Health FAQ


1. What vaccinations are recommended and when are they given?

Puppies should receive their first shots between 6 to 8 weeks. They are vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus. Puppies receive boosters at three-week intervals until three sets of shots have been received. At approximately four months of age, they receive a rabies shot, which is good for one year. All adult dogs need to be vaccinated, and your veterinarian will determine the frequency. Boarding facilities may require dogs to be vaccinated against Bordetella, Leptospirosis, and Coronavirus.

2. What parasites can affect the puppy/dog? Should I have my puppy dewormed?

The breeder worms puppies at 4 weeks and 6 weeks then fecal samples should be checked until they are adults and yearly after that. Adults should be routinely wormed yearly and treated for heartworm monthly (follow vet recommendation).

3. Why are heartworms dangerous and how are they prevented?

Mosquitoes spread heartworms. These worms can clog the major heart vessels as well as the heart itself. Heartworms can be prevented by oral daily or monthly medication or by vaccination. Dogs should be tested yearly. Once infected, treatment options are limited and dangerous (treatment involves giving the dog arsenic). Left untreated, heartworm infestation will lead to the death of the dog.

4. What are some symptoms of hip dysplasia?

Difficulty getting up from a down position, trouble climbing stairs, and lameness may indicate a hip problem.

5. How do I avoid musculoskeletal problems?

Puppies should be fed puppy food that encourages slow growth (large breed formulas). All dogs should not be allowed to get overweight. Overweight dogs put more stress on their musculoskeletal systems. A good weight allows you to be able to feel your dog’s ribs. Hip dysplasia can be inherited, but can also be caused by external factors. You should avoid substantial stress on a growing puppy’s hips. Puppies should not be allowed to play on ice where their hips can splay. In addition, the puppy should not engage in extensive exercise until the puppy is over 6 months.

6. What are some common household poisons that can affect my dog?

Keep chemicals, medicines, and plants out of reach. Some common poisons are: Antifreeze (ethylene glycol), alcohol, nicotine, chocolate, raisins, and onions. For a complete list, ask your veterinarian or contact the National Animal Poison Control Center.

7. What is the best way to give a dog pill/liquid medication?

For oral medication that is in pill form, open the dog’s mouth and put the pill as far back on the tongue as you can. Close the mouth, stroke the dog’s neck and hold the mouth shut until you can see the tongue come out the front. Liquid medication should be put into a syringe and given while inserting the tip (pointing back towards the throat) between the teeth.

8. What are some travel tips you can give me for my dog’s safety and comfort?

All dogs should be either crated or put into a special harness seat belt during any type of travel. This keeps them from becoming distractions and gives them a secure feeling. To make a dog feel comfortable, place a favorite toy and blanket with him. In addition, don’t forget to take frequent breaks to allow for pottying, drinking and exercise. Never put your dog in the back of a pickup truck without a cap unless he is crated and the crate is secured so it will not slide.

9. How do I avoid gastric upset/diarrhea when traveling?

Make sure you bring water from home. Water from other places can lead to upset. Keep the dog on his regular diet, and try feeding him in the evening, after you have stopped for the night. If you know your dog gets upset from travel, switch the dog to a diet of beef and rice formula canned food a week before you leave.

10. What over-the-counter medications can I give for gastric upset or diarrhea?

Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol or Immodium can be given to a dog. Consult your vet for proper dosing.


1. How/when do you clean teeth, ears, eyes?

It is best to start brushing teeth when a dog is a young puppy, but after the permanent teeth are in. You can use a doggy toothbrush, gauze, or a washcloth. There are special toothpastes for dogs only (human toothpaste are not safe if swallowed).

Dogs with floppy ears are more likely to develop ear infections due to poor air circulation. There are ear-cleaning agents that you can purchase through your local veterinarian. Clean ears by wiping them with a mild detergent or an ear cleaning solution on a washcloth or a cotton ball.

Use lukewarm water on a cloth to clean around eyes. Veterinarians sell eyewash that can be used to aid in removing foreign objects from a dog’s eye. If a dog has eye discharge for extended periods, take the dog to a veterinarian.

2. How frequently do Chinook nails need to be trimmed?


3. What advice can you give for protecting footpads in the summer/winter?

In the summer, be careful that you don’t allow dogs to walk on hot asphalt. Protect their footpads from chemicals in the yard (fertilizers and insecticides). During the winter check pads to see if they have developed any cracks or abrasions from the ice and snow. Do not let pads come in contact with chemicals used to melt ice. There are products you can buy to administer to pads to protect against cracking in the winter and summer.

4. How much can I bathe my dog and what products should I use?

A bath a couple times a year is usually adequate. Frequent brushing should keep the coat clean. When bathing a dog use warm water and a detergent-free shampoo. Make sure you wash the dog in a draft-free area.


1. What things should I consider if I’m thinking of breeding my Chinook?

If you purchased your dog from a reputable breeder, your contract will outline the terms you must follow in relation to breeding or not breeding your dog. Breeding a dog is a serious decision. Only dogs with excellent conformation, health, and temperament should move forward in a breeding program. Selection of the future mate will need careful research and evaluation so you can make the best decisions possible. The breeding pair will need health exams (hip, eye, and Brucella) before they breed. You will also need to draft contracts (stud and puppy). Before breeding your dog, you need to consider whether you have enough time and finances to raise a litter of puppies. If you’re the owner of the female, you have to consider how much work it takes to screen and approve appropriate puppy homes. Make sure to rely on the breeder of your dog, and other breeders, for help about making decisions.

2. When do testicles descend? What problems are associated with retained testicles?

Normally testicles descend between eight weeks and three months. However, in our breed, dogs have had testicles descend as late as 1 year. If the dog doesn’t have both testicles descended by a year, the testicles will not descend and will be retained. If the dog has a retained testicle, it must be surgically removed, as it is dangerous for the dog to retain the testicle. Because of the surgery, the cost for neutering is higher than normal.

3. When do males reach puberty?

Males usually reach puberty around 8 months on average. However, males have been known to produce puppies as early as 6 months.

4. When do females first go into heat, how long does it last, how often does it occur, and what are the first signs?

Females usually go into heat between 10 months and one year of age. Usually, a heat lasts for 14-21 days. The dog is receptive between days 10 and 20. Females go into heat twice per year. The signs of heat are swelling of external genitalia and red to pink discharge from the vulva.

5. At what age do you recommend breeding?

Currently, no hip registry will provide permanent registration of hips before one year. OFA requires the dog to be two years of age before the hips can be permanently registered. Thus, generally speaking no dog should be bred before hips are permanently registered. The exception to this would be a male who is bred after receiving a good preliminary rating and who is otherwise healthy. Females should not be bred until they are sufficiently mentally mature to carry and deliver a litter. This is usually between the ages of two and three.

6. How do I find the right partner for my dog—what should I consider?

First and foremost, if you are a novice breeder, ask other experienced breeders for advice. Specifically, if required by your contract, you should start with the breeder of your dog. This person will know the line best. Decide which characteristics and health issues are important to you. Research pedigrees from dogs whose traits match your goals. Call the owners of the dog you want to breed to and ask lots of questions about temperament and health. Consider the faults and attributes each dog has and whether the breeding will help improve the breed.

7. What is a "test breeding"?

Test breedings are outside the normal parameter of breeding and are done for a variety of reasons, mostly to determine modes of inheritance.


1. How frequently should I feed my Chinook?

Puppies need to eat 3-4 times daily until half grown. It is better for adult dogs to eat twice a day instead of one big meal.

2. What type of dog foods do you recommend for each stage of life?

The dog food you purchase should say that it is "100% complete and balanced" for dogs. Puppies need additional requirements and should be fed a complete puppy food. Premium dry food is lower in fat content and is economical. When shopping for food, corn should not be in the top three ingredients.

3. How do I prevent "bloat" (gastric dilatation volvulus)?

Bloat affects deep chested breeds. It occurs when the stomach fills rapidly with gas and this puts pressure on the dog’s internal organs. The stomach can twist, cutting off the blood supply. This is a medical emergency. Shock and death occur rapidly if not treated immediately. A dog with bloat suddenly looks pregnant or fat. To help prevent bloat, feed your dog several small meals a day and do not exercise them right after eating.

4. How can I tell if my Chinook is under/overweight?

If a dog is too fat, its ribs will barely be felt under a layer of fat. If too thin, the sharp edges of each rib can felt and seen.

Senior Dogs

1. At about what age is a Chinook considered a senior?

Chinooks are considered "senior" around the age of 8 years old, although many Chinooks act quite puppy-like even at the age of eleven. The average life span for a Chinook is 12-15 years.

2. What are some of the common signs of old age?

Some signs of old age are: an increase in sleep, slowness, lack of stamina, joint stiffness, graying of hair, dry, flaky skin, poor eyesight, deafness, and sometimes senility.

3. How can I make my senior dog more comfortable?

Raise their dog food dishes off the floor, provide ramps instead of stairs, give them regular exercise, and provide comfortable bedding.

4. Any special precautions for senior dogs?

Older dogs have a problem with slippery floors. It is suggested that you provide carpeting so they can get a better grip. Keep a senior dog lean to help prevent painful joints. Make sure that they are not exposed to extremes in temperature because they are more sensitive to these fluctuations. Bi-annual health exams are great ideas to help prevent potential problems.