The Impact of Dog Genetics on Health

There are many different health issues that can arise as a result of dog genetics. Not all of these are going to affect dogs in the same way. Some genetic conditions are more severe than others and some can be fixed while others can't. Many genetic issues that affect dog health are a result of the dog's breed. If you're thinking of getting a dog and are concerned about the possibility of inherited health problems then it is a good idea to research this before choosing the breed.

How Does Dog Genetics Impact Health?

The degree to which dog genetics might impact on your pet's health will depend on whether your dog is a pedigree and, if so, what breed of dog he is. Certain health issues affect certain breeds. For example, hip dysplasia affects larger dogs like German Shepherds.

Dog Genes from Parents

Dogs have 40,000 different genes which determine the way the individual cells in their body develop. These genes are the building blocks of the animal and determine specific characteristics of dog, like what color their hair is going to be. They can also determine whether dogs might be susceptible to certain health issues.

Due to the way genes work, animals can carry the genetic makeup for certain conditions without actually developing them. However, just because they haven't developed any symptoms themselves doesn't mean they can't pass the genes onto their offspring. If you bought your dog from a breeder, it's a good idea to ask about the health of your pet's grandparents and great-grandparents as well as their mother and father.

Know Your Dog's Susceptibilities

There is nothing you or your vet can do to be sure that your dog won't develop genetically inherited health problems. However, as the owner, there are a number of things you can look out for. It is important to be aware of the types of health issues that might affect your dog. Once you know about them, you can keep a close eye on your pet and look for any warning signs.

Lifestyle factors might also affect your dog's chances of being affected by a genetically inherited condition. For instance, the hip dysplasia that affects larger breeds can also be affected by diet and the type of exercise the dog does.

Vets are now a lot more aware of what conditions can affect which breeds. If you have a pedigree or a cross-breed dog, you can ask your vet to test for certain conditions like heart defects. The treatments for genetic conditions have improved a lot over the last few decades.

Your dog might or might not develop genetically inherited conditions, in most cases there is no way you can know for sure. The most important thing that you can do is stay informed, vigilant and make sure your pet gets regular check-ups. Although the majority of inherited health problems require treatment, it will still be possible for your dog to live a normal life with its condition.