Dog Pod Episode #6
CEO Scott Groves & Award Winning VET, Dr. Kevin Cruickshank talk everything “Small Dogs“.
Listen in as they chat about…
– why small dogs are such popular breeds
– common issues with small dogs to be aware of
– What is “Brachycephalic“? Is it only small dogs?
– Lifestyles of dog owners best suited to small dogs
– Separation anxiety in small dogs (plus safe tips!)
– and heaps more…
Small dogs have become one of the most popular sizes of breeds in dogs over the last decade. More mix breeds and lots to know.
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Full Dog Pod Transcript : Episode 6
Scott: All right. Well, good morning and welcome to another episode of Dog Pod. We’re here with our good friend and award-winning vet, Dr. Kevin Cruikshank again. Welcome back, Kevin.
Dr. Kevin Cruickshank: Thanks, Scott. Great to be with you.
Scott: Now, we are sitting down here at beautiful Burleigh Heads, and it is finally spring, the weather is warming up, everybody is out and about walking their dogs. It is a gorgeous day. We have got our early morning run in, and we have got an interesting topic to talk about today, and it is one we have actually prepared for, which is highly unusual for us.
Dr. Kevin: Very unusual.
Scott: We normally decide these things, what we’re going to talk about on each run as we head off in the morning. But this week, we have actually made some notes. We are getting organized here. It is crazy.
Dr. Kevin: Yes. Well, I think, it is an important topic. We do not want to miss some of the useful bits of information. We are talking about small breeds of dogs today.
Scott: Yes, small breeds of dogs. So, we thought what we do for the next three weeks, so, we have actually got a little bit of a plan for this. Today, we are going to be talking about small breeds, and some of the common issues that you see as a vet and certain things that they suffer from. The week after — medium dogs — week after we’ll aim for long, some of the larger dogs. And there are a couple of topics here that may — that we have, sort of, discussed in the background that will probably become apparent that we need to dig into on another podcast at some point because they are pretty major things.
But we’ll touch on them — what we can today is quite a bit of talk about with the small–
Dr. Kevin: There is, and you know, that very popular breeds, they are popular for a good reason because they are very practical — lot of us really see our dogs as part of the family. And so, dogs, nowadays, compared to quite a few years ago — for the most part a member of the family living indoors a lot with the family. So, you know, as you and I were just chatting, they are a breed that people don’t want a lot of inconvenience. They — you know, we want them to be able to be inside, not necessarily shedding a lot of fur, and having a nice temperament — a manageable size for people to pick up. And interestingly, a lot of body corporates also have restrictions that if you are in some, sort of, shared type of a — or not necessarily shared accommodation–
Dr. Kevin: Apartments and that sort of thing, and rentals where they actually put a restriction that if you want to have a dog, it has got to be under a certain size, and that is very often a 10-kilogram limit, arbitrarily chosen by the body.
Scott: Do not feed it too much.
Dr. Kevin: Yes, exactly.
Scott: So, let us — just the category of small dogs. It is — they have become a lot more popular. I think, probably, with high-density living, a lot more inner city living, and stuff over the last decades. Is that a fair statement?
Dr. Kevin: Very much so.
Scott: And a lot of the breeds themselves tend to be trending towards a lot of smaller dogs in terms of popularity.
Dr. Kevin: Yes. And that also, they require bit less maintenance. All dogs still need walks, both for their exercise, but it is also a very important part for their mental stimulation. But they’re not as demanding, say for example, as having a Border Collie or a Kelpie that is really a working dog that really does need a lot of exercise. A lot of our smaller breed dogs are quite content tottering around the house, going for a short little stroll with us, rather than needing definite exercise.
Scott: High energy, sort of, crazy dogs, yes.
Dr. Kevin: Indeed.
Scott: Now, small dogs, we are probably talking the — some of the real — I guess, they are called toy dogs too, aren’t they?
Dr. Kevin: Yes. Yes, we can start from something as small as a Chihuahua, you know, probably almost classical, very small dog, and they can, literally, as Paris Hilton has shown us, fit in a handbag.
Scott: The handbag dogs. And they can be, just for white purposes, they are about 2 kilos some of those — they are really small.,
Dr. Kevin: And even smaller, and yes. And it can be a challenge sometimes for us, medically, working with those, you know, trying to put an IV catheter in their legs, and that sort of thing can be a real challenge. And then, you get other small breeds that certain parts of their body are even smaller, so I think, of something like a Dachshund. Their little legs are really short, and that, where that came to my mind is that putting a catheter in them, their veins are really wrinkled and not a nice straight access in their front legs.
Dr. Kevin: Because — and that leads, unfortunately, to some developmental problems with their legs because the bones actually start to get a bit more warped, so to speak.
Dr. Kevin: Not only, I mean, the first thing that comes to mind with something like a Dachshund, unfortunately, is their long backs and their predisposition to having spinal problems. So, they have a lot of risk of slipped discs, and we are talking about, you know, how energetic some of these small breeds are. They still can really run like the wind. If anyone has seen a Dachshund running across the back of a sofa, or something like that, and jumping across from one sofa to the next. They are extremely energetic.
Dr. Kevin: Another small breed dog that really runs around a lot, and love it — it is so super energetic is a Cavalier — Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. So, they are very popular dog. And they — especially, as puppies are particularly a very active dog as well.
Scott: We are seeing a lot of the Cavaliers be mixed bred now as a designer breed with the poodles, of course, the “Cavoodles”. They are typically probably known as in most countries.
Dr. Kevin: They are certainly a very popular designer breed, can we say?
Dr. Kevin: And yes, they do have different nicknames around the globe, and overseas they are often referred to as “Cavapoos”.
Scott: Oh, really?
Dr. Kevin: But I like the “Cavoodle” that we refer to them here in Australia.
Scott: Yes. So, where do we start with this? Let us, maybe, cover off on some of the common things that — just small dogs as a class of dogs, I guess — sort of, generally suffer from. And then, let us maybe dig into, because we have got a little bit of a list here of some of the most popular small dogs, and there are some things that are particular to certain breeds versus others. So, let us — as a category, where do we start? What do small dogs typically, sort of, suffer from versus larger dogs and so forth as they grow and age.
Dr. Kevin: I think, one of the things that their small size does tend to really predispose them to having a lot of dental disease. That is a very common thing, obviously, it increases with age. But I think, it’s a combination of two things. They have got the same number of teeth as any large breed of dog. So, dogs have typically 42 teeth, but fitted into a much smaller space. So much so that some of them actually they — instead of the teeth running in their normal orientations back with straight up and down, they actually rotate slightly sideways to fit in as well. So, that creates a lot of problems — there’s lot more nooks and crannies for food to accumulate. But I think, another part of that reason why they suffer a bit more than other breeds of dental disease is their type of diets. They’re typically a bit more sensitive and fussy dogs, and those that get really spoiled and might get a lot of sugary treats, and that sort of thing as well. So, the lifestyle that we give them, and the way we treat and feed them also has a very big impact on dental disease.
Scott: Lifestyle of small dogs would vary quite a bit from large dogs, and in my experience like your large dogs, typically — they are more outside, they are more active.
Dr. Kevin: Yes.
Scott: They are bigger — just the space issue and alone being inside a house–
Dr. Kevin: Yes. It is just not practical to have a 60-kilogram Rottweiler sitting on your lap, where some of the small breed dogs, typically, are very much lap dogs. So, something like little Maltese Terriers — they certainly love to be up on laps, Bichons are another small breed that do that. Others that are more hyperactive, something like Jack Russells and Fox Terriers, they are not so much lap dogs, but they certainly fit into that small breed category as well.
Scott: Yes. Now, I know — this is probably something — is a much bigger topic that we can get into, but you have to correct me if I am saying this wrong, but the Brachycephalic dogs — first of all, explain what Brachycephalic is, what does it mean, and which sort of breeds are we talking about?
Dr. Kevin: A lot of our popular breeds are what we refer to as Brachycephalic. Brachycephalic simply means short skull, so cephalic is anything for the skull or the head, and “Brachy” means short. So, we’re thinking of breeds like pugs even Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are Brachycephalic. Something like a Boston Terrier is a Brachycephalic breed. So, they have problems because of the squished in, or squashed face, typically, in the back of their throat.
Their nostrils are often also very narrowed, and they can have, breathing problems are very common, unfortunately, and it is called Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Disease, and that causes a lot of breathing problems. That is probably a classic example of something that would be good to delve into a lot more, what people can do, what people can look out for when selecting a puppy, and how to go about exercising those sorts of dogs, what they can do to help them with that — it is quite a deep topic for us to look into.
Scott: Well, we have to thank one of our guest listeners — Sam Hemi was someone that actually shot through that question to ask about some of the smaller breeds with Brachycephalic. So, let us table that one because it is a bigger topic for another day. But it is a fair percentage of the small dog category that this really covers, doesn’t it?
Dr. Kevin: Absolutely, it really does. But it is interesting, it does go across a lot of the breed sizes. So, all our bulldogs, and French bulldogs, and English bulldogs, they are quintessential Brachycephalic breeds, and they would probably be more into our medium breeds. But then, you get dogs like Boxers and Bullmastiffs, which are also Brachycephalic, but they are–
Scott: Boston Terriers.
Dr. Kevin: The Boston’s are the small — in the small size, and then these others like Boxers and Bullmastiffs and Neapolitans, they are also Brachycephalic, but very large breed. But yes, we see more of the airway problems of the small and medium ones, so definitely a good topic to chat about another time.
Scott: So, let’s work around the body of a small dog. And we talked about the — sort of, the mouth and the teeth, and then we have got the Brachycephalic with the face and the squish nose — as lot of people would, sort of, refer to it as we work our way down the body, hips, and knees like — typically, big dogs are associated with a lot more of the Hip Dysplasia in the–
Dr. Kevin: Correct. A lot of them — a lot of the orthopedic problems are often with the bigger dogs.
An orthopedic problem that smaller breeds are more prone to is called Luxating Patella. And what that is, is when their knee cap slips out of the groove that it should be in. Sometimes, that might be very mild, and not really cause them a problem. We actually grade it from 1 to 4, and grades 1 and 2, the dogs can often cope and it’s not painful, so they do not even need painkillers.
But grades three and four nearly, always will need some surgery to correct that because what that essentially means is that the patella slips out of its groove more times than it stays in. And so, then, that really creates difficulties — causes them to limp. They can’t jump so well, and that sort of, thing. So that is something they are prone to.
Scott: That would be something very visible to a dog owner. They would see–
Dr. Kevin: Yes. But although, it’s because of the structure and the way that their body is shaped when they — even from when they are born. They typically don’t show any problems often until they might be two or even three years of age, because often they are coping, and then because of the poor alignment, one of the ligaments that, sort of, holds it in place might get stretched, or strained, or even torn. And then, suddenly, the kneecap is no longer staying in place. So, it can be a bit of a wear and tear thing, but it’s not necessarily associated with old age. It is typically young — the young end of the age spectrum.
Scott: Yes. Okay. All right.
Dr. Kevin: But, perhaps, maybe we should even jump back to the head as we go down the body because, unfortunately, something that causes quite a lot of problems, and it can be a little bit breed related, but all dogs — but especially small breed dogs, can have — suffered a lot with ear infections. It is probably one of the more common things that we see dogs on a day-to-day basis. We will see numerous dogs with an ear infection on every day.
Scott: Is there a reason for that?
Dr. Kevin: Sometimes it is the anatomy. Those dogs that have got, sort of, floppy ears, something like a Cavalier King Charles. Ventilation — you can’t — there is a lot of hair around, and the ear flops down and closes the ear opening whereas something with more upright ears, something like a chihuahua, or so, or Fox Terrier. It is easier to get ventilation into the ears.
Dr. Kevin: We all make earwax, and that’s dogs included as well. That accumulation of earwax is a nice substrate for things like yeasts to grow in. Dogs that enjoy swimming get water down in their ears, but they can also get it down there when they are bathed. And just living in high humidity environments, as well predisposes them. So, the ear is a perfect place for infections to grow. It’s dark, it’s damp, it’s warm, and then a bit moist, and poor air flow. So, that’s the right criteria for things like bacteria and yeast to grow.
Dr. Kevin: So, very common.
Scott: Do Chihuahuas suffer with it much, or which breeds are suffering with it the most? How would you — what do you see through the clinic?
Dr. Kevin: Probably not so much Chihuahuas, but breeds like Shih Tzu’s, and Maltesers, Bichons — quite often the ears that flop down. It is something that will come up in the larger breeds as well, that also something like a Labrador that swims a lot. We see a lot of ear infections with them as well.
Scott: High fur.
Dr. Kevin: Yes. A lot of fur. So, unfortunately, a lot of the poodle breeds, so, you know, a standard poodle is not a small breed, but we get — just as you were saying, there is the teacup, and miniature breeds like Miniature poodles. They, unfortunately, can suffer a lot with ear infections because they actually have a lot of hair growing in their ear, so it is difficult for that wax and the discharge from the infection.
So, across the spectrum, they all can suffer with that, and it’s really something that the sooner — by the time an owner has noticed that their dog is shaking its head, or having a problem, or they have noticed the smell, that infections probably been smoldering for a while. So, it’s something I would really urge people not to think that any home remedies were going to help.
Ear infections can be very very frustrating (in small dogs). They keep recurring. (TWEET)
The earlier we get on to it, and the more thorough we are in treating it — it may take two or three weeks of some return visits to their vet. And not to stop treating until the vet has been able to really be sure that the infection is fully gone because the ear will look a lot better when it might be 90% improved. But that 10% or even 5% of infection we leave behind will smolder and in two weeks’ time, the ear infection will be back.
Scott: What can a dog owner do from a prevention point of view, or just ongoing general maintenance for their dog to prevent this sort of stuff?
Dr. Kevin: So, those small breeds that do have continually growing hair like poodles, and that sort of thing, regular grooming, and getting the groomer to trim the hair short around the opening of the ears, underneath the flap of the ears really helps a lot. It improves that ventilation. And then, routine ear cleaning. So, you can get ear cleaners. They are not a prescription product. They are various quality ones. So, often getting one through a vet is going to be, A: a safer and B: an effective product, but also pet stores stock good quality ear cleaners as well. And using that, say on a weekly basis, can really help.
It is just about the hygiene of that ear flushing out that earwax. So, these cleaners breakdown earwax and help to flush it. We do have to be careful not to overdo it because you can actually wet the ear more, and if it stays constantly damp, then we damage the skin inside the ear canal, and that actually makes them more prone to infection. So, probably, once a week to even once a fortnight is quite adequate depending on your dog’s individual’s conditions.
Scott: Is there a correlation with ear infections and the constant problems associated with ears like this that might result in hearing loss, for example, with dogs.
Dr. Kevin: Unfortunately, yes. Not commonly, but if it spreads — so, when we talking about ear infections, it is technically an outer ear infection. And then, you get a middle ear infection, and an inner ear infection, and they are often associated with more pain, and they can have loss of balance, and that sort of thing.
So, that is the consequence of a long-standing untreated outer ear infection can become more of a severe inner ear infection. They’re not as common. But it is a good reason to get on top of your inner ear infection, but there is a link, also, unfortunately with skin allergies, and that is something else that small breeds of dogs are very prone to is itchy skins.
Dr. Kevin: Never forgetting that actually, the ear is part of the skin. Even down inside the ear, that’s actually lined by skin. So, dogs that have skin allergies are prone to getting more ear infections, and small breed dogs, unfortunately — one of the very common things that they suffer from is skin allergies.
Scott: Any particular breeds more prone?
Dr. Kevin: Not particularly. I think, again, some of the small white fluffies as we refer to them as — so, Maltesers. Maltese Terriers and Maltese crosses, and Bichons and Shih Tzu’s. Yes, they do suffer. But it’s across the spectrum, really, that we get a lot of skin allergy problems.
Here in southeast Queensland, we are probably in the capital of skin allergies because the climate is right. We have plants growing and flowering all year round. It is a — there’s less of a seasonal change. And the subtropical climates, that number of plants that have pollen and grasses — grasses are a big culprit unfortunately.
So, you — we cannot really wrap our dogs in cotton wool and keep them isolated. Even indoor apartment dogs, because a lot of these things are airborne. it could be from blossoms and pollen, one or two kilometers away that are airborne. So, these allergies actually are breathed in a lot of the time, and then cause them to react. So, in humans, the equivalent condition is probably hay fever.
Dr. Kevin: And it gives us stream–
Scott: You’re talking to one…
Dr. Kevin: Yes. It gives us runny eyes and runny nose, and those sort of, symptoms. In dogs, one of the first symptoms of itchiness from things that they have breathed in is itchy paws. So, licking and chewing at their feet is actually not necessarily because of what their feet have touched and walked on, it can be a bit, but it is also from things that are breathed in, and that seems to be the part of the body that they react in being itchy first.
Scott: So, that skin in reaction at the ends of the paws.
Dr. Kevin: Absolutely.
Scott: Yes. Okay. What else do we need to know? Any other general stuff for — before we maybe talk about some breed-specific?
Dr. Kevin: Unfortunately, a lot of the smaller breeds, for various different reasons, suffer from types of anxiety, and separation anxiety is a big common one, unfortunately, with them, they may not be quite as robust as other breeds.
And often, I think, a part that leads to it with small breed of dogs is that when they are young, it is so easy to take them everywhere with them. So, my best bit of advice there is when you are getting a young puppy is actually teach it to learn to be alone for some of the time. Don’t take it everywhere. It is easy to pop them in the car and take it here and there, and that is good for their socialization. But if they get to 16-18 weeks of age, and that is suddenly the first time that you’ve now got to go somewhere where you cannot take your pup with you.
They suddenly feel this abandonment. Where you see, if they have actually learnt that sometimes you leave them, and you come back, and that is a normal part of life, they’re far less likely to get separation anxiety. And attending a good puppy preschool when they are very young can help a lot, and that that is another topic that can be discussed in a lot more detail.
Scott: Yes. You can just leave them at home in the handbag (Joke of course!).
Dr. Kevin: Yes, absolutely.
Scott: No. That makes sense.
Dr. Kevin. Another comment–
Scott: So, truly a training thing, though, separation anxiety as much as–
Dr. Kevin: Well, it is an actual, you know — it might be an actual medical or chemical imbalance in the brain. It is a mental illness, so you can do everything right when you are raising a puppy, and unfortunately, may still have either generalized anxiety or separation anxiety. But there is a lot that we can do to really minimize it and help to try and prevent it.
Scott: Yes. Yes.
Dr. Kevin: But another very common one I was saying that ears and skin problems keep us very busy all year round. But it is tummy upsets, so vomiting or diarrhea.
Dr. Kevin: will be another very common reason why we see dogs, and small breed dogs tend to be quite prone to that as well.
Scott: Okay. Reason why?
Dr Kevin: Multiple reasons, but often they might be scrounging different bits of food on a walk, pick up something they shouldn’t have, licked or sniffed at something and picked up a bug that way around
Scott: Given even the high attention they get from humans where we, you know, we have them by our side on our lap a lot more, is the food and what humans are feeding them as some of the snacks and stuff contributing to this tummy…?
Dr. Kevin: Certainly, cannot be because dogs actually best designed to have the same food day in and day out. It might seem very boring to us, but their digestive system gets used to a particular food, and then having something different. So, it might just be the leftovers from our meal, or a treat that we suddenly give them, or even a sudden change of the brand of food that you’re using, and it might be moving from–
Scott: That simple.
Dr. Kevin. That’s a very common one.
It might be as simple as moving from a poor or medium quality brand of food, and you actually feel you are doing the right thing, and you get a really high good quality food, and suddenly you have caused diarrhea — more commonly diarrhea than vomiting.
And the secret there is any change of food to do it very gradually, over about a six or seven-day period, wean them off the old food and slowly introduce, 25% at a time in increments, introduce the new food. (TWEET)
Not only, so they accept it better just from the smell and taste, but also that their gut accepts it.
Scott: That is a great tip. Really good tip. Love it. What else’ve we got for — well, we’ve got some notes here. This is unusual for us.
Dr. Kevin: I think, we have covered the most common things that really, that small dogs can be prone to. They can be — they can, unfortunately, be victims that come off a bit worse if there is a dog fight, you know.
Dr. Kevin: A Rottweiler versus a Maltese — no guesses as to who is going to have the worst injuries. So, occasionally, in that — and when I was preparing — and my wife is also a vet, and discussing with her about this, we joked and said — you know, well, what do small dog suffer from? Short man’s disease.
Dr. Kevin: Some of them can be the cockiest little dogs.
Dr. Kevin: And that can lead to fights and problems. But again, they may not be the breed that you are going to go and win an obedience championship with because they are very strong-willed.
They can be difficult dogs to train because they are very smart, and they just want to do their own thing. They are not your typical Golden Retriever or Border Collie that is a super obedient and going to be an obedience champion, and that sort of thing. But it is still worth, definitely, from a socialization point of view, getting them used to a bigger dog coming, that they don’t see it as a threat because sometimes they are their own worst enemy.
They start growling when they see a big dog coming towards them. The bigger dogs, maybe they say, I am not taking this nonsense from you.
Dr. Kevin: Or, whatever the communications are going on. The bigger dog sees it as a threat, and he just feels he is either protecting him or herself, or their owner. And next thing we have got a fight, and it was actually started by the little one really getting over anxious, and displaying aggressive behavior towards that bigger dog. And yes. No guesses who is then going to come off worse?
Scott: French Bulldogs are a lot like that too. I noticed we had a neighbor that was a breeder of French bulldogs and lived at the back of us was a beautiful dog park. It was amazing. And socializing French — but they are terrible with other dogs, unless they can be socialized.
Dr. Kevin: But they can also be the friendliest with other dogs as well. I really call French Bulldogs, they are humans dressed in fur clothing because they have such personalities and characters. But absolutely they can also be really cocky, and really trying to give it to bigger dogs, and cause trouble that way.
Scott: Yes. And trouble for themselves.
Dr. Kevin: Absolutely.
Scott: Yes. What about — well, anything else — I guess, probably, any particular — is there any particular breeds that have just a really unique problem that sort of occurs throughout their life that dog owners might need to be aware of?
Particularly… we have seen this period of COVID where a lot of people are getting dogs. Now, a pet adoption in that, and dog adoptions are just through the roof, globally. But if you are looking to select a dog, what might be a good way to look at some of the pros and cons of a dog? I mean, what they typically suffer from?
Dr. Kevin: I think, it is important that if people are choosing a dog that they really research that breed, and just about every breed – there is no one breed that will not have some problems. (TWEET)
But some are bit more prone than others, and there are certainly ones that we think, you know, and something unfortunately like “Frenchie’s”. We look at them and think — they are, from a medical point of view, a bit of a disaster, unfortunately, they have so many different problems, spinal problems, we have chatted about the breathing problems. They are prone to food allergies, skin allergies, with pollens, and that, sort of, thing.
Dr. Kevin: But probably, a quintessential example that would come to mind is the Dachshunds and their propensity to having slipped discs. So, that is rare. You know, we definitely see disc problems in lots of other breeds, but that is a characteristic of their breed to have that long back that really makes them at risk of having a slipped disc, unfortunately. So, that is a classic one.
Scott: So, what can a dog owner do about that? I mean–
Dr. Kevin: Yes.
Scott: Prevention wise, or is there–
Dr. Kevin: One of the best preventions is to not let your dog get overweight because if it is carrying more weight, that puts some much more strain on that spine, and then also teaching calm behavior. (TWEET)
From the beginning, you can’t, you know — a slipped disc seldom happens under a year of age, and even two or three, it’s uncommon. It is more of a middle-aged to senior dogs. Bit of wear and tear. But you cannot suddenly expect your dog to change its activity habits when it is five years old.
So, teaching them from the very beginning that, you know, not to encourage them jumping on and off things because they are actually very agile athletic little dogs, and they tear around as puppies.
But if they get into that habit of running on and off furniture, jumping down, and that, sort of, thing. They still want to do that when they are five years old, and that is the time when they are going to suddenly slip a disc. Is doing some activity like that. So, if you teach them that that, sort of, behavior is not so acceptable. They can still have a full happy life, and running around this town. That is just — not encouraging a lot of jumping, or not trying to do — say like agility work, you know, it is just not the right breed.
If you want to get into that with your dog, you would rather look at something like a Border Collie is going to be your bread to do that.
Scott: Sure. It makes total sense. Look, this has been such an enlightening episode, and look small dogs are popular for very good reason. There are so many beautiful dogs, you know. And some of the some of the mixed breeds that are now becoming designer breeds, also incredibly beautiful. I think it is a great topic, a good one to be aware of. We look forward if there are any specific questions people have, remember to just jump on our Facebook pages and fire a question through. Dr. Kevin will do his best to answer all these as best as he can. Is there anything you want to mention to wrap up on this for small dogs?
Dr. Kevin: So, I guess, one thing I was just thinking as you were talking there is that a good resource really, if you are considering getting a dog, have a chat to your local vet.
Even the nurses there, they will often be able to give you some very good advice, especially if you have got a short list of a couple of breeds that you like. It is a lot of personal choice, really, when you are selecting a dog.
But then, once you’ve done your bit of research, have a chat with them, whether they feel that is suitable for the area where you live, if it is suitable for your lifestyle, and what they feel about the risks.
And with any breed of dog, I would strongly encourage people to look into pet insurance.
You know, we have chatted about all these types of problems and unfortunately, the majority of them are they are all very chronic things that they can have ongoing costs, if you are unfortunate enough for your dog to have that sort of thing, or potentially extremely costly as well. So, very worthwhile.
Scott: I was reading an article this week at the average dog, and I do not know if this is, sort of, particular to any sort of small or larger breed, but average dog, regardless what you pay for it upfront, average costs across their life is approximately $23,000. And it probably sounds like a good ballpark–
Dr. Kevin: I would think so.
Scott: Food, vet bills and insurance across the life of a dog. That is–
Dr. Kevin: I would even suggest, depending on how lucky or unlucky you are, that that might be quite a conservative estimate, actually. If we are factoring in feeding and veterinary costs, and you know for unexpected things, so yes.
Scott: Just quickly to wrap this up, but if you are looking at a new dog, and maybe there is a topic for a whole other subject to the podcast as well. But the health conditions be one, temperament would be another thing you have at researching–
Dr. Kevin: Very much.
Scott: What else would you throw in as maybe a list of four or five things that you should be looking at?
Dr. Kevin: Well, looking if, you know, what — how much maintenance are you prepared to be involved with? So, some — a lot of breeds of dogs need regular grooming. It would be like every six weeks, and if that is not something you’re into — then look at a breed that does not need that because there is plenty of other breeds that also do not — never need grooming. Maybe just need an occasional bath at home.
Dr. Kevin: So, that is certainly something to consider–
Scott: I was going to say, exercise will be a bigger one because you have got to consider your own lifestyle then, and the amount of time you can put into a dog. If you have got a really active dog, and it is going to need that walk every day, make sure that that is probably something that you already, kind of, do.
Dr. Kevin: Yes.
Scott: Otherwise, you probably need to lean towards a more placid and–
Dr. Kevin: And some dogs are going to — also, whether you are home a lot or whether you — they are going to be on their own a lot, some dogs cope better — a lot better with that than others. And you know, if you end up by looking at all of that that, a dog is not necessarily suitable for you…I know this is the Dog Pod. But a cat can make a really good pet as well.
Dr. Kevin: A cat can be a really good pet as well. And they are very independent, can be on their own for long periods of time, do not need exercise. And there are some cats that have personalities.
Scott: My skin just crawled. Because I am so allergic to cats.
Dr. Kevin: But you can have some — there are some cat breeds that actually have some characteristic traits, very much like dogs anyway, as well.
Scott: Yes, absolutely.
Dr. Kevin: But no. There are so many choices of dog breeds out there that you can eventually find one that can match your, sort of, lifestyle.
Scott: Yes. Fantastic. Well, Dr. Kevin Cruickshank, thanks very much again for joining us, you’re a wealth of knowledge and we love having you on the podcast. Thank you.
Dr. Kevin: Oh, it has been a great chat. Thanks.
Scott: See you in the next one.
Dr. Kevin: See you.