While welcoming a new dog into the family is a very fun and exciting idea, it shouldn't ever be a spontaneous decision.
Sharing your home with man's best friend is undeniably rewarding in many ways, but it also comes with its own set of responsibilities -- not the least of which is making sure they're happy and healthy. That's why it's so important that you thoroughly research the type of dog you're thinking about adopting beforehand. Not only do all breeds have their own quirks and behaviors, but their own health risks as well. So if you're thinking about bringing home any of the 10 popular breeds below, here are the common health problems you need to consider first.
1. Golden retrievers are some of the sweetest and most loyal dogs around, which is what makes it so heartbreaking that the majority of them develop cancer. You can work to reduce the environmental factors that may contribute to canine cancer by limiting their exposure to secondhand smoke, pesticides and phenoxy herbicides, keeping them fit and lean, and making regular visits to the vet.
2. Dachshunds are at a higher risk for back injuries and spinal disk problems because of their elongated backs. The best prevention is keeping them at a healthy weight and limiting them from jumping off of furniture and climbing up the stairs.
3. Like other large breeds, German shepherds are prone to getting hip dysplasia, a congenital disorder in which hip sockets are too loose and the femur causes damage. The first thing you can do is find a reputable breeder and ask whether the parents have been screened for hip dysplasia. If your pup already has it, though, moderate exercise, supplements that support joint health, anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medication and heated beds can help with the pain.
4. Because of their flat faces, pug are more likely to have breathing difficulties. That's why it's important to keep track of how they're breathing, especially on hot days. Their eyes are also more susceptible to injury and infection because of the way they bulge. Monitoring their behavior is critical in detecting any changes so you can take them to the vet if needed.
5. It's common for Siberian huskies to have autoimmune skin diseases that causes crusts, sores and hair loss, especially on the nose and inside the ear flap. Be sure to take them to the vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary, where they can be given corticosteroids or other steroid therapy to keep the condition under control.
6. Like pugs, bulldogs often suffer with breathing issues because of their "squashed" snouts. Keeping them at a healthy weight and making sure they don't overexert themselves, especially in the heat, will help prevent breathing difficulties.
7. Labs are notorious for having issues with their weight. Daily exercise and a limit on treats are musts. If you find yours constantly begging for food, try giving them fresh fruits and vegetables like apples and raw carrots. Your vet will be able to give you the best diet plan if yours is already overweight.
8. Epilepsy is more common in beagles than other breeds. While it can't be cured, regular visits to the vet and antiseizure medication can help manage the disorder.
9. Like golden retrievers, boxers have a higher chance of developing cancer, especially lymphoma and mast cell tumors. The best thing you can do for your buddy is to regularly check for unusual lumps on their skin and body, and to go to your vet if you find them so you can start treatment early.
10. Those adorably floppy ears on cocker spaniels make them much more likely to get ear infections. Cleaning them every two weeks, flipping the ears back every once in a while to let them "breathe," and trimming hair growing on the underside of the ears should help prevent infection.