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Miniature Schnauzer Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Miniature Schnauzer

Start your Miniature Schnauzer off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Miniature Schnauzer Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Miniature Schnauzer puppy or adult dog:

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

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Miniature Schnauzer are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Mini Schnauzer will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Miniature Schnauzer puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Miniature Schnauzer be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Miniature Schnauzer? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Schnauzer suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

Miniature Schnauzer

Complete list of Miniature Schnauzer health problems

Eye diseases

So many blind Schnauzers.... let's start with eye diseases, the most serious of which are severe cataracts (appearing anytime between birth and 6 years old and usually leading to complete blindness) and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (appearing around 3 years old and always leading to complete blindness).

A simple DNA test is available for PRA in Miniature Schnauzers, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Other serious eye diseases in Miniature Schnauzers include retinal dysplasia, lens luxation, and glaucoma.

Neurological diseases in Miniature Schnauzers

Epilepsy (chronic seizures that usually start between ages two and four) is a concern in Miniature Schnauzers.

Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) is a rare but devastating neurodegenerative disease that can appear between ages two and four.

Myotonia is an inherited muscle disease in Miniature Schnauzer puppies. Myotonic pups have over-excited, hyper-reactive muscles. They also have difficulty swallowing due to the exaggerated mobility of their tongue. There is no cure. An estimated 2% of the breed are affected with myotonia, and another 20% are carriers.

Bladder stones in Miniature Schnauzers

Urinary stones are more common in Miniature Schnauzers than in any other breed.

If 100 random dogs across the country were diagnosed with urinary stones today.... the statistics say that 47 of them would be Miniature Schnauzers!

Stones are especially dangerous in males, because when the stone tries to pass out of the body, it might block a male dogs' narrow urethra. A complete urinary blockage is a life-threatening emergency.

Because of their urinary weaknesses, it's very important that every Miniature Schnauzer eats a real food diet full of moisture. No dog should be eating dry kibble, but definitely not a Mini Schnauzer. In addition, this breed should have generous trips to the grass, all throughout the day, to potty.

Digestive diseases in Miniature Schnauzers

Miniature Schnauzers often have problems with their digestive system. They may develop chronic colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), or they might have some weakness in their biliary system (pancreas, liver, gallbladder).

Two serious digestive diseases, pancreatitis and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, are more common in Miniature Poodles and Miniature Schnauzers than in any other breeds.

Pancreatitis attacks are especially common in middle-aged female Schnauzers who are pudgy around the middle, who don't get a lot of exercise, and who suddenly eat something that's very high-fat (like turkey and gravy at Thanksgiving).

The moral is to keep middle-aged and elderly Schnauzers slim and exercised. And DON'T suddenly give them a big mouthful of high-fat food when they're not used to it. No licking of people's plates with butter, oil, or gravy!

An inherited lipid metabolism disorder predisposes some Mini Schnauzers to dangerous elevations in blood cholesterol and triglycerides. This causes intermittent abdominal distress and vomiting, and eventually liver enlargement and progressive liver dysfunction.

Liver shunt  is a concern in the Miniature Schnauzer.

Skin problems in Miniature Schnauzers

Allergies cause itchy skin in Schnauzers, and constant scratching can break open the skin and lead to infections.

Schnauzers are notorious for having small skin growths peppered around their head and body.

  • Fortunately, most growths in Schnauzers are non-tumorous warts and cysts. But they're a nuisance if you nick them with the grooming clippers and they bleed.
  • Some are true tumors, especially sebaceous gland tumors. But again, fortunately, these are usually benign.
  • Less commonly, a tumor may be malignant.

A mild inherited skin disorder in Miniature Schnauzers is called comedo syndrome. A Mini Schnauzer with comedo syndrome has black crusty "bumps" in a line along his back, sometimes accompanied by patches of hair loss. Comedo (KOM-a-doe) is Latin and refers to blackheads, which are plugs of keratin and sebum that block the hair follicles. You may also see this spelled comedone (KOM-a-DOE-nee), which is simply the plural of comedo. Calendula, aloe vera, or vitamin E oil are soothing.

Orthopedic diseases

The most common orthopedic disease is luxating patella (loose knees), although hip and elbow dysplasia can occur, as well. The most serious is Legg-Calve-Perthes diseases, a degenerative disease of the hip.

Mycobacterium Avium infection in Miniature Schnauzers

If, heaven forbid, your Miniature Schnauzer ever receives a diagnosis of lymphoma (cancer).... don't despair yet.

Some Mini Schnauzers diagnosed with lymphoma have instead turned out to be infected by mycobacterium avium  organisms. It seems that some Miniature Schnauzers have a defective gene that cannot fight off this particular organism, so it proliferates in the blood.... where it resembles lymphoma.

So be sure it's carefully confirmed whether your Miniature Schnauzer has lymphoma or a mycobacterium avium  infection. The treatments are vastly different!

Heart diseases

Miniature Schnauzers are susceptible to pulmonic stenosis, patent ductus arteriosus, and mitral valve disease.

Blood-clotting diseases

Miniature Schnauzers are vulnerable to three different blood-clotting diseases – von Willebrand's, hemophilia A, and thrombocytopenia.


Diabetes, hypothyroidism, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and megaesophagus can occur in Miniature Schnauzers.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

FREE eBOOK! My free online health care program, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Miniature Schnauzer in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.