Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Chow Chow puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Chow Chows, the best dog food diet for feeding Chow Chow puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Chow Chow dog breed

Chow Chow Health Problems and Raising a Chow Chow Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Chow Chows:

This breed is an orthopedic nightmare – and their eyes and skin aren't much better.

  • The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 4600 Chow Chows and found 20% dysplastic. That's very high for a medium-sized dog, and the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. Ignore anyone who tells you that a Chow's hips are "normal for the breed". Unhealthy hips are unhealthy hips. Dysplastic hips are deformed and lead to arthritis later in life.
  • Elbows are even worse – with nearly 400 elbow X-rays submitted, the Chow has a 46% rate of elbow dysplasia – the WORST rate of 82 breeds. And again, the true rate is even higher.
  • Chows have a 30% rate of luxating patella (loose knees) – the 2nd worst rate of 57 breeds.
  • Cruciate ligament rupture occurs regularly in Chow Chows, because of the tight ligaments in their very straight hind legs. In this breed, sometimes all it takes is an awkward run up the stairs to tear their ligament.

The deep-set eyes with their loose eyelids are prone to eye diseases, especially entropion (rolled-in eyelids), but also ectropion (rolled-OUT eyelids), cataracts, corneal dystrophy, glaucoma, persistent pupillary membranes (which can severely impair vision in this breed), retinal dysplasia, eyelash abnormalities, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Their soft palate (the flap of skin across the back of the throat that prevents food and water from entering the windpipe) is often fleshy and elongated and tends to fall loosely into the throat. This causes noisy breathing and chronic snoring and makes it tricky to anesthetize this breed safely.

The thick coat and skin folds are prone to chronic skin diseases: allergies, bacterial skin infections (pyoderma), demodectic mange, follicular dysplasia, pemphigus, and in blue Chows, color dilution alopecia.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Chow Chows are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 14% of Chow Chows have hypothyroidism.

Other health issues that occur regularly in Chow Chows are colitis and hernias.

This is a cold-climate breed. With their thick coat and difficulty breathing, Chows suffer in hot climates. To prevent heatstroke, summer exercise should be limited to morning and evening.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Chow Chow?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Chow Chows today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Chow Chow puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Chow Chow puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Chow Chow puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Chow Chow lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Chow Chow
The best diet for feeding your Chow Chow is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Chow Chow. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Chow Chow
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Chow Chow. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Chow Chow puppy really need? Does your adult Chow need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Chow Chow. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Chow Chow. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Chow Chow.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.