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Older Dog FAQ part 7

Older Dog Frequently Asked Questions - Part 7

Which breeds tend to have the greatest incidence of pyorrhea (bone degeneration), leading to loss of teeth? The two breeds with the most frequent incidence of periodontal disease are the Dachshunds and Schnauzers. The host resistance factor seems to be lower in these breeds.

How septic is a dog's mouth? Since bacteria do not break through the body's protective barrier, namely the skin, we needn't worry about having a dog lick us and our subsequently contracting a disease. However, from the point of aesthetics, dogs do sniff every conceivable pile or puddle of excrement deposited in the streets by other dogs, so many people may deem it ill-advised to allow a dog to lick them on the mouth. This choice is entirely personal. The people who sleep with their dogs usually allow all manner of familiarity, including kissing.

What are ear hematomas and what causes them? Usually a hematoma is precipitated by irritation of some sort within the ear or upon the ear flap. The dog tries to ease the annoyance by shaking his head, frequently hitting his ears against solid objects and rupturing the veins of the ears. This causes internal bleeding, which collects in a swelling beneath the skin until the blood clots. Hematomas can reabsorb, but the dog winds up with a cauliflower ear. The surgery performed for ear hematomas is cosmetic, not crucial to the dog's health.

How does one dog react to the death of another dog in the family? This can be very personally traumatic for a dog. Just as some dogs will refuse to eat, and subsequently will starve to death, after the death of their master, the emotional affinity can be exceedingly strong between one family pet and another.

Should a new puppy be introduced into a family with the older dog? This is advised against this for several reasons. The older dog may bully the younger pup, causing permanent damage to the pup's personality. Also, the older dog may feel forced to compete, resenting strongly the presence of this newcomer. An older dog, in resentment, may try to hurt, or even kill, the new puppy, causing a tragedy that you can well live without. Sometimes the older dog gets a more acute awareness of his age and debilities, causing him undue stress and unhappiness. On the plus side, some older dogs have been known to become rejuvenated by a new canine family member. A sedate older dog can sometimes act as a calming influence upon a young boisterous puppy. Chewing and barking problems are sometimes lessened when anxiety is diminished through companionship. But, here again, it is just as possible for a new dog to pick up bad habits from an older dog, as it is likely that he will pick up the good habits. We advise that you do both yourself and your dog a service by not introducing a new puppy into the family until such time as your present devoted companion has passed away.

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