other factors. Pet parents should consider connecting with a responsible PWDCA-approved breeder or Portuguese Water Dog rescue organization to find their new best friend.

Are Portuguese Water Dogs hypoallergenic?

Portuguese Water Dogs are often referred to as “hypoallergenic” because they shed less than many other breeds. While no pet is 100% allergen-free, Portuguese Water Dogs are considered a preferred pet for people with allergies.

But keep in mind: There’s no guarantee that having a Portuguese Water Dog will prevent symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and respiratory issues, as sensitivity to a dog’s allergens varies from person to person. Before bringing home a Portuguese Water Dog puppy, spend time with the breed to see how your allergies react. 

Is a Portuguese Water Dog a good family dog?

The Portuguese Water Dog is an excellent family dog. They are tender with loved ones and good with children and other pets—again, as long as they receive proper training and get their fill of daily mental and physical stimulation. That means pet parents should be prepared to give their enthusiastic, tail-wagging buddy plenty of exercise and attention. 

How big do Portuguese Water Dogs get?

Portuguese Water Dogs are medium-sized dogs, standing 17-23 inches tall and weighing between 35-60 pounds. Like many other breeds, females tend to be smaller than males.

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Patricia Kaowthumrong

Patricia Kaowthumrong is a Colorado-based freelance writer and editor who covers food, travel, pets, and other lifestyle topics. In her…

Transylvanian Hound

The Transylvanian Hound is a rare breed that was introduced over 1,000 years ago as a cross between a Magyar hound and Hungarian native dog. This medium-sized dog is a great addition as a family pet, known for being loyal and friendly.

Physical Characteristics

The Transylvanian Hound is a medium-sized dog, weighing anywhere from 66 to 77 pounds at a height range of 18 to 21 inches. This dog breed has a short but dense coat, with a black base color and tan markings along the snout, chest, neck, and feet.

Personality and Temperament

This breed is known for its protective ways and is a good addition as a family dog. The Transylvanian Hound is not only loyal, but also intelligent and easy to train. Bred for hunting purposes, the Transylvanian Hound is energetic, requiring daily exercise.


The Transylvanian Hound requires little coat maintenance, shedding an average amount. An occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush is sufficient, and bathing should be kept to a minimum to maintain the natural coat.


This dog breed lives an average of 10 to 12 years, and is considered to be a generally healthy breed. Some health issues to be aware of are hip and elbow dysplasia.

History and Background

It is believed that the Transylvanian Hound originated in Hungary over 1,000 years ago when the Magyars came to the area. This dog breed is most likely a crossbreed between the hounds brought by the Magyars and native dogs of Hungary.

The Transylvanian Hound was used as a hunting dog, especially favored by Hungarian royalty while hunting for bears and wolves in the mountains of Transylvania. Because of varying terrains, the breed developed into two versions of the Transylvanian Hound, one with shorter limbs than the other. However, over time, the hound with the longer legs prevailed and the other is no longer seen.

During the beginning of the 1900s, the Transylvanian Hound was almost extinct but was revived by Hungarian breeders by 1968. The Transylvanian Hound was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2006, but is still considered a rare dog breed in the United States.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is Benadryl®?

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

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

Can Benadryl® Be Used for Dog Allergies?

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

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

Can Dogs Take Benadryl® for Anxiety?

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

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

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

Is Benadryl® Safe for Dogs?

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

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

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

Cardiac conditions (cardiovascular disease)

Some lung conditions

Liver disease

Seizure disorders

Difficulties urinating



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

Side Effects of Benadryl® for Dogs

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

More pronounced sedation or agitation

Severe unsteadiness


Aggression or other unusual behaviors

Slow breathing





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

What’s the Benadryl® Dosage for Dogs?

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

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

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

Your Dog’s Weight

Recommended Dosage

Maximum Dosage

5 pounds

5 mg

10 mg

10 pounds

10 mg

20 mg

20 pounds

20 mg

40 mg

30 pounds

30 mg

60 mg


40 mg

80 mg


50 mg

100 mg


75 mg

150 mg

100 pounds

100 mg

200 mg

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

Benadryl® Tablets and Capsules

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

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

Children’s Chewable or Liquid Benadryl® for Dogs

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

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

How Often Can You Give Your Dog Benadryl®?

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

Are there Alternatives to Giving a Dog Benadryl®?

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

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

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

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

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

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Jessica Vogelsang, DVM


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

Non-Inflammatory Hereditary Muscle Disease in Dogs

Non-inflammatory Hereditary Myotonia in Dogs

Non-inflammatory hereditary myotonia is a muscle disease characterized by persistent contraction or delayed relaxation of muscles, especially during movement. Although it can be acquired later in life — often experimentally induced with ingestion of herbicides — this article pertains to congenital myotonia, which is often seen in chow chows and miniature schnauzers.

Symptoms and Types

The symptoms below are commonly associated with non-inflammatory hereditary myotonia; they may improve after exercise and/or worsen due to the cold:

Voice changeMuscle stiffnessDifficulty breathingDifficulty rising or movingDifficulty swallowing (dysphagia)Regurgitation, especially after eatingTongue may protrude from mouth


This type of non-inflammatory myopathy is hereditary; i.e., it is inherited by a mother and/or father with the same sarcolemmal defect, which affects the cell membrane of a muscle cell.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. He or she will then conduct a complete physical examination, as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC). Creatine kinase enzyme levels may be elevated due to the dystrophin deficiency. Liver enzymes are also elevated in dogs with this disorder.

During the examination, your veterinarian will tap on the surface of the dog’s tongue, both while conscious and while anesthetized. Such tapping produce sustained dimpling on the surface of tongue, which will provide a clue for diagnosis. For further confirmation, a DNA-based test is available to detect affected and carrier miniature schnauzers.


Although there is no specific course of treatment for non-inflammatory hereditary myotonia, there are certain medications (procainamide, quinidine, phenytoin, mexiletine) that help in decreasing the muscular stiffness and regurgitation. This, however, does not improve the abnormal gait associated with the disorder.

Living and Management

Discourage your dog from strenuous activities or exercise that may increase its respiration, and avoid cold, which may exacerbate the symptoms. Unfortunately, even with treatment, the overall prognosis of a dog with non-inflammatory hereditary myotonia is very poor. Your veterinarian will also recommend against breeding the dog to prevent further progression of the disease to the next generation.

Can You Use Cat Flea and Tick Products on Dogs?

We all know the importance of protecting your canine and feline family members from fleas and ticks. But it’s equally important to use the correct flea and tick prevention product on your cat and dog.

Flea and tick prevention products are specially formulated for either a feline or canine pet and should never be used interchangeably.

Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Cat Flea and Tick Products on Dogs

Pet Size Difference

Cats weigh less than most dogs, and size really does matter when it comes to appropriate flea and tick products. The amount of medication used to protect cats may not be enough to protect a typical dog. Most products are also dosed according to weight, not just species, so be sure to read labels carefully to select the product that it based on your pet’s current weight.

You should have your cat weighed annually to ensure you are using the right dosage of flea and tick medication each month.

Difference in Medication Strength

The strength, or dose of medication used in cat flea and tick products is very different from what is used for dogs. Some brands of flea and tick products have options for both cats and dogs, however, the different versions are not interchangeable. For example, Frontline Gold for cats should not be used on dogs, and vice versa.

Different Ingredients in Medication

The ingredients in cat flea and tick products can vary significantly from those used in products designed for dogs. While these ingredients are very safe and effective for cats, they are unlikely to provide adequate protection against fleas and ticks if used on dogs. Some ingredients that are safe and effective for dogs are toxic to cats, including pyrethrins and permethrins.

Lifestyle of Dogs

Most dogs spend significantly more time outdoors than cats and may travel to areas that are more heavily infested with fleas and ticks than a cat’s home environment. Some dogs may swim or play in water and would need a waterproof topical flea and tick product.

Flea and tick products may not be formulated to have a higher level of medicine in a waterproof product for dogs. Flea and tick products for cats have typically less volume, different strengths, and contain different types of medication making them unsuitable for protecting dogs against fleas and ticks.

This potential higher level of exposure is just one more reason why the smaller volume, different strength, and different types of medication in cat products make them inappropriate for protecting dogs against fleas and ticks.

Flea and Tick Medication Products for Dogs

There are many brands and types of flea and tick products designed for dogs, including topical (applied to the skin), oral, and collar options. Work with your veterinarian to select the best product for your dog based on its lifestyle and health needs.

Some of the most common flea and tick medications for dogs include:






It’s equally important to never use dog flea and tick dog products on your cat. This is extremely dangerous because dog products may be much stronger and may contain ingredients that are toxic to cats. If you have questions about which product to choose for your cat or dog, ask your veterinarian for guidance.

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Jennifer Grota, DVM


Dr. Grota decided at an early age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. A native of Indiana, she grew up in a home where animals were…

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds share many similarities with the Greyhound dog, but on a smaller scale. Both are sighthounds, meaning they rely on their vision, speed, and agility to track prey rather than scent and endurance, like other hound breeds. Both have lean and light bodies, making them quick sprinters. And while their sighthound nature may suggest a high-energy dog, both Greyhounds and Italian Greyhounds love nothing more than to cuddle up on the couch with their humans.

As the smallest sighthounds, Italian Greyhounds stand only 13-15 inches tall. They’re also slender, weighing between 7-14 pounds. This makes them the perfect lap dog.

The Italian Greyhound breed has been around for over 2,000 years, according to The Italian Greyhound Club. The breed has long been a muse for artists—Italian Greyhound-like dogs are depicted in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, and their image became hugely popular during the Renaissance in Italy, according to the breed club. But it wasn’t until the early 1800s, when the little dogs arrived in the United Kingdom, that they became known as Italian Greyhounds.

Caring for an Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds combine just the right amount of activity with laziness and a compact body to be great companions in busy homes. Their gentle and affectionate nature make them terrific family dogs— however, while they are generally good with kids who understand how to interact with dogs, they tend to avoid smaller, rambunctious children.

Italian Greyhound dogs are low maintenance when it comes to grooming because of their short, fine hair. However, their coat does not insulate them well, and combined with their slender bodies, they can be easily affected by the cold. So if you decide to bring home an Italian Greyhound puppy, make sure you have plenty of dog sweaters and canine coats to keep them warm.

Italian Greyhound Health Issues

Italian Greyhounds are typically healthy pups and live to be 14-15 years old (about the typical lifespan for small dogs). And while they do have some inherited conditions that can’t be treated, these can be detected with genetic testing. Pet parents should be aware that Italian Greyhounds are also predisposed to a few health issues.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of degenerative eye diseases that affect the retina, eventually causing blindness. PRA is an inherited disease that affects Italian Greyhounds as a result of both parents carrying the gene, though they may not show signs of it themselves. While this disease cannot be prevented or treated, reputable Italian Greyhound breeders will conduct a DNA test to screen for the defective gene in potential carriers.

Autoimmune Disorders

Italian Greyhounds are susceptible to different conditions in which the immune system confuses vital tissues or organs for foreign material and starts destroying them. These can affect different areas of the body (primarily the skin, blood, eyes, and neuromuscular systems) and manifest in various ways depending on the system being attacked. Diagnostic testing is required for diagnosis, and treatment will vary depending on the disease, but typically dogs with autoimmune disorders require lifelong immunosuppressive therapy.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease is a condition where the head of the femur (the “ball” portion of the hip’s ball-and-socket joint) degenerates over time, leading to joint failure. Although it’s suspected to have an underlying genetic component, the exact cause of this disease is unknown. It’s typically seen in young (5-8 months old) small-breed dogs and will look like lameness in the hind leg. Diagnosis is done through x-rays, and treatment can vary from medical management to surgery, depending on severity.


Hypothyroidism in dogs is a fairly common condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive. This causes regular body functions to slow down, which can lead to lethargy, weight gain, and changes in the skin and coat. A simple blood test can check for hypothyroidism, and the condition is treated with daily medication. Once started on medication, most dogs with hypothyroidism will live full lives with a normal life expectancy.

What To Feed an Italian Greyhound

Selecting the best diet for an Italian Greyhound comes down to the needs of your individual dog. While it’s always important to select a diet with high-quality ingredients, your dog’s veterinarian can make recommendations based on your pup’s specific medical history.

Italian Greyhounds that are not particularly active are often overweight, so it’s vital to maintain proper body condition by avoiding overfeeding or free-feeding.

How To Feed an Italian Greyhound

Most Italian Greyhounds do not require any special feeding instructions. Typically, feeding them two meals (in the morning and evening) is well tolerated by this breed. Italian Greyhound puppies need to be fed more often, at least three times per day on a consistent schedule.

How Much Should You Feed an Italian Greyhound?

It’s important that pet parents follow the feeding guide on the food bag—this ensures your dog is receiving the appropriate essential daily nutrients. For an Italian Greyhound, based on an average weight of approximately 7-14 pounds, this ranges from about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of food daily, divided into two meals. Your vet can give specific guidance on how much to feed your dog based on their weight and medical history.

Nutritional Tips for Italian Greyhounds

For more active Italian Greyhounds, glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can help keep their joints healthy. Additionally, omega-3 supplements can aid in protecting joint health and keep their skin and coat lush and soft too.

Behavior and Training Tips for Italian Greyhounds

Italian Greyhound Personality and Temperament

Italian Greyhounds have a gentle and friendly personality that fits well into most families, including those with children and other pets. And while they have moderate energy needs, these can be easily met with a daily walk or outdoor playtime.

Though Italian Greyhounds do well with children who understand how to appropriately interact with dogs, they will often avoid more boisterous children. All interactions between kids and Italian Greyhounds should be supervised to make sure no one is accidentally hurt—these dogs have slender, delicate bodies, after all!

Italian Greyhound Behavior

Their friendly personality can sometimes lean more toward “needy,” and when Italian Greyhounds don’t receive the love and attention they seek, they can become shy or hyper. To keep your mini Greyhound happy, give them lots of lap time and break up the day with frequent, short activities such as walks or playtime.

It’s also important to note that Italian Greyhounds have a prey drive, thanks to their history as hunters. This can be triggered by small, fast-moving animals such as cats, rabbits, or squirrels. If you’re bringing an Italian Greyhound into a home with smaller pets, teach them that they’re not something to chase.

Italian Greyhound Training

Italian Greyhounds have a sensitive, gentle nature. They will shut down if they receive negative feedback, so always use positive reinforcement training methods that reward good behavior. Treats, toys, patience, and consistency will give you the best results when training this breed.

Fun Activities for Italian Greyhounds


Short jogs

Indoor/outdoor play

Lure coursing

Italian Greyhound Grooming Guide

When it comes to grooming, the Italian Greyhound is pretty easy. Aside from occasional baths and nail trims, they don’t require much routine grooming.

Skin Care

Skin care for the Italian Greyhound can vary depending on your individual pup’s needs. But overall, the breed does not generally have sensitive skin.

Coat Care

With their short, smooth coat, Italian Greyhounds require minimal coat care beyond routine bathing, which may only be required occasionally or if they decide to roll in something unpleasant. They are moderate shedders, and a gentle weekly brushing can help remove any dead hair.

Eye Care

Routine eye cleaning with a soft, damp cloth or veterinary-approved wipe will help prevent tear stains from building up around your Italian Greyhound’s eyes.

Ear Care

Routine ear cleaning with a veterinary-approved ear cleanser is important to maintain healthy ear canals. This should also be done any time your Italian Greyhound is in water, such as after swimming or bathing, because trapped moisture can lead to ear infections. 

Considerations for Pet Parents

Though they have a gentle personality and can fit into many different living situations, there are still considerations to be made before bringing home an Italian Greyhound puppy. This little pup might not be the perfect fit for families with small, rambunctious children who can accidentally hurt them. However, if you have older kids who know how to interact with animals, the Italian Greyhound can happily be their four-legged best friend.

Italian Greyhound FAQs

How much do Italian Greyhounds cost?

An Italian Greyhound can cost between $1,400-$2,000, depending on the breeder. You can also find dogs at an Italian Greyhound rescue.

What’s the difference between Whippets vs. Italian Greyhounds?

Whippets and Italian Greyhounds are similar both in personality and in appearance, so it’s not uncommon for the breeds to be confused. But there are distinct differences: Whippets are slightly larger (standing up to 22 inches tall and weighing 25-40 pounds) and members of the hound group. Italian Greyhounds belong to the toy group.

How big do Italian Greyhounds get?

Adult Italian Greyhounds stand 13-15 inches tall and weigh 7-14 pounds.

How long do Italian Greyhounds live?

The average Italian Greyhound lifespan is 14-15 years.

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Teresa Kho-Pelfrey, DVM


Dr. Teresa Kho-Pelfrey graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015 and completed her clinical year at Purdue…


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The Samoyed is best known for its pure-white fluffy coat, curled fluffy tail, friendly personality, and love of cold weather. These dogs are built for herding and working in extremely cold climates, and are direct descendants of the Reindeer Spitz from Russia. Samoyed is another name for the Nenets people, who are native to the extreme northern part of Russia.

Samoyeds have a very thick, two-layer hair coat that consists of a long straight-haired topcoat and a dense soft undercoat. They are medium- to large-sized dogs (35-65 pounds) with a confident stance; triangular, thick, rounded ears; curved mouth corners that appear to create a smile but were actually bred to prevent icicle buildup; a deep chest; strong, long hind legs; and a fluffy curled tail that rests on their back.

Caring for a Samoyed

The Samoyed has a friendly, playful, alert temperament and can make a great companion and family dog. Because of their thick, double-layered hair coat, Samoyeds require regular brushing and do not do well in warmer temperatures. Pet parents should be aware that a Samoyed can develop heatstroke in warmer climates, or even during spring and summer in temperate weather zones.

The Samoyed is a powerful working dog and does not tire easily. These dogs are most known for pulling sleds, herding, agility, and hunting. They need regular exercise and are very playful, active dogs who love to be social with people and other dogs.

Samoyed Health Issues

While the Samoyed can live a long life—up to about 14 years—they can be genetically predisposed to several medical issues, including eye and heart problems, hip dysplasia, and  kidney disease. Their sensitivity to warmer temperatures can lead to other medical issues.

Retinal Diseases 

The retina is in the back of the eye; it senses light and sends information to the brain for visual recognition. Two retinal diseases often found in Samoyeds are:

Retinal dysplasia, which occurs when abnormal folds in the retina lead to decreased vision and eventually blindness. In Samoyeds, retinal dysplasia can be a genetic disease, and can be screened with a DNA test.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a genetic disorder that causes the light sensors of the retina (photoreceptors) to die, leading to blindness in the young to middle-aged Samoyed. There is also genetic DNA testing available to screen for PRA.

While there is no specific treatment available for genetic-linked retinal diseases in dogs, gene therapy may be an option for treatment.

Uveodermatologic Syndrome 

UDS is a skin and vision disease where a dog’s own immune system abnormally attacks melanin production. Melanin is responsible for the various pigment shades of the skin and hair, and certain structures of the eyes. UDS can cause various skin lesions and lightening of the skin (depigmentation), along with inflammation in the eyes and vision problems. Treatment of UDS typically involves steroids and/or cyclosporine to help suppress the immune system response.

Heart Problems 

The Samoyed can be predisposed to several heart problems, including the following:

Atrial septal defect (ASD) refers to a hole between the left and right atria of the heart, two of the heart’s four chambers. During embryo development prior to birth, a hole is naturally present between the left and right atria, but it should close as the embryo grows. If this hole is still open after birth, it may cause abnormal blood flow in the heart and can ultimately lead to heart failure. ASD is not common and may not cause any obvious problems for a dog who has it.

Aortic stenosis refers to a narrowed opening of the aortic valve in the heart, which develops as the dog ages. While a heart murmur may be observed on a physical exam by a veterinarian, this condition often does not cause any major issues, and the dog can live a normal life. However, with severe aortic stenosis, clinical signs such as lethargy, shortness of breath, coughing, or collapse may occur. Treatment of clinical signs associated with severe aortic stenosis may include exercise restriction and daily heart medication, such as a beta-blocker. Surgical intervention with placement of a specialized balloon (known as balloon valvuloplasty) may also be a treatment option.

Pulmonic stenosis is a congenital disease that involves a narrowing of the pulmonic valve in the heart. Similar to aortic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis may or may not cause clinical signs of lethargy, shortness of breath, coughing, or collapse. Balloon valvuloplasty is often the treatment of choice in severe cases of pulmonic stenosis, but other surgical options are possible.

In general, any heart problem diagnosed by a veterinarian (usually from hearing a heart murmur on a physical exam) should be monitored every 6-12 months with an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) and chest x-rays.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hip joint does not function properly and can cause pain. While there is a genetic predisposition to this condition, lifestyle habits and certain factors—including a Samoyed’s growth rate, muscle mass, diet, and exercise—can contribute to the development of hip dysplasia.

Testing is available (PennHIP screening) to detect the likelihood that dogs will develop hip dysplasia in their lifetime. If your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, there are a few options for treatment and long-term management, including medications, joint supplements, and surgical intervention. Weight management is also important.

Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy

SHG is a genetic kidney disorder often seen in Samoyeds. It affects the glomerulus, which is the kidney filter. When the glomerulus is affected by SHG, proteins from the blood, such as albumin, will spill over into the urine. Over time, destruction of the glomerulus will lead to kidney failure, which usually occurs by age 5 for a Samoyed with SHG.

There is a genetic DNA test available for SHG. While there is no specific treatment or cure, certain ACE-inhibitor medications and high-quality, protein-restricted “kidney-friendly” diets may help slow disease progression.

What to Feed a Samoyed

A Samoyed less than a year old needs a high-quality puppy food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Older Samoyeds (7 years and up) should be offered a high-quality senior food that is also AAFCO-approved.

Samoyeds who are involved in routine herding, sledding, or other strenuous exercise need a high-quality dog food with a greater protein content than what would be offered for a typical  house dog. For a less active family companion, overfeeding or offering excessive amounts of treats during the day should be avoided to prevent obesity.

As previously mentioned, a Samoyed with SHG should be fed a high-quality, protein-restricted, “kidney-friendly” diet to help slow disease progression.

How to Feed a Samoyed

As with most dog breeds, it’s appropriate to feed an adult Samoyed twice a day, in the morning and evening. Fresh water should always be available.

How Much Should You Feed a Samoyed?

In general, the amount of dog food offered should be based on the ideal weight of the adult Samoyed, which is typically 35-65 pounds. For most commercial dog foods, refer to a feeding guideline printed on the package. Your veterinarian can also work with you to determine the appropriate amount of food per day for your Samoyed.

For Samoyed puppies, the amount of puppy food offered is based on their weight.

Nutritional Tips for Samoyeds

For very active Samoyeds, consider adding glucosamine and omega-3 supplements (such as fish oil) to their food to promote joint health. There are also some commercial joint-health dog foods available that contain added omega-3 and/or glucosamine.

Behavior and Training Tips for Samoyeds

Samoyed Personality and Temperament

The Samoyed has a friendly, playful, alert temperament and can make a great companion and family dog. These dogs are very vocal and will bark, growl, and whine, especially when they’re excited and playing. They usually love meeting new people and other dogs.

The Samoyed is a very energetic dog breed that thrives on exercise and playtime. Because of their high-energy, friendly personality, it’s important to keep Samoyeds in a fenced yard or walk them on a leash so they don’t wander away.

Samoyed Behavior

Because of their high energy and desire to work, the Samoyed needs consistent exercise and plenty of space to work and play. A Samoyed that feels confined or bored may become destructive and anxious.

Samoyed Training

As with most other breeds, Samoyeds respond best to training and socialization early in their puppy life. The Samoyed is a smart dog that typically responds well to training. They thrive on performing active tasks and can be fully trained to herd other animals, pull dogsleds, and do  agility training.

Fun Activities for Samoyeds

A long walk or run



Weight pulling


Frolicking in the snow

Samoyed Grooming Guide

The Samoyed has a very thick, two-layer hair coat that consists of a long straight-haired topcoat and a dense soft undercoat. These dogs have a moderate shedding level and require regular brushing.

Skin Care

Regular bathing is not required for Samoyeds unless they become soiled or covered in outdoor debris. Care should be taken to dry the Samoyed’s hair coat with a large towel or hair dryer on a low setting after bathing.

Coat Care

Regularly brushing the Samoyed’s hair coat will help to maintain its integrity and beauty. A de-shedding brush (such as the FURminator) can help remove excess undercoat, especially during warmer months.

Eye Care

Because Samoyeds may be prone to certain eye problems, it’s important to have their eyes examined at least once a year by a veterinarian.

Ear Care

After every bath, splashing in water, or rolling around in the yard, Samoyeds should have their ears cleaned with a dog-specific ear cleaner.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Some of the major considerations for pet parents of a Samoyed include sensitivity to warmer temperatures; the need for lots of exercise and socialization; and a potential genetic predisposition to eye problems, heart problems, hip dysplasia, and kidney disease.

These considerations are important because they can greatly affect the overall lifestyle of the Samoyed. A Samoyed living in an apartment in a hot climate will not thrive nearly as well as one living on a large property in a snowy climate.

Pet parents considering the Samoyed breed should consider getting pet insurance to help handle potential medical costs associated with genetic diseases.

Samoyed FAQs

Is a Samoyed a good family dog?

Yes! Samoyeds make excellent family companions, especially with children and other pets. They are very active, social, friendly, loving dogs.

Are Samoyeds smart dogs?

Absolutely! Samoyeds love to be trained to perform a task.

What are the drawbacks of a Samoyed?

Samoyeds require lots of exercise, regular coat brushing, and tasks to keep them busy and happy. Some pet parents may have difficulty meeting these needs, especially those who reside in a hot climate, live in an apartment, work long hours away from home, or don’t have a very active lifestyle.

How much does a Samoyed cost?

When purchased through a breeder, Samoyed puppies can cost as much as several thousand dollars, especially if they have AKC registration. However, there are Samoyed rescue organizations that have young to older adults (and sometimes puppies) available for adoption at lower costs. Likewise, some animal shelters may have Samoyed puppies or adults available for adoption.

Is a Samoyed part wolf?

All dog breeds have a common ancestral descendant in the wolf. The Samoyed is a breed of dog and is not considered to be part wolf.

Is a Samoyed a Husky?

No, the Samoyed is a different dog breed. It is a direct descendent of the Reindeer Spitz dog breed from Russia.

Can a Samoyed live in a house?

Yes! Especially in times of extreme heat or cold, the Samoyed can be kept mostly indoors. While Samoyeds are very acclimated to cold climates, they still require appropriate shelter from extreme temperatures and weather conditions. With any Samoyed, kept indoors or outdoors, it is imperative to provide plenty of opportunities for exercise during the day.


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Janelle Priestas, DVM


Dr. Priestas is a native Floridian who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Florida State University in 2007 and her…