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Feeding and General Health Information

Dirk and Dax waiting patiently for dinner!

Our dogs are fed and powered on RAW FOOD!!!!

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Okay, so you have decided that you definitely HAVE to have that puppy, what now???  Well, one thing to think about is that a puppy is not a puppy for long, and soon you have an adult dog.  Along with many adult dogs come different health issues.  Another thing to think about is 'Did the breeder you were talking to mention what particular genetic diseases or other health concerns plague their particular breed?'

If yes, then the information I am about to give you is old news.  If no, well then have a seat, we have a lot to talk about.  EVERY breed, no matter how big or small, purebred or mixed (many people seem to think that mixed breed are free of genetic disease because they are mixed), have some health issues that seem to crop up from time to time.  No matter what someone might tell you, there is NO perfectly healthy breed.  Same in humans, all of our families have something that seems to come up often, like cancer or heart disease.

The first and smartest thing a person can do when initially researching breeders, is find out what particular health concerns plague their breed and what they do in the way of genetic testing their breeding stock.   The genetic background of a puppy is so much more important than how big you think it might be when it is full grown. 

The Rottweiler is not immune to health issues either.  In fact, they have been plagued by different types of genetic diseases over the years.  Responsible breeders all over the world have been trying their hardest to eliminate these diseases from their lines.  It is an almost impossible task, but good breeders know that breeding a healthy dog to another healthy dog is an excellent place to start.  It doesn't always guarantee that all of the puppies in a resulting litter will be perfectly healthy, but at least the effort was made to ensure as good a quality of health as was possible.

So, what do I mean when I say that the Rottweiler still has health issues?  Well, hip dysplasia is the one most commonly heard of, but there is also elbow dysplasia, sub-aortic stenosis, cataracts, entropian (eyelids rolling inwards) and ectropian (eyelids rolling outwards), etc...  These are all of the main genetic diseases that Rottweilers are prone to.  These are the diseases that all responsible breeders need to screen for in ALL of their own breeding stock.  Cancer is another awful disease that has been plaguing Rottweilers and other breeds as well. 

Another awful health issue that seems to plague large/giant, deep-chested breeds is a condition called Bloat or Gastric Torsion.  Bloat is a far too common condition where the stomach swells from gas, fluid or both. Bloat becomes a medical emergency when the stomach distends and then twists or flips, causing torsion.  Although dogs can survive bloat, often they do not as it is not caught in time.  Once the stomach starts to turn, you are losing precious time.  Bloat  may be caused by over-eating, drinking large amounts of water after eating, and exercise after a meal or right before a meal. To help prevent bloat you can do several things like feed a few small meals a day, exercise about an hour before feeding, crating for at least an hour after eating, and watching your dogs' water intake.  Also, feeding a raw diet without grains tends to help reduce the incidence of bloat.  Although well cooked grains like rice or oats are fairly safe.

The best defense is always a good offence.  So, to make more clear what I am trying to get across here, I have compiled a list of great canine health resources. They make the diseases a little more understandable. 

British Veterinary Association

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

Merck Veterinary Manual

Ontario Veterinary College

Canine Eye Registration Foundation

Canine Health Information Center

Cancer in Canines

Because some countries, like Canada (OVC) and the United States (OFA) for instance, have their own individual health registries, puppy buyers need to make themselves aware of what the different registries are and what they are for.  I think the above links will help make some of the health questions a little more clear.  Understanding the health issues of different breeds before visiting a breeder will help taper the type of questions that need to be asked of the breeders.