First Aid: How to keep your Cavapoo healthy

How to keep your cavapoo healthy
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    Thanks to the pandemic and a surge in dog ownership, most vet practices are becoming overwhelmed, with appointments now at a premium. This means that regular healthcare checks are often postponed in favor of pet emergencies. But never fear, as there are plenty of routine checks that you can do on your dog at home in order to ensure that they remain in tip top condition.

    In order to keep your Cavapoo healthy, it is recommended that you give your dog a weekly health check. This will allow you to spot and address any health issues early on and should significantly reduce your vet bills -especially if you have identified a condition before it becomes serious.

    A Cavapoo is a wonderful mixed breed of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Poodle parent. As designer dogs, Cavapoos tend to have less health issues than these two pure breeds, although all dogs are susceptible to health problems. And whilst it is important to be aware of genetic conditions, there are a number of steps that we can take to ensure that our dogs health, wellbeing and nutrition are looked after.

    Here we discuss the important of home health checks and explain how you can keep your Cavapoo healthy.

    How do you take care of a Cavapoo?

    Whilst you have a legal obligation to ensure that your Cavapoo has the appropriate veterinary care and treatment it needs for illnesses and injuries, there are some minor medical treatments that you can do yourself at home.

    Whether you are first time dog owners or have had canine companions before, it is important that you know how to check your furry friend from head to paw. If you do this regularly then this will ensure that your Cavapoos remain in the best possible condition.

    A home health check on your dog involves looking after their skin and coat, checking for lumps and bumps, cleaning their cute floppy ears and making sure that they have good dental hygiene at all times.

    In addition to this, your dog should have plenty of toys for mental stimulation and a balanced nutritious diet with high quality dog food.

    Skin and Coat

    Our Cavapoo dog Rosie goes to a professional groomer every 6-8 weeks, but we still brush her regularly at home. As she has a curly coat it is really important that we look after it to stop her for getting matted hair. We have a regular brushing routine, which we implemented from an early age, so Rosie is used to being groomed by us.

    Brushing your dog regularly with a brush suitable for their coat, will help to get rid of loose hair and skin. It also distributes the sebum at the base of the hair follicle, giving their coat a healthy shine. If you are looking for a brush for your dog, then check out our review guide to the best brush for a Cavapoo.

    Although most doodle breeds are often referred to as hypoallergenic dogs, there are times of the year when they may shed. That said, we always recommend buying a low shedding Cavapoo to allergy sufferers, as their teddy bear coat can be tolerated by people who are allergic to most dogs.

    Another reason to spend time grooming your Cavapoo, is to check for evidence of fleas, ticks and dandruff. Persistent dandruff, if unable to be treated with an anti-itch shampoo, and if accompanied by excessive drinking, could be a sign of dog diabetes.

    Keeping on top of worming and flea treatments can also save time and money at the vets, as can investing in a tick remover which can safely be used at home.

    Lumps and bumps

    Cavapoos are renowned for their sweet nature and just love to be stroked and cuddled. This is why they make great therapy dogs. They get this from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel side who were historically used as lap dogs to keep their owners warm. This makes identifying any strange lumps easy as you can do it whilst petting your Cavapoo.

    Most bumps that you will feel are fatty lumps or harmless cysts, but it is always a good idea to get them checked by your vet. Mast Cell tumours are the most common skin tumours in dogs, accounting for around 20% of all reported skin tumours. They are more common in other dog breeds such as Beagles, Boxers, Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels which is why Cockapoo and Goldendoodle owners should be aware.

    The good news is that these types of tumours can be removed safely with surgery although the sooner they are identified, the less invasive the procedure will be.

    When feeling your Cavapoo for bumps, make sure that you check underneath to ensure that the nipples are lump free.

    Ears

    It is important that you give your dog’s ears a weekly sniff! It is not unusual to smell a mild yeasty odour (something similar to biscuits, bread or even Cheestix)! You should not be concerned by this as long as the smell doesn’t change as this could be an early indicator of ear infections.

    Some breeds, such as Poodles, are prone to hairy inner ears. This means that wax can build up causing a blockage. If this can not be easily solved with a wipe and a wash, then a quick visit to the groomer should solve this. Whilst they are no longer allowed to pluck the hair from the ear canal, they can use scissors to safely cut it away.

    As Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have long ears, Cavapoo puppies are often susceptible to ear injuries from damage to the pinna (ear flap) due to their siblings pulling on them during play. For energetic dogs who enjoy rough play in the dog park, or foraging in the under growth, then it is important that you regularly check your dog’s ears for any cuts or lacerations.

    Dental health

    Rosie loves giving out kisses, unfortunately her breath can be slightly ripe at times. But it is important that you look after your dog’s teeth, as poor dental hygiene can lead to veterinary treatment issues, such as heart problems and gastric complaints.

    To avoid costly dental work (removal of teeth or cleaning under a general anaesthetic), there are things we should do to look after our pet’s health and prevent periodontal disease.

    Ideally, you should brush the soft plaque from our dog’s teeth daily. There are also meat flavored toothpastes which you can pick up at your local pet stores to make the process more appealing to them and finger brushes to give you more control. To find out the best toothbrushes for doodles check out our product guide.

    It is important to note that you should never use human toothpaste as it may contain Xyitol which is toxic to dogs.

    Eyes

    There are numerous eye conditions affecting dogs, ranging from mild to severe, all with differing symptoms to look out for.

    Whilst eye problems cannot always be prevented we can offer some top tips to keeping your Cavapoo breed healthy.

    Make sure that you look at your dog’s eyes as often as possible so you know when there is something wrong or if they look abnormal. Cavapoos are prone to reddish brown tear stains so you do need to make sure they are kept clean, bright and shiny – resulting in no tear stains. You can do this by wiping them gently with cool boiled water and cotton wool.

    If your dog has long fur around the face area, then you can trim around the eyes so it doesn’t irritate. You should also make sure that you do not let your dog put their head out of the car window when moving as dust and dirt could scratch their eyes.

    Nails

    Most dogs manage to keep their nails short naturally through running, walking or playing on hard surfaces, without the need for regular trimming. However if you have a Cavapoo puppy that has limited access to exercise, or a senior dog that isn’t quite as mobile, then you may need to clip them more often. Plus, if your dog still has its dew claw in place, then this will require regular checking as the nail does not make contact with the ground.

    Cavapoo owners do need to be really careful when cutting their dogs nails, however, as it is easy to over trim them and accidentally cut down to the nail bed. This not only leads to profuse bleeding but can leave your small dog in a lot of pain.

    We therefore recommend that you get a professional groomer or someone experienced in dog nail trimming to show you how to do it initially.

    Brittle nails are a sign of a poor diet, so when it comes to strengthening your dogs nails, we recommend investing in high quality food.

    What health problems do Cavapoos have?

    Our Cavapoo Rosie is only 2 years old and so far (fingers crossed), we have been lucky in that she seems to be a healthy dog. Although we were naive and didn’t purchase her from a local breeder, we did get to meet her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mum and Toy Poodle parent in advance and made sure that both parent breeds had the relevant health testing paperwork.

    It is always recommended, especially for hybrid dogs, that you make sure that the reputable breeder can supply you with as much health information as possible, because whilst a loving home, nice environment and well-socialised dog are important in the moment, a healthy Cavapoo puppy is what we all desire.

    Additionally, health issues can be common in designer dogs as the parent dogs often have predisposed health problems. Cavapoos are prone to a range of genetic disease affecting the brain, heart, and optical health of the breed.

    Additionally, Cavapoos can become emotionally attached to their owners, which can bring on a condition known as separation anxiety, even in short separations from owners. This can lead to behavioral problems such as excessive barking, although you can train your dog to cope with being alone through positive reinforcement.

    To find out more about separation anxiety in dogs, we have created a blog on how to train your Cavapoo to be alone.

    Most reputable breeders will also provide you with information on your puppy’s current dog food (whether that is wet food or dry kibble) and provide you with a run down of their temperament before handing them over . It is important to note that most Cavapoos have a gentle nature, are good around other pets, other dogs and children, and are known for being a good family dog.

    Are Cavapoos generally healthy?

    All dogs can slip into bad health if their basic needs such as high-quality diet, clean water, exercise, and companionship are not being met. But there are some potentially fatal problems that deserve a closer look with Cavapoos.

    Furthermore, designer dogs, doodles, or any type of mixed breed or cross breed will also be facing the potential of two different breeds and the common health problems associated with each. If you are unsure what these may be, then you can find out more information on a Charles Spaniel and all types of Poodle from a Miniature Poodle right through to a Standard Poodle as well as all other breeds on the kennel club website.

    The main medical conditions to watch out for in Cavapoos are Addisons Disease, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Syringomyelia, Mitral Valve Disease and Hip Dysplasia. If you would like to know more about the common genetic problems that can arise, then please see our blog on what health problems do Cavapoos have.

    Conclusion

    Due to this breed’s popularity, it is not unusual to spot a Cavapoo at the vets. But, there are plenty of things that we can be doing at home with our small dogs to ensure that they have a healthy and happy life.

    Simply by looking after your dog’s coat, diet and through regular exercise and some home health checks, should see your Cavapoo remain in tip top condition. And, whether your doodle is of young age or an older dog, just like us, they all deserve a bit of pampering too!

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