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What to Know About Purebred Vs Mutt Health, Life Expectancy, and More!

Purebred Vs Mixed Breed: Everything You Should Know

There has been a lot said when it comes to whether or not a mixed breed dog is healthier (or not) than a purebred dog. There certainly seems to be a surplus of health benefits for mixed breed dogs as compared to their purebred counterparts. With that said, however, this isn’t to say there aren’t any benefits in choosing a purebred dog. So if you’re looking to bring a furry friend into your home but are worried whether a purebred or mixed breed is right for you, sit back and relax. We’re going to uncover the benefits of mixed breed dogs and purebred, purebred vs mutt health and life expectancy, and more!

Benefits of Mixed Breed Dogs

  • Get That Same Breed Look: Some dog owners are looking for a puppy with a distinct look, say a husky or a chow chow. Many mixed breed dogs will tend to physically resemble one breed more than the other, so you can get pretty close to a purebred look for your dog while still adopting mixed breed.
  • OR Get a Unique Look: On the other hand, if you like the uniqueness of a mixed breed dog, then it’s possible to find a dog that doesn’t look like other dogs. Take Basil for instance — a 3-year-old mixed breed dog (photo submitted by a staff member!). Take a second to guess what breed he is. We’ll give you a second.
  • Price: A key benefit of mixed breed dogs is that they come at a much cheaper price than those from the breeders of purebred dogs. While their personalities and growth may come as a surprise to you, the experience will be well worth the wait (and the wait itself is so much fun) if you love surprises and being spontaneous. And back to the question — what breed is Basil? If you guessed husky/labrador, you’re a winner!

Benefits of Purebred Dogs

One misconception people have about purebred dogs is that all purebred dogs are not as healthy as their mixed counterpart. While there is research that suggests this is true for some breeds (and we’ll get to this soon), there are various factors that influence the life expectancy and health of purebred dogs.

  • Specifically Selected Parents: In most cases, dogs breeders have selected the parents (sire and dam) specifically for health and desired breed traits to ensure that their puppies will be happy and healthy.
  • You Know What to Expect: When you get a purebred dog, you can expect to know how large they will get, their temperament, and more. If you’re living in a smaller home or work long hours, you can choose a dog that is suited for your lifestyle; whereas a mixed breed dog may have some surprises that might not be as easily manageable.
  • Ease With Training: With a purebred dog, you (and potential trainers) have a better idea of what to expect with your furry friend. What this means is that a dog might not have the temperament you’re looking for — and you won’t know this until they are older. For Basil for instance — part husky and part lab. While the lab in him makes him viable as a great service dog, the husky portion of him might make service or guide training difficult. Speaking directly with Basil’s owner, it’s clear that… the latter is true. He is apparently impossible to train. While this varies across the board, a purebred dog lets you know what to expect, so you can pick a pup with a training regimen in mind.

Purebred Vs Mutt: The Major Health Differences

When comparing purebred vs mutt health, there are some differences in how purebred and mixed breed dogs inherit genetic disorders. A study conducted by the Institute of Canine Biology examined cases of 24 different genetic disorders and found that across the board, 10 disorders occurred more frequently in purebreds, 1 disorder occurred more frequently in mixed breeds and then the last 13 disorders did not appear more frequently in either dog.

So this means that you should only adopt a mixed breed dog, right? Nothing is ever that simple. Let’s just examine two of the disorders more frequented in purebred dogs: atopy (or allergies). Studies found that 1 percent of mixed breed dogs were affected by allergies. In contrast, some of the top purebred dogs with allergies included the West Highland White Terrier (8.2%), Coonhound (8%), and Wirehaired Fox Terrier (8%). Now let’s look at bloat in dogs. With mixed breeds, we are again at less than 1 percent. The breeds that bloat was most present in were Saint Bernard (3.7%), Irish Setter (3.4%), and Bloodhounds (3.4%).

What does this mean?

In these two categories of disorders, purebred dogs did exhibit symptoms more often; however, not all purebreds were at the same risk for the same diseases. Consider how some dogs are more apt to be a ‘watchdog’ or protective dog, and others are more apt to live in a small apartment than others. Obviously, not all dogs are the same. So do mixed breed dogs really have fewer health problems? The answer is not so definitive. Mixed breed dogs are not going to be healthier than purebreds all the time. While some breeds may be at a higher risk for health problems, every dog is different.

Furthermore, many dogs will go on without developing any particular health complications. If you want to know the health patterns for a specific breed of a dog, you’ll get a better expectation of what to look for throughout their life by talking to a breeder or by doing more breed-specific research.

Purebred vs Mixed Breed Life Expectancy

Not much will be said about life expectancy that hasn’t already been said about purebred vs mutt health. There are a multitude of factors that impact the life expectancy of a dog.

  • Wellness Care: Of course, if you invest in how you care for your dog — by adhering to the Veterinary recommendation for annual or semi-annual wellness exams — then your dog will be more primed to live a longer and healthier life.
  • Dog Size: Additionally, research on the size of the dog has shown that some larger dogs may have a life expectancy of around 7-10 years, while smaller ones may have up to 13-16 years. These, of course, aren’t hard numbers, but general observations.
  • The Real Question: Even though research has indicated that mixed breed dogs show signs of longer life expectancy, proper dog care will always be key in making sure your dog — no matter the size, no matter their lineage — will live a long and happy life beside you!

In Conclusion

Really, the decision to choose a dog that’s either mixed breed or purebred is entirely up to you. Each has its own unique strengths which can make for a fun (albeit different) experience for you and your family. Even with all these facts in place, it’s important to remember that each dog is different. While they may react to things in very similar fashions, every dog has its own special personality and spirit which will make the overall experience all-the-more fun!

What To Look For When Choosing a Pet: How To Find The Perfect Dog For Me?

How to Choose a Dog: What Is The Best Type of Pet For Me?

When it comes to finding the best type of pet for your family, it’s important to consider the needs of you and your family first. Of course, your lifestyle will need some adjusting when introducing a furry friend into the mix, so choosing a new family member that best accommodates your current family and lifestyle will make the experience easier for everyone. Knowing what to look for when choosing a pet and more importantly, why these factors matter will help. Here’s how to choose a dog that’s perfect for your family and lifestyle!

  1. Living Arrangements

When choosing a pet, consider your housing situation first. If you live in an apartment complex with a shared backyard space versus a house with a private yard space, your options for dogs may vary. Obviously, larger breeds will need more space to run around and play in. Of course, how you plan on caring for your dog may change the situation.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re looking to bring a large dog into the family, make sure that your home can accommodate them comfortably. There are obvious exceptions to the rule, such as bulldogs and greyhounds — although there are caveats (we’ll explain them next!).

The best type of pets for small apartments will be the smaller puppers that don’t mind a day (or a few hours) indoors. Additionally, if you live in an apartment complex, know the management’s policy on dogs. The ‘perfect dog for me’ might not be the ‘perfect dog for your housing complex’. Instead, mix the demands of your family with the demands of your complex when choosing the best type of pet for you. If your complex only allows for small dogs, then breeds such as German shepherds and Huskies will not be allowed. Consider the long-term living arrangements with your furry friend and how large they are expected to grow.

For small apartments, Boston terriers, chihuahuas, pugs, Basenjis, and similar small dogs may be the best type of pet for you. For a large home, you don’t really face any constraints.

  1. Lifestyle

Your lifestyle and living arrangement can supplement each other at times. Back to the bulldogs and greyhounds — while they are more than happy to relax around the house, they will require daily physical activity such as long walks or trips to the dog park.

When choosing a pet, you must consider your lifestyle. If you are the type to naturally be active (or have a family that is more than willing to take their turn walking the dog), then a more active dog that can accompany you on walks and runs will be the best type of pet for you. These include Huskies, German shepherds, golden and lab retrievers, border collies, and more! For dogs requiring less exercise, consider English bulldogs, chow chows, Boston terriers, pugs, and more. Note that some of these breeds will still require a walk at least once a day, but every dog is different and has different needs. Look into breed characteristics to figure out the best type of pet for you.

  1. Time Allocated

Similar to lifestyle, you should know how much time you can dedicate to your pup. For instance, will someone (not necessarily you at all times) be around your pup? Will your dog have to deal with perhaps 2-3 hours of alone time or will it be closer to 8 hours? When asking ‘how to choose a dog’ for you, it’s important to consider both what you need and also what your dog will need. Of course, if you have to leave your dog home alone for 8+ hours a day, your dog will manage; however, there are some dogs that are better equipped to stay at home alone for longer periods of time. These may be the “perfect dog for me”. The best type of low maintenance breeds include Labradoodles, Boston terriers, English foxhound, Shiba Inu, and chows. Depending on the breed, consider getting a doggie door. While the addition of a doggie door can create additional safety considerations, often these can be helpful in ensuring your pet has the opportunity to potty and get some exercise on their own.

Alternatively, there are options to get your dog exercise while you’re at the office. For instance, apps like Wag! or Rover have people standing by to walk dogs for about $20 a walk. Or, if your office is dog-friendly (and you are opting for a dog that can be trained more easily), you can bring in your pup.

  1. Any Siblings?

Will Fido be introduced to small children, other dogs, cats, and/or smaller pets like birds or snakes? Because there are different things you should know about each sibling, we’ll break down the differences when choosing a pet for you.

Children. There has been some back and forth on when you should introduce a dog to a child. Is 1-years-old too young? How about 5-years-old? A good rule to follow is that for families with children under 6 years old, you may be able to adopt a dog over 2 years old. Why not a puppy and a child at the same time? A puppy — even a breed that tends to be lower maintenance — requires more time and energy during their growing years than adult years. You will be constrained for time and need to allocate resources carefully. Additionally, puppies go through a teething phase that may be harmful for new children and toddlers. Additionally, anything from rough play to growing dogs ~unaware of their own growth ~ can pose a risk to smaller children.

Other Dogs. When choosing a pet, it’s important to note that some dogs are lone wolves. Some breeds prefer human companionship to other dogs and may even be jealous when you’re at the dog park petting another dog. Border collies, Australian shepherds, German shepherds, Samoyed, pugs, and poodles are just some of the people-focused dog breeds. This isn’t to say they do not do well with other dogs; many do. You just need to properly socialize them and get them accustomed to sharing attention with other dogs.

Cats. There are ways to socialize and safely introduce cats and dogs that are unfamiliar with each other. Again, a lot of this will depend on the nature of your dog and cat, but there may be a considerable amount of time investment. For instance, one animal may send a ‘play’ signal that the other species interprets as threatening or dangerous. It’s important to know the socialization steps involved with introducing a dog to a cat. If you have the time and resources to do this, then here is a nifty guide on starting the process. It’s also important to see if a dog can handle co-opting a space with a cat.

Small Animals. When it comes to a dog co-opting a space with a bird, iguana, or turtle, you’re facing an uphill battle. There will be a lot of time that you’ll need to dedicate to training your furry friend as to not harm your other critter at home. Teaching your dog commands such as ‘leave it’ or ‘out’ (spit out) may be handy in training your dog on what they can or cannot do.

That’s Just The Tip of the Iceberg

Obviously, there will be many more things to consider when it comes to picking the best type of pet for your home. It may seem like an exhaustive search; however, when it comes to choosing a pet, remember that you are bringing a new member into your family so it’s important to make sure it’s a good match. There are many questionnaires and quizzes for you to check out to get you closer to your next match! Check out IAMS, American Kennel Club, Pedigree, and Purina to help close the gap between you and your next best friend!

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, please bypass breeders and pet stores in favor of local shelters.

Every year in the United States there are up to 4 million animals of all ages in shelters waiting to be adopted.

Tragically, most of them will not find loving homes, and they will be euthanized.

The Greater Phoenix Metro area has dozens of wonderful rescue organizations, including breed specific rescues, many with low adoption fees. The Maricopa County Animal Control Center regularly holds events with low to no fee adoption. A quick Google search for ‘Arizona Dog Rescue’ will give you a list of possibilities to explore.

So when you’re looking for your next pet, don’t shop – rescue! Who knows? You may find the love of your life. And that’s a great bargain at any price.

June is National Adopt a Cat Month

Cat lookingEach day, millions of homeless cats of all ages are waiting for their forever families to find them. Sadly, thousands will be euthanized each day. June is the American Humane Association’s Adopt-a-Cat month and the ASPCA’s Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month, so if you’ve been thinking about adding a feline friend to your family it’s a good time to review some key points before bringing a new kitty home.

While it’s exciting for us, remember, it’s a stressful time for your new cat or kitten. Cats are territorial animals, so they’re most likely going to be confused and scared until they settle in. It’s a process, but we know it’s well worth the effort. Here are a few tips for new kitties:

Provide a Safe, Confined Space: New kitties need safe space like a laundry room, spare bedroom or bathroom to live in while they’re adjusting to their new surroundings. A cozy bed, cardboard box or cat carrier can provide a sense of safety for your new friend, but remember, your kitty needs to be able to stand up and turn around easily. Give them access to plenty of food, fresh water and a clean litter box with an inch or two of litter in the room , but be sure to keep the litter box away from their food. Nobody wants to have dinner next to their toilet, no matter how clean it’s kept.

Patience is Key: It might take a week or two for your new cat or kitten to feel safe enough to come out and explore, but they’ll let you know when they’re ready. if you have other pets in the home, keep them separated from the newcomer and introduce them slowly. Don’t push things. They will be very aware of each other’s presence – a baby gate can help keep boundaries intact. Always keep dogs leashed when they’re meeting the newest family member. Correct them immediately with a command like “Sit!” or “Stay!” if they show any signs of jealousy or threatening behavior. Be extra careful with small children – they can get overexcited and squeeze or pet too roughly, causing the cat to struggle, scratch or bite out of fear.

Dealing with the Claw Factor: Sharp claws can do lots of damage. Anyone who’s ever had a cat run up their body, climb the drapes, or decide to systematically shred the furniture can tell you. With a little encouragement (and maybe a dash of catnip), you can direct their attention to a scratching post or cat tree. Try using some soft nail caps to help discourage them if they’re persistent – if they can’t get a grip on the fabric, they’ll lose interest. If they’re still favoring furniture for sharpening their claws, try a using protective cover or tinfoil (they hate it).

As a general rule, we do not recommend declawing cats. It should only be considered as a last resort as it’s a serious and painful operation, or in very rare cases where it is medically necessary because someone is the house is at high risk for an infection if scratched by the cat. Even worse, declawing can create more serious problems like reluctance to use the litter box because it’s painful for them. Regular trims can help keep claws from digging into people and possessions. We suggest a professional groomer.

Book a Wellness Visit: Your vet will carefully examine your new pet, give them any vaccinations, and advise you on good preventive care routine (including periodic dental cleanings) to keep them healthy and happy longer. Find an Arizona Pet Vet location near you.

Here’s a Tip: Get the Chip

shutterstock_505654414Sometime, pets get out. Sometimes, they GET OUT and GET LOST. One tip: get the chip.

May is the national awareness month for chipping your pets. Dogs and cats can be chipped, so their people can be properly identified and contacted. While the technology has been out for quite some time, some pet owners still have questions. The Humane Society has done a great job of answering those questions…let’s take a look:

What are microchips? Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that use radio frequency waves to transmit information about your pet. They’re implanted just under the skin, usually right between the shoulder blades.

How do microchips work? Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. The animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.

How long do microchips last? Microchips are designed to work for 25 years.

Where can I get my pet microchipped? We’re so glad you asked! You can chip your pet any of our AZPetVet locations!

What if I move? You need to contact the company that registers the chip to update your information; otherwise, the chip will be useless. You may be charged a small fee to process the update.

What do I do if I adopt a pet who’s already been microchipped? If you know what brand of chip your pet has, contact the corresponding registry to update the information. If you don’t know what type of chip your pet has, find a vet or animal shelter that can read it.