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Dog Practical











Dog behaviour can be incredibly subtle and is often misunderstood, especially when it comes to stress. As animal care professionals we have a duty of care to advocate for the dog as they can't!

Context is very important when it comes understanding dog behaviour as it is very specific to the combination of behaviours and the environment these are happening in.Veterinary practices can be stressul for pets, and we understand it can't be prevented but it is useful to be aware of so we can help to reduce stress levels if possible

Dog behaviours can be conflicted as well, which makes it difficult to identify. For example appeasement (communicating that they aren't a threat and have no desire for confrontation) can be combined with seeking an interaction too making it difficult to navigate.

Bracycehalic means shortened head and is used to describe a variety of different dog breeds, including pugs, boxers, and bulldogs to name a few. They usually have short snouts and flat faces and have been selectively bred for this appearance.

Bracycephalic Dogs

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is the term used to describe the impact of shortened heads on the passage of air in Bracys

These dogs face a greater risk of developing serious and painful health problems. They struggle to breath, have an increased chance of dental problems, eye conditions, skin issues, and spinal deformities

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a condition where both hip joints develop abnormally while a puppy is growing. It can cause pain, swelling, and eventually arthritis

It usually affects medium-large pedigree dogs, however there are methods to hip score dogs before mating to reduce the frequency of puppies born with this condition


Fleas are tiny ecto-parasites that can live and feed on yours pets causing irritation and potentially anaemia. A dog with fleas may be scratching more than usual, flea dirt can be seen on their fur and skin, rashes and bites can also be seen on their skin, and they may be enjoying tickles more than usual.Preventing/treatement is easy using a licensed veterinary flea product reguarly but can depend on animal, practice, product, and professional.

Be aware as some dog flea treaments are highly toxic to cats.


Worms are a common problem for dogs, luckily however, they are not normally serious in adults but can make puppies unwell.

Preventative wormers are the most common treatment, however their provison differs between different products, diifferent practices, and different professionals. Despite this, puppies are usually wormed at 3 weeks, then every two weeks until 16. Then routine worming every 3 months. again, this can differ so always make sure to check.

An increasingly common worm that can cause severe damage is lungworm. Symptoms include scooting, weight loss, diarrhoea, vomiting, and bloating.


Neutering is the procedure to either remove testicles from a male (castration), or ovaries from a female (spay). This can prevent unwanted pregnancies, reduces the risk of testicular cancer in males and uterus infections and cancer in females, reduce chance of birth defects associated with inter-family breeding, and reduce chances of theft among other health benefits.

Most dogs can be neutered from 4-6 months old, but it depends on a variety of factors (breed/size, behaviour, weight, seasons, etc), so it is important to speak a veterinary professional about the right time for the specific dog.

Obesity & BCS

Obesity is an incredibly common issue in dogs in the UK, with vets estimating that nearly half of the UK's population of dogs are overweight. This puts dogs at an increased risk of health problems, and is likely to reduce how long they live.It is important to recognise a dog's ideal shape to be able to recommend potential diet and exercise changes.

Using shape as well as the scales is the most comprehensive way to check if a dog is fit and healthy from a weight point of view

Shape can be checked by carrying out a body condition score, which involves running your hands and eyes over their body and comparing it to the relevant 9 -point scale.

A painful problem that can precede dangerous conditions such as kidney and heart disease.Poor dental hygeine is the most common cause, but can be impacted by age, breed (commonly sight hounds and bracys), diet, and retained baby teeth.Plaque is likely to increase if the dog is fed only wet food

Dental Disease

Excessive plaque build up can lead to gingervitis which is characterised by red and inflamed gums, excessive drooling, and pawing at the mouth.