Health of Dogs – Thoughts on different aspects of

I am known not to follow the “norm” when it comes to my dogs, so thought I would share some links that support my beliefs. Granted, perhaps they are one sided, but I believe they are legitimate. I am also including the Canine Health Information website, specifically the Rat Terrier page, so that potential owners may be aware of health issues in the Rat Terrier.

RAT TERRIER HEALTH ISSUES: Please take a minute to look at the recognized website for health concerns/issues per breed on the CHIC or OFA site. While it doesn’t seem like there is a high incidence of these concerns in the Rat Terrier, it is good to be aware of them.

DEWCLAWS – I believe that dew claws should remain on the dog, especially working dogs. I have several dogs, some who still have their dewclaws. I rarely have a problem with the dew claws. In fact, they are usually worn down with the toe nails. They are attached to tendons, which are in turn attached to muscles.

An interesting video on retrievers climbing out of ice: & the RetrieverMan Blog: which includes comments from readers.

This website describes the anatomical need for dewclaws:

As does this one:

Two articles from well-known and respected Fred Lanting:

Another Look at Dewclaws

This article includes alot of photos with the dog’s dewclaws contacting the ground while running agility:

With a Flick of the Wrist by Chris Zink , DVM, PhD – includes a diagram of the dog’s foot

TO DOCK OR NOT TO DOCK:   I honestly struggle a bit with this issue. While I prefer the looks of a Rattie with a docked tail, as long as it is not too short, I really do not like taking the puppies in to have their tails docked. It just bothers me to take off what nature created I guess you could say. The look of a Rattie with a natural tail honestly depends on the dogs. Some are ok, some look a bit, well, goofy. There are arguments on both sides of the fence for docking or not docking, and both have valid points. On one side, they argue that working dogs damage their tails frequently when out in the fields. I honestly do not know how true that is, as I know there are working breeds that do not require the tails to be docked. On the other side, they state that the dogs experience health issues, etc., due to docked tails, and are not as agile or athletic as a dog with a tail. Again, I would question this statement too, as my dogs don’t seem to have any issues with athleticism or overall health, and there are many working cattle dogs, terriers, and hunting dogs who go through life with a docked tail and they don’t seem to have any issues. I do agree that some dogs tails are docked way to darn short. We have a heeler who had her tail docked so short you can’t even find her tail. Irritates me to no end, as that is just too short. They do need a tail for communication and I’m sure for balance, although having no tail doesn’t seem to affect her in any noticeable way in that regard. She can’t communicate with us or the other dogs here at our house like the rest of the dogs can, and I don’t like that.

So here is an article that puts out both sides:

SPAYING AND NEUTERING I have moved this to its own page as I had found more information and alternatives that may help owners decide on the best choice for their dogs. Here is the new page for it.

AGE OF PUPPIES GOING TO NEW HOMES: An interesting article on the reasons why puppies should wait until at least 8 weeks old before going to their new homes.

VACCINATIONS – I have always questioned why animals have to have yearly vaccinations, when we only have ours once in our lifetime.

PRIMARY LUXATING LENS – PLL – A genetic problem in the Rat Terrier that all Rat Terrier owners and breeders should be aware of and test for with their breeding stock.


Here is an article, with videos, on the Heimlich Maneuver.


Something near to my heart, as one of my pups died due to xylitol poisoning. Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in sugar free gums as well as many other foods and health products. Take a minute to learn about xylitol and how it can kill a dog. Xylitol blog article  


Here is  an informative article on Rattlesnake bite.

TOXIC PLANTS – Something to really be aware of with your dogs and cats. Here is a list of toxic plants that can severely harm or kill  your pet.  – offers a very detailed list of toxic plants from house plants, garden plants and naturally occurring plants in different areas.


It is important to maintain toe nails at the right length, although I know personally how difficult that can be when a dog acts like you are going to kill her slowly when you even touch her feet! Anyway, here is a link…(I’m working on my sensitive girl!)

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