Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dogs, the best dog food diet for feeding Portuguese Water Dog 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

Portuguese Water Dog dog breed

Portuguese Water Dog Health Problems and Raising a Portuguese Water Dog Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

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 Portuguese Water Dogs:

Currently the most critical issue facing Portuguese Water Dogs is heart disease, specifically cardiomyopathy, which can cause sudden death in puppies at 2-7 months old. Other heart diseases also occur in the breed, including pulmonic stenosis.

A serious endocrine system disease, Addison's disease, is so common in this breed that it should always be considered whenever your Portuguese Water Dog becomes lethargic or won't eat.

Cancer is the number one cause of death in Portuguese Water Dogs.

The most serious eye diseases are cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Fortunately, a simple DNA test is available for PRA in Portuguese Water Dogs, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is clear of it. Also reported are eyelash abnormalities and persistent pupillary membranes.

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma) and follicular dysplasia, though follicular dysplasia is usually limited to curly-coated PWDs who have two curly-coated parents. Ear infections are somewhat common due to all the hair in the ear canals.

The primary orthopedic disease in Portuguese Water Dogs is hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 5000 Portuguese Water Dogs and found 13% dysplastic. That's high, and the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation.

Gastrointestinal diseases include colitis (inflammatory bowel disease and protein-losing enteropathy), and occasionally hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.

Epilepsy is becoming a concern in the breed.

A severe neurological disease that can occur in the Portuguese Water Dog is lysosomal storage disease (GM1 gangliosidosis). It used to be widespread in the breed, but is now controllable by testing for it before breeding.

Other health issues of concern in Portuguese Water dogs are hypothyroidism, megaesophagus, and kidney disease.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Portuguese Water Dog?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Portuguese Water Dogs today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dog puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dog lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Portuguese Water Dog
The best diet for feeding your Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dog. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Portuguese Water Dog
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Portuguese Water Dog. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Portuguese Water Dog puppy really need? Does your adult Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dog. 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 Portuguese Water Dog. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Portuguese Water Dog.


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