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Rat Terrier Health Care & Feeding

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

Rat Terrier

Start your Rat Terrier 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
Rat Terrier Health Problems


Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Rat Terrier 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 Rat Terrier 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 Rat Terrier are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Rat Terrier 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 Rat Terrier 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 Rat Terrier 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 Rat Terrier? 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 Rat Terrier 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]

Rat Terrier

Complete list of Rat Terrier health problems

Rat Terriers are vulnerable to a disease called MVD. They're also vulnerable to a second disease called MVD.

  1. The first MVD is mitral valve disease, which is a form of heart disease.
  2. The second MVD is microvascular dysplasia, which is a form of liver disease that also affects the brain.

Epilepsy is a real concern in Rat Terriers.

Primary lens luxation (PLL) is a nasty eye disease in Rat Terriers. If you don't know your Rat Terrier's PLL status, you should have a DNA test to find out whether has the disease, is a carrier for it, and is completely clear of it. Your vet should have this information so he can treat future eye problems properly.

The other eye disease of note in the Rat Terrier is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which always leads to blindness.

All terrier breeds are prone to chronic allergies that cause itchy skin and scratching, which can lead to bacterial skin infections.

Young Rat Terriers are prone to developing demodectic mange.

Rat Terriers who are blue (gray) can inherit a skin and coat disease called color dilution alopecia. causes patchy hair loss resulting in a moth-eaten look, along with chronic skin infections that may require medicated baths.

Bad knees (luxating patella) or bad hips (hip dysplasia) cause lameness and pain and occur at a 3-4% rate in Rat Terriers. That's an okay rate.

But another hip disease in Rat Terriers is called Legg-Calve-Perthes  and it's much more serious.

Rat Terriers have large teeth that may not fit properly in their mouth. Those big teeth also attract tartar, which, if you don't keep it scraped off, will lead to dental disease.

Hernias are fairly common in the Toy and Miniature sizes.

Some Rat Terriers with excessive white markings on their head are born partially or completely deaf.

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 Rat Terrier 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.