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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!

National Poison Prevention Week: Signs of Poisoning in Pets

It’s National Poison Prevention Week – so it’s a great time to review the signs and symptoms of poisoning in dogs and cats. Pets are notoriously good at hiding pain, however, in the case of ingestion of a toxic substance, the signs can vary based on the particular poison.

If you think your dog or cat has been poisoned or may have ingested a toxic substance, call your veterinarian immediately for assistance! The sooner your dog or cat gets medical treatment, the better the outcome. 

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the most common signs of poisoning generally include (but are not limited to):

Gastrointestinal signs

  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling/excessive salivating
  • Lack of appetite/refusing food

Internal bleeding

  • Coughing of blood
  • Vomiting blood
  • Pale gums
  • A racing heart rate
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Collapse

Kidney failure

  • Bad breath that smells of urine or ammonia
  • Lack of appetite/refusing food
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Absence or decreased urination

Liver failure

  • Jaundice/yellow discoloration of the gums
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Dullness, confusion, acting abnormally
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Black-tar appearance in stool

For more information about potential toxins in the home, click here.

Outside of your personal veterinarian, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435

What To Do If Your Pet Gets Lost

lost dog posterOh, no! Your pet is missing – here’s what to do if your pet gets lost. With the right preparation and the help of lots of caring people, pets can be returned quickly.

First – canvas your neighborhood with a photo and your contact information. Put notices up where people are most likely to see them – near mailboxes is always a good bet. Share your news on social media sites, and be sure to post in Straydar or on NextDoor.

Next, call local vets and let them know to be on the lookout. Why? It’s the first place people often go to check for a chip. Lost pets pass through our doors daily. It’s always sad when we scan a scared stray dog or cat and their contact details are so out of date there’s little hope of them finding their way home. We share news through our network of Facebook pages and local rescues, so be sure to follow. Social media has helped us reunite many families!

Sometimes lost pets are brought to us because they’ve been injured. We care for them all, providing them the best medical help whenever possible, ensuring that we ultimately ease their pain and keeping them calm and comfy – all while doing our best to help them find their family.

Make sure your pets have their best chance to return home if they escape the house or yard and get lost. Microchip your pets, have them wear collars and tags, and please keep your contact numbers current, especially when you’re moving to a new home or neighborhood. We’re happy to introduce you and your furry (or not so furry) family to the team at one of our 21 locations in the Phoenix Metro area. They’ll welcome you with the WOW service you have come to know and love from AZPetVet.

New Year Pet Health Check-Up

It’s a fresh new year, so it’s the perfect time to do a little new year pet health check-up on all things related to your pets. The theme is clean, clear and up-to-date, so let’s dig into our new year’s pet health check-up list!

1/ Schedule an annual check-up. Annual wellness exams can help prevent chronic health problems like diabetes as well as common communicable diseases. Your pet will be carefully examined from top to tail, including teeth. Pets will receive any needed vaccinations and boosters, plus flea and/or heart worm medications. If it’s been a while since your pet has seen the vet, don’t wait. Make an appointment today!

2/ Clean, Repair or Replace Worn Toys. Take a few minutes to sort through your pet’s toys. While every pet has their favorites, some toys can become choking hazards. Repair or replace anything with torn seams, visible stuffing or that’s just become gross. Some plush toys are washable. Make a habit to regularly wash them along with your pet’s bedding. Dogs also seem to collect old bones and chews. Quietly dispose of any with ragged edges or visible cracks.

3/ Wash & Repair Pet Bedding & Food Bowls. Regular washing of your pet’s bowls, bedding, pillows, blankets and plush toys is a must. Washing bedding and toys can help cut down on irritants and allergens like pet dander, dust and dirt. Use an unscented, pet safe detergent and avoid fabric softeners or other additives. Air dry or use the dryer, but avoid dryer sheets.

4/ Examine, Repair or Replace Collars, Harnesses & Leashes. Take a look at your pet’s collar, harnesses and leashes to make certain they’re in good working order, with no visible signs of wear and tear. Repair or replace if necessary. Now, get outside together and take a good long walk to enjoy the mild weather!

5/ Set Up a Regular Grooming Schedule! Your pet’s fur, teeth and nails can always use a bit of extra attention. Make sure to regularly groom your pets. Whether you bathe and groom them at home or use one of our experienced pet stylists, your pet will look, feel and smell wonderful. Don’t forget to regularly brush their teeth! Your veterinarian or groomer can show you the best techniques and recommend pet-safe products.

6/ Update Pet Tags, Licenses & Registrations. Check your pet’s tags, licenses and microchip registration information to be sure all contact details are correct. If your pet isn’t microchipped, get it done ASAP. Replace any worn or rusted ID tags.

Ready to schedule your pet’s new year pet health check-up? Click here to find an AZPetVet location near you. Happy New Year from the AZPetVet family!

Goodbye Summer – Hello, Fall!

It’s been a long, hot summer. That’s nothing unusual for Arizona, of course! We’ve shared a lot of tips over the past few months about keeping pets safe and healthy during the summer months. At the close of September, we’d like to take some time to look back at some of the pet safety tips you may have missed.

The Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

Dr. Amy Schomburg on Your Life Arizona

Monsoon Menace: Sonoran Toads & What Pet Owners Need to Know

4 Keys Ways to Boat Safely With Pets

Valley Fever in Dogs: Risks, Symptoms & Treatment

Pets & Pool Safety With Dr. John Graham

Why Pets Need Vaccinations

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