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The Swiss Hound, a dog with a robust and enduring appearance

The Swiss Hound is an animal that develops natural hunting skills, with a robust and enduring gait. It comes in four main varieties: the Bruno du Jura, the Bernese Hound, the Schwyz Hound and the Lucerne Hound. Let's discover the particularities of the breed.

Characteristics of the Swiss Hound

The Swiss Hound develops harmonious proportions with a medium size, floppy ears, a long muzzle, an enduring style and much nobility. The females measure between 47 and 57 cm and the males between 49 and 59 cm for an approximate weight of 20 kg. The head of the dog is convex, elongated, narrow and dry, with an accentuated stop, but without any exaggeration. The ears are set low and back, drooping and distinguished by their corkscrew character and wrinkled texture. The dog's eyes are generally oval and brown in color, in keeping with its coat. There are four different types of dogs: the Bernese Hound with a white coat marked with fawn and black patches, the Jura Hound with a solid brown coat with a black mantle and tan patches on the cheeks, under the eyes and on the lower parts of the body, the Lucerne Hound with a white coat punctuated with gray and blue spots and the Schwyz Hound with white saddles or orange fawn markings.

History of the Swiss Hound

The Swiss Hound has very ancient origins since it would have made its appearance in ancient Egypt, in the Nile Valley. It would have been brought in the Swiss Alps and in the Valley of the Rhone by the Roman legions. It has known a dazzling success in France since the XVIIIth century because of its strong capacities in the hunting of hare. This breed also conquered the hearts of the Italians and there was even a time when it was called Italian Hound. The establishment of the first standard is early and dates back to 1882. At that time, the Thurgau Hound was one of the Swiss Hound varieties. But after the modification of the final standard in 1933, it was removed.

Living conditions and behavior of the Swiss Hound

The Swiss Hound excels at hunting big game, shooting and hunting foxes and hares. Being able to evolve on difficult grounds, it is appreciated for its endurance, its courage and its full of energy making it tireless. At home, it brilliantly assumes the role of companion dog thanks to its gentleness, calm and affection. It is not reserved towards strangers and is welcoming, which is why it does not make the best guard dog in the world.

Diet and main health problems of the Swiss Hound

The Swiss Hound can live up to 13 years. It is an animal that shines for its robustness and is spared from hereditary diseases. To stay in shape, it just needs a diet in accordance with its physical exercises, its age and its health.

The Slovensky Cuvac, Slovak Shepherd Dog or Slovak Chouvatch

Typical mountain dog, the Slovak Shepherd has a very old origin. It is often confused with the Pyrenean Shepherd. This dog reminds of the polar bear thanks to its beautiful immaculate white coat and its massive size. Protective and powerful, it is docile and affectionate.

Characteristics of the Slovensky Cuvac

It is recognizable by its massive aspect giving him an air of big teddy bear. The Slovensky Cuvac has a solid bone structure and his imposing size allows him to face predators attacking the herds he guards. The females measure between 59 and 65 cm while the males are between 62 and 70 cm for a weight of 31 to 44 kg according to the sex and the age. This sheepdog has a harmonious head in relation to the body since it is also large and solid. The skull is rather flat and the stop is not very accentuated. The muzzle ends in a black nose. The scissor-like teeth and the powerful jaw are other specific features. The animal has oval shaped eyes revealing a nice brown color that highlights an expressive look. The ears are set high on the head and rather drooping. They can reach the level of the dog's mouth. The Slovensky Cuvac has a long coat except on the head and limbs where the hair is short. The coat is exclusively white.

History of the Slovensky Cuvac breed

The Slovensky Cuvac comes from the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. It is a very old breed which would have as ancestor the arctic wolves living in the Asian and Eastern European mountain regions. It was used as a guardian of flocks and herds to protect them from formidable enemies such as wolves and bears. It is not necessary to trust the aspect "big cushy" of this powerful and courageous breed able to face the most dangerous predators. Only the white color was chosen during its selection to be able to differentiate it easily from wild animals. In Slovakia, the Slovensky Cuvac is registered as a traditional heritage along with the huçul horse. Despite its popularity in its native country, it is rare elsewhere, especially.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Slovensky Cuvac

The Slovensky Cuvac is ideal for guarding. It is protective, bold, vigilant and fearless. Thanks to his strong build and barking, he develops a very deterrent air. He can be relied upon as a companion dog. He is gentle, affectionate, calm and a good playmate for children. It has no hunting instinct, which makes it easy to live with small animals. The dog also tolerates solitude and is independent, a character it shares with most mountain dogs.

Diet and main health problems of the Slovensky Cuvac

Like all large dogs, the Slovensky Cuvac can suffer from hip dysplasia. All precautions should be taken to prevent him from developing this disease. As far as food is concerned, meals adapted to his physical activities, age and health will do the trick.

Urinary stones in dogs: causes, symptoms and treatment

Urinary stones in dogs are quite common and painful because the urinary system is blocked by small stones. In any case, one should not neglect this pathology, to which some dog breeds are more predisposed than others. But any dog is likely to suffer from urinary stones one day. If left untreated, the consequences on the animal's health can be serious. Let's take a look at what causes urolithiasis, what are the symptoms that indicate the presence of these small stones in the urinary tract of your dog and what treatment is possible.

Urinary stones in dogs: the main causes

A urinary stone is a pebble that forms in the urinary system. It is caused by a change in the hydrogen potential (pH) of the urine, which leads to the accumulation of small crystals. These crystals agglomerate into stones that can reside in the bladder and block it, but also in the ureter, in the urethra and even in the kidneys.

There are different causes of urinary stones:
  • Too much urine concentration, which is why it is important to ensure that the dog drinks enough and that his diet is balanced so that he urinates enough,
  • A diet rich in acidifying foods that promote the formation of stones, which is particularly the case with offal,
  • Certain renal anomalies,
  • A bacterial infection in the bladder,
  • A tumor of the parathyroid gland, whose role (among others) is to regulate the level of phosphorus and calcium in the blood.
It should be noted that diet is a factor that should not be neglected because if it is unbalanced, it can lead to the formation of various stones such as struvites, calcium oxalates, cystines and ammonium urates.

Urinary stones can affect all dogs, young and old, and all breeds, but it is important to know that some breeds are more genetically predisposed to them, such as the Dalmatian, the Dachshund, the Golden Retriever, the German Shepherd, the Poodle, the Yorkshire, the Bichon Frisé, the Australian Shepherd or the French Bulldog...

Urinary calculi: symptoms that should alert you

We can suspect the presence of a urinary lithiasis when the dog presents the following symptoms
  • Difficulties to urinate,
  • Blood in the urine,
  • Pain during urination,
  • Uncleanliness because the dog can no longer hold its urine.
It is not necessary to wait to consult.

Treatment of urinary stones in dogs

It is essential to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you suspect the presence of urinary stones, because they can cause chronic cystitis. Even more seriously, urolithiasis leads to kidney failure if the dog is not treated.

In order to implement the necessary treatment protocol - including, of course, an appropriate diet - the chemical composition of the urinary stone must be analyzed to identify the cause. This is also fundamental to prevent recurrence. The palpation of the bladder is complemented by a battery of essential additional tests and examinations, such as a urine analysis, a blood test, an X-ray or an ultrasound of the urinary system.

Treatment is decided on a case-by-case basis. It can be based on :
  • The placement of a catheter associated with a specific diet, allowing the dissolution of the stones. This is the solution that is generally chosen in cases of struvite stones.
  • A cystotomy, which is a surgical procedure consisting of cleaning the bladder after emptying it. This solution is essential if the dog has calcium oxalate stones because they do not reabsorb by themselves.
  • Resting the dog.
Regardless of the cause of the stones, it is important to ensure that the dog drinks enough. It is also recommended to limit dry food such as kibble and to prefer wet food (e.g. mash). However, it is possible to give your pet medical kibble that regulates the pH of the bladder. This will limit the risk of crystals forming.

It is better not to decide without medical advice to change your dog's diet by replacing one food with another or by giving it a mineral supplement, for example, because this is detrimental to the animal. The veterinarian must evaluate the dog's dietary needs since they depend on the dog's lifestyle, age, health, weight and breed.

Intestinal obstruction in dogs: causes, symptoms and treatment

Whether young or old, dogs can suffer from intestinal obstruction. It is a frequent health problem in these pets and its seriousness should not be ignored. At the slightest symptom, it is essential to consult a veterinarian as a matter of urgency because this obstruction can be fatal if care is not taken within a very short time. Zoom on intestinal obstruction, its different forms, its causes, its manifestations, the treatments considered and the means to avoid it as much as possible.

What is intestinal obstruction and what causes it?

A bowel obstruction occurs when the bowel functions only partially or not at all. Fecal matter is mechanically blocked.

The intestinal obstruction presents itself in two distinct forms, namely
  • The intestinal sub-occlusion which is a partial occlusion: the intestinal transit of the dog is blocked only partially, the animal being able to evacuate a small quantity of stools. It can be caused by a foreign body of moderate size or when the digestive tunics interlock. In this case, a succession of intestinal coves can be seen on imaging.
  • Total intestinal obstruction: the transit is totally blocked, the dog does not evacuate its stools anymore. Again, this can be caused by the ingestion of a foreign body which remains blocked in the small intestine for example. But other causes are possible, such as
    • The accumulation of a large volume of fecal matter in the intestine: this is called fecal impaction,
    • A contamination of the intestine by parasites (intestinal worms),
    • A hematoma,
    • An umbilical hernia,
    • A large tumor.

Intestinal occlusion: symptoms

Of brutal appearance, the symptoms which must alert the owner of the animal are the following:
  • Excessive salivation,
  • A decrease in appetite,
  • Diarrhea, sometimes very liquid and/or bloody,
  • Constipation,
  • The almost total cessation of stool emission,
  • Weak vomiting at the beginning, which intensifies thereafter and exhales a fecal odor,
  • A great fatigue,
  • A distension of the abdomen,
  • A perceptible mass on palpation of the belly,
  • Abdominal pain that the dog tries to relieve by adopting a particular position, i.e. the hindquarters in the air and the front legs lying on the ground (this is called the prayer position).
If one or more of these signs are observed, the dog should be taken to the veterinary clinic or office as soon as possible.

Bowel obstruction in dogs: treatment

Because a dog with a bowel obstruction may be life-threatening, it is essential that the dog be examined by the veterinarian and treated. In order to make a diagnosis, the veterinarian will palpate the abdomen, then perform an ultrasound or an X-ray, and even take a blood sample to check the possible repercussions of the obstruction on the general state of his little patient.

The treatment must favour the intestinal transit. It is therefore initially limited to a lubricant in the form of medication. In the most serious cases, especially in the case of total intestinal obstruction, it may be necessary to perform a surgical intervention. The dog is first anesthetized and then undergoes an enterostomy. The foreign body responsible for the damage is removed through an incision in the intestine or stomach.

However, it can also happen that the foreign body is stuck in the upper part of the digestive tract. In this case, the veterinarian performs an endoscopy. He introduces a mini-camera into the mouth of the dog and then inserts it into the throat, esophagus, etc. This investigation allows to visualize and identify the foreign body and to localize its position. Thanks to a forceps it can be removed. After the operation, the dog is rehydrated for a few hours by means of a perfusion.

Finally, when the occlusion is due to a tumor or other cause, a very specific care protocol is obviously decided by the veterinarian in a personalized way.

Afterwards, the dog must be able to follow a diet adapted to the veterinarian's prescription. This allows the animal to eat only particularly digestible food. The goal is to rebalance the intestinal transit. When the time comes to give the dog a normal diet, the change of diet must be done gradually to avoid any disturbance in the digestive system.

In order to promote the proper functioning of your dog's intestines, it is imperative to limit the sedentary lifestyle as much as possible. The animal must be able to exercise on a daily basis because physical activity favors intestinal transit and consequently limits the risks of obstruction. Of course, it is important to be vigilant and avoid that he swallows toys or parts of plastic toys, pieces of string or bones for example, because this can lead to a partial or total intestinal obstruction.

Caution should be taken with puppies who may ingest substances or objects of any kind, as it is largely with their mouths that they discover their environment. Finally, since large dogs can ingest larger volumes than small dogs, they are more at risk of intestinal obstruction due to a foreign body.

The Maltese, a small dog with an immaculate white coat

Its immaculate white coat attracts all the attention. Even more, the Maltese seduces for its small face and its reduced size. But don't be fooled by appearances. Behind its touching air, this ball of hair has temperament.

Characteristics of the Maltese

The Maltese stands out right away by its small size. The males are between 21 and 25 cm and the females between 20 and 23 cm for a weight between 3 and 4 kg for both sexes. It has a large head with drooping ears in the shape of a triangle that are carried high on the skull. The eyes are dark, round and small. Another distinctive feature of the Maltese is its pure white coat. However, it can also be pale ivory. The hairs are very long and of an incomparable brilliance. They are smooth and very soft. In some dogs, they can reach a length of 20 cm.

History of the Maltese breed

Contrary to what one might think, the Maltese is a very old breed. Its origins date back to antiquity. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) already mentioned him at the time, calling him "canes melitenses" which means "Maltese dog" in French. Another version tells that this dog takes its name from the Phoenician word "malàt" which means "port" and which is a name used in Melita, a Sicilian city. The breed is the result of crossbreeding between the Miniature Poodle and the Italian Bichon. However, there would be so many uncertainties about the true origins of this breed that knowing the true starting point would be difficult.

Living requirements and behavior of the Maltese

The Maltese is a pet dog par excellence. This does not prevent it from needing to go for walks every day for at least half an hour. Remember to protect your dog when the temperature drops, as he has trouble with the cold. As he is small, he will have no problem living in an apartment.

But before taking in a Maltese, it is important to know its character to avoid unpleasant surprises. Despite its small size, this dog has a temperament and can sometimes be proud and even sensitive. Some defects that we tend nevertheless to forget quickly in front of its cracking ball. The Maltese is also lively and intelligent.

Food and main health problems of the Maltese

As it is a rather dynamic animal, it needs an energetic diet based on cereals, rice, fish, meats, carrots or green vegetables. Its meals must be rich in calcium, vitamins and proteins. With the right diet, the Maltese can live a long life up to 12 years. In any case, this breed is not prone to specific diseases. It is simply necessary to pay attention to the eye problems like otitis as well as the dental pains in particular at the level of the gums.

The Doberman, a very athletic and racy dog

Contrary to popular belief, the Dobermann or Dobermann Pinscher is not that dog with excessive aggression. It is a gentle and faithful companion dog with exceptional strength and courage. His family will have the best protection with him.

Characteristics of the Doberman

Elegance and strength are the two elements that characterize the body of the Doberman. All the grace of its posture and its power also distinguish it. This breed has an elongated head with a wide muzzle and jaws, as well as large, high-set ears that - since 2008 - are no longer allowed to be cropped according to a European convention except for curative reasons. The same applies to the tail, which is set high and can no longer be clipped either. The eyes are oval, of medium size and dark color.

The hair is short, smooth and tight. The coat can have four colors: blue and tan, brown and tan, black and tan and isabella and tan.

History of the Doberman breed

Historically, the breed was born in Germany under the impulse of Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. As a tax collector, he needed dogs to guard and defend himself. It is said that the Doberman is the result of a hybridization between several breeds, including the Great Dane, the Thuringian Shepherd, the Rottweiller, the Manchester Terrier and the Greyhound. After his death, other breeders continued to refine the breed, as the one created by Karl Fridrich Louis Dobermann was rather coarse. It was not until 1900 that the first standard was established.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Doberman

Contrary to popular belief, the Doberman is a friendly, gentle, loyal, proud and intelligent dog. In fact, its character depends on the education and socialization it has received. The liveliness and speed of the animal require a responsible, firm master who knows the ins and outs of dog training. Indeed, the Doberman - in addition to its strong temperament - tends to be dominant.

It prefers to live in a cozy indoor cocoon rather than outside. They can live in apartments as long as they get regular exercise. The Doberman is athletic and energetic and needs to exercise. A sporty master will suit him perfectly. What he hates: solitude and agitation. Despite this, he will be happy in families with children, with whom he is particularly gentle.

Food and main health problems of the Doberman

The Doberman does not appreciate humidity or cold. Despite its robust nature, it can develop some health problems, especially hypothyroidism, which is genetic. It is also important to watch out for heart problems, which are common in this breed.

For its good growth, plan a food in accordance with its weight, its age and its physical activities. He needs time to eat and it is also preferable that you leave him alone at that time. If you opt for homemade food, it is still advisable to supplement with quality kibble to make sure your dog gets all the essential nutrients.