Everything you need to know about gundog health in one place, including advice from gundog experts about ailments and illnesses, teeth, nutrition, x-rays and much more, plus your questions answered by vets.

Dog eating grass

BARF diet for dogs – the risks and benefits

Bones and raw food for dogs I’ve long been an advocate of feeding dogs as natural a diet as possible, which means raw food and vegetables. I was convinced by an interview 
I did 15 years ago with holistic vet Dr Nick Thompson. I feed a raw chicken wing for…

food allergies in gundogs

Dealing with food allergies in gundogs

Q: My three-year-old red Labrador bitch is pretty much itchy all the time. I am considering trying a low allergy diet. Is this worthwhile? How can you deal with food allergies in gundogs? A:If your Labrador is permanently itchy (as opposed to the sort of seasonal itch that you might…

dog raw bones

Is it safe to give your dog raw bones to chew?

Is it safe to give my dog raw bones to chew? This is one of those subjects where opinions differ. Some dogs will chew bones their whole lives and never experience a problem. Others will require emergency surgery after being given only one bone. The complications of giving a dog…

Lame dog

What should you do about lameness in a dog and what causes it?

Lame dog Q: My working lurcher is on/off lame on her right foreleg and there appears to be swelling around the wrist. Any suggestions? A: Lots. Most importantly, I would immediately confine her to barracks until the problem has been diagnosed. Continuing to exercise your lame dog now may jeopardise…

gundog puppies and COVID-19

Puppies and umbelical hernias – what you need to know

Umbilical hernia on puppy Q: My puppy bitch has an umbilical hernia that the vet intended to repair when she was spayed after her first season. However, we are having second thoughts about neutering her and wanted to know if this means she still needs an operation to repair her…

Dewclaws

What should I do about my dog’s dewclaws?

Dogs and dewclaws Q: My dog still has his dewclaws, but I’ve been told that these are usually removed soon after birth. Is it too late to have them removed now? What would you advise? A: It is legal to remove dewclaws from puppies whose eyes have not yet opened.…

Black Labrador

Why the Labrador is an endangered breed

Spot the odd one out: grey wolf, Labrador, golden jackal, coyote. All four are members of the genus Caninae, and have scientific names prefixed with the word Canis. However, a big clue is that the Labrador is the only one that can be trained to retrieve pheasants, sniff out drugs…

Raw chicken wings for dogs

All about puppies and their teeth

Q: Why are puppy teeth so sharp?  A: Puppies are born without teeth but then develop two sets. A temporary, deciduous set of puppy teeth erupt around three to four weeks of age, which are replaced by 
a second set of permanent teeth that gradually replace the former, starting at…

hearing loss in older dogs

How to help an older dog suffering from deafness

Q: Our old gundog is starting to become deaf, probably due to his age. Is there anything to help hearing loss in older dogs? A: Certainly the most common 
form of deafness in dogs is age-related hearing loss (ARHL). Most dogs experience some degree of ARHL as they get older. Unfortunately,…

pork pie

Why gundogs shouldn’t eat pork pies

Pancreatitis in dogs can be serious. I received a salutary tale from 
reader and regular correspondent Arthur Moore, who had just returned from walking Hadrian’s Wall with his 
wife Ann and daughter Jocasta, plus 
two English springers, Ella, aged 10, 
and Nina, aged two. “We walked the wall, day on…

Labrador gundog

How to help a dog with arthritis

“My eight year old Labrador is a bit slow to get going now and is usually lame by lunchtime, when I rug her up and put her in the vehicle. She seems a bit young to call it a day. How can you help a dog with arthritis?” Many working…

black Labrador puppy

Health checks you must carry out before breeding Labradors

Q: “I am considering breeding from my 
young Labrador bitch but have to confess 
to being overwhelmed by all the advice 
I am getting. Any thoughts?” Thoughts on breeding Labradors A: First I would say that breeding from your only dog can be fraught and is not entirely without risk.…

springer spaniel puppy

My spaniel has horrible waxy ears. What can I do about it?

Q: My spaniel has horrible waxy ears. No amount of cleaning seems to make a difference. Any suggestions? I’m worried they may lead to more spaniel ear problems. A: Neil says: Yes, stop what you are doing. You are probably making the situation worse. We need to go back to…

dog in sun

How to keep gundogs cool in hot weather

Q: With a young dog in training this summer, have you some advice on the best ways to keep dogs cool in hot weather? A: The advice on how to keep dogs cool in hot weather is 
so important. Here’s what to do. Keep dogs cool by providing a cool…