yourpurebredpuppy logo

Portuguese Water Dog Health Care & Feeding

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

Portuguese Water Dog

Start your Portuguese Water Dog 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
Portuguese Water Dog Health Problems


Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dog are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your PWD 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]

NomNomNow homemade dog food service Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but don't have the time to make it? I have a solution for you... [read more]

Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet health insurance. The best pet insurance company I've found is... [read more]

Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dog 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 Portuguese Water Dog? 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 PWD 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]

Portuguese Water Dog

Complete list of Portuguese Water Dog health problems

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

But currently the most critical issue is heart disease, specifically cardiomyopathy, which can cause sudden death in puppies at 2-7 months old. Other heart diseases also occur in the PWD, 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 dog becomes lethargic or won't eat.

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.

Other eye diseases in the breed are eyelash abnormalities and persistent pupillary membranes.

The most common "skin disease" is actually chronic allergies, which cause itchy skin and scratching that can break open the skin and lead to infections.

A hair loss disorder called follicular dysplasia can occur in curly-coated PWDs who had two curly-coated parents. (Yes, this breed can have either a curly or wavy coat.)

The primary orthopedic disease in Portuguese Water Dogs is hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 9100 Portuguese Water Dogs and found 13% dysplastic. That needs to be much better. Fortunately, elbow dysplasia occurs at a low 1-2% rate.

The gastrointestinal system is a weak area in the Portuguese Water Dog, with gastic diseases including 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 called 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.

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.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Portuguese Water Dog 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.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
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.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.