The Rat Terrier is a small American dog, bred as a companion family and farm dog. As with many small dogs, the Rat Terrier is prone to dental problems and luxating patella, along with a few other common ailments. Generally speaking, however, the Rat Terrier is healthy and hardy, and may live as long as 18 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Rat Terrier
Allergies, both inhalants as well as food, are common among this breed. Rat Terriers may be allergic to anything, from grass to food. Symptoms of food allergies include loose stool and vomiting; elements of the dog’s diet should be changed with veterinary intervention. Some environmental allergies are seasonal, and may be treated like human allergies, but always with veterinary oversight. Misaligned jaws, or Malocclusion, may be common with the Rat Terrier, but this issue will not typically affect their health. In few extreme cases, the dog may irritate the roof of its mouth, or its tongue, because its teeth are misaligned. In this case, some teeth may need to be pulled. Generally speaking, the only result of malocclusion is a funny under or overbite. Patellar luxation - slippage of the kneecap - is common with many small dogs, and can often be corrected with surgery. A luxating patella can cause pain and limping in the dog, leading to decreased activity. Weight control is a good way to avoid the issue. Regular home dental care is recommended, as the Rat Terrier can suffer from diseases of both the teeth and gums, which can lead to infections of the bloodstream and other problems. The Rat Terrier may also be prone to Legg-Perthes syndrome, a degeneration of the head of the femur that causes walking difficulties and pain. Surgery can treat this condition as well.
Rat Terrier Exercise and Walking Needs
The Rat Terrier is an active and intelligent breed that requires a few moderately paced walks a day to remain content. Active and creative play inside, with new tricks taught, and new games played, will keep the Rat Terrier’s mind nimble and engaged.
Rat Terrier Nutritional Needs
Aside from the possibility of allergy issues, the Rat Terrier has no overt dietary needs. Portions should match the dog’s age and activity levels. The Rat Terrier will lead a longer, healthier life with good weight management and proper nutrition.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.