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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!

Five Reasons Why You Should Get Your Pet’s Teeth Checked

Pet Dental Health MonthFebruary is Pet Dental Health Month, so if you haven’t made an appointment yet, it’s time. Here are five good reasons why you should get your pet’s teeth checked.

1/ If you’re like most people, you brush your teeth at least twice a daily because good dental care is essential to maintaining good health. But did you ever stop to think that your pet’s teeth need brushing, too? It’s best to begin when your pet is young by making it a regular part of your pet’s grooming routine. Your veterinarian can demonstrate proper techniques and recommend pet-friendly toothpastes.

2/ Animal lovers know there’s nothing quite like puppy or kitty breath. By the time their breath get a bit noticeable – and not in a good way – dental disease has gotten its first stronghold. In fact, by age three, nearly 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of dental disease.

3/ Pet dental disease could be a heartbreaking and expensive road leading to lost or broken teeth or even more serious problems. In fact, dental disease in pets has been linked to heart disease and other serious health conditions. The good news? Pet dental disease is preventable. With regular cleanings and veterinary exams, dental disease is also potentially reversible.

4/ Full grown cats have 30 teeth. Adult dogs have 42 teeth. In some cases, retained baby teeth can also cause problems. Regular veterinary care and routine dental cleanings can catch these issues early before they lead to more serious conditions.

5/ Remember, pets are masters at hiding pain. It’s part of their survival instinct. Changes in behavior like hiding, excessive drooling, or trouble eating hard kibble can signal dental problems like cracked or missing teeth. If you notice these or other behavior changes, make a veterinary appointment for a check-up.

During Pet Dental Health Month, AZPetVet is offering $50 off any dental service. Click here to find a location near you.

Tips For Preventing Pet Dental Disease

golden retriever smiles at cameraPeriodontal disease in pets (and people) can be prevented, treated and if caught early, even reversed. Here are some tips for preventing pet dental disease:

  1. Work directly with your veterinarian to protect your pet against the dangers of periodontal disease.
  2. Combine regular home brushing with veterinary cleanings and dental care to keep periodontal disease at bay.
  3. Brush your pet’s teeth daily with a toothpaste that’s just for dogs. Your vet can recommend one. Regular brushing helps reduce plaque.
  4. Give your dog dental chews and chew toys – the gnawing also helps reduce plaque formation on the teeth. Look for specially formulated dental chews that have special enzymes to impede the formation of tartar. These are not a replacement for brushing, but will help keep your pet’s mouth clean and fresh.
  5. Schedule regular dental cleanings by your veterinarian – at least once per year.

February is Pet Dental Health Month so it’s the perfect time to schedule a cleaning. Click here to find an AZPetVet location near you.

Pet Dental Health Month

Your Pet Probably Has Dental Disease

Pet dental disease is the most common and preventable health condition for pets. They start out with beautiful, shiny white teeth. But by age three, nearly 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of dental disease. This can lead to more severe health problems.

Pets need dental care just like people. Without regular cleanings, plaque begins to build up on the teeth. Plaque is a nasty, sticky film caused by bacteria in the mouth. As plaque forms on the teeth, it irritates the gum tissue, causing red or swollen gums. Eventually, minerals in the saliva will harden the plaque into tartar.

Bacteria and plaque build-up on your pet’s teeth that isn’t removed through at-home brushings will mean bad breath and tartar are definitely in your pet’s future. Regular dental cleanings by veterinary professionals can reduce your pet’s risk for developing gingivitis, a painful inflammation of the gums, periodontal disease, and avoid tooth loss. Pets with periodontal disease are at risk for developing heart, liver or kidney disease .

if your pet has bad breath, red or swollen gums, missing, loose or cracked teeth or has experienced a recent change in appetite or trouble eating, it’s time for a trip to AZPetVet.

Find an AZPetVet location near you.

The Importance of Dental Health

Virtually no one likes going to the dentist…but we all know it’s important! Dental care for humans and animals alike is something that should never be ignored. Proper dental hygiene is a critical part of keeping your pet healthy and happy, helping to avoid potentially life-threatening issues that come with dental disease. Want to know just a bit more? Dr. Tressa MacLennan from our Scottsdale location did a quick segment with a brief overview! Check it out: