Samoyeds are a beloved dog breed many across the globe adore. Native to Siberia, this beautiful dog is known for its happy disposition and cloud-like appearance. However, this breed is prone to specific health issues. Dog owners should pay attention to breed-specific health concerns. It could lead to unexpected pet ownership costs, whether a hereditary condition or not. Below, we discuss everything dog owners need to know regarding Samoyed health issues, life expectancy, and care requirements.

Samoyed health 101: What owners can expect

Samoyeds are highly active yet loveable dogs. Part of the working dog category, this breed needs plenty of exercise and is best suited to individuals with a high-energy lifestyle. Regarding temperament, Samoyeds are gentle and calm. They are incredibly loyal companions and are great for families with young children.

Generally, this dog breed lives long and healthy lives. Provided they’re given the correct routine pet care, the lifespan of Samoyeds ranges between twelve and fourteen years. These dogs require training (mainly to keep their barking in check). However, they're extremely intelligent and can master basic commands quickly—even if they're a little stubborn about it.

Mental stimulation is vital for this dog breed. That's why it's so important for pet parents to give these dogs the attention and exercise they need. When Samoyeds are left alone for long periods, it can result in destructive behaviors, such as chewing cables or redesigning your backyard.

When it comes to dog grooming, Samoyeds can be a handful. Owners must brush their distinctive white fluffy coat two to three times a week to avoid tangles and remove any loose dirt. This breed also sheds a lot throughout the year, even more so during shedding season. Dog owners should expect to brush their Samoyed daily during this time. In addition to all this, these dogs need regular bathing, ear cleaning, and dental care.

However, like all purebred and pedigree dogs, Samoyed health issues can arise. Some of these conditions may have been inherited from their parents, while others could result from old age. Let's look at the common Samoyed health issues which you can expect.

Common Samoyed health issues

Understanding a dog's health concerns is highly valuable, especially if you're interested in a particular breed. When it comes to Samoyed health issues, many conditions are hereditary. Yet, that doesn't mean they aren't susceptible to other maladies. Here are the common health issues you may encounter.

Cataracts

As a breed, Samoyeds often suffer from vision issues, such as cataracts. This lens abnormality may be hereditary, but poor nutrition and aging also cause it. Your dog may have cataracts if it's displaying symptoms such as squinting, cloudiness in the pupil, or inflammation around the eye. Treatment for cataracts depends on the severity, as there are various types.

Take your Samoyed to the vet if you suspect they have cataracts. The vet will perform different tests to determine the cause of your dog's eye problems. Based on the diagnosis, your four-legged friend may need surgery.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is another common eye problem featured on the list of Samoyed health issues. While it affects a relatively low number of Samoyeds, it could lead to blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure in the eye, which blocks the eye's drainage system. This puts your dog's optic nerve and retina at risk. For Samoyeds, glaucoma symptoms can show as:

  • squinting;
  • sensitivity to light;
  • excessive tear production;
  • redness around the eye;
  • bloodshot eye.

Similar to cataracts, treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. Upon examination, your vet may prescribe medicated eye drops or surgery. Early diagnosis is vital; however, an emergency vet visit will be necessary in cases of acute glaucoma.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common hereditary condition in dogs, and Samoyeds are no exception. This condition causes medium to severe changes in a dog's hip joint. This results in the leg bone not fitting into the pelvis correctly. This abnormality puts excessive pressure on the cartilage around your dog's hip joint leading to severe arthritis.

Dogs with hip dysplasia may have limping, muscle mass loss, slow movement, and a reluctance to jump. This inherited condition may be diagnosed when your dog is a puppy. However, symptoms might not show up until they're older. Routine pet care is vital when caring for your dog's bone health.

Atrial septal defect

When it comes to Samoyed health issues, the heart is another organ of concern. Many Samoyeds are at high risk of a condition called Atrial septal defect (ASD). This is a congenital defect characterized by a hole in the septum between two atrial chambers at the top of the heart. This hole creates abnormal blood flow, meaning blood doesn't get pushed into the lungs properly.

Dogs with ASD can be asymptomatic or show signs such as heart murmurs, sluggishness, or a blue tinge to their tongue. A vet can diagnose this congenital heart disease by carrying out a simple chest x-ray. If you have pet insurance for dogs, your insurer will cover the cost of this exam.

Aortic stenosis

Aortic stenosis is an inherited heart condition that affects many dog breeds, including Samoyeds. This condition results in a narrowed aorta, which makes it harder for your dog's heart to push blood around its body. This abnormality happens where the aorta meets the left ventricle. As your dog's heart is working extra hard to push blood through this narrow passage, it places extreme stress on the heart.

Dogs with aortic stenosis may display the following symptoms:

  • fainting;
  • poor growth;
  • coughing;
  • exercise intolerance;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • heart rhythm abnormalities.

Unfortunately, aortic stenosis can lead to cardiovascular failure and sudden death. Samoyeds with this hereditary dog condition might take beta blockers and restrict exercise routines as management.

Bloat

Bloat, also called gastric dilation, is a life-threatening condition that causes a dog's stomach to twist in the abdomen. It's common in breeds with a deep chest, including Samoyeds. Bloat has two main phrases. First, the stomach becomes enlarged due to gas and fluids. Next, the stomach twists, closing off both ends of the stomach and trapping its contents. This condition has a fifty percent mortality rate.

Samoyeds are at high risk of developing bloat. You may notice symptoms, such as panting, drooling, difficulty walking, or unproductive vomiting. Samoyed health issues like this one require urgent veterinary care. In most cases, surgery can correct the problem.

Uveodermatologic syndrome (VKH)

Uveodermatologic syndrome (VKH) is an autoimmune condition that attacks a dog's eyes, skin, and nervous system. Samoyeds with VKH often have painful, red eyes, light sensitivity, and vitiligo. Many of the symptoms are cosmetic, yet this condition can lead to retinal damage or blindness in Samoyeds.

VKH in Samoyeds typically develops between the ages of one and four. Treatment for this condition is focused mainly on the eyes. Your vet may prescribe various medications or aggressive therapy to combat sight loss.

Diabetes

Canine diabetes is similar to human diabetes. It's recognized as an inability to produce insulin in the body. Samoyeds often show signs of this condition between four and ten years old. Pet parents may notice symptoms, including weight loss, lethargy, excessive water intake, and increased appetite. When treated early through diet regulation and insulin injections, your dog can lead a happy life.

However, it's good to note diabetes can lead to other Samoyed health issues, such as cataracts. Speak with your vet about managing canine diabetes and other conditions it may cause.

How to keep your Samoyed pup healthy and happy

Samoyeds are a wonderful breed of dog and make excellent pets. However, dealing with Samoyed health issues can be worrisome for pet parents. Although you can't prevent all of these issues (e.g., hereditary conditions), there are simple ways you can keep your Samoyed pup energized, carefree, and healthy.

  1. Routine pet care. Regular vet visits are a must when caring for your Samoyed pup. From the moment they're born to three months, your dog should be visiting the vet once a month. After this, vet visits should be once every three months. When your dog is a year old, aim to bring your Samoyed for routine checkups once a year.
  2. Vaccinations. Dog vaccinations are vital in protecting your Samoyed against avoidable health issues. In its first year, your dog should be getting vaccinated against parvovirus, rabies, distemper, adenovirus, Lyme disease, and more. Booster shots are required annually to ensure your dog stays immune to these diseases.
  3. Dental care. Ignoring your dog's dental health could set you up for significant expenses. Brushing their teeth daily, combined with a dental-friendly diet, can go a long way to keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Make sure to book your Samoyed for regular dental cleanings with your vet or groomer.
  4. Flea, ticks, and heartworm prevention. Your Samoyed is at an increased risk from fleas, ticks, and heartworms during summer. Regular grooming and preventative medications are the best way to protect your pup. Speak to your vet about getting flea, tick, and heartworm medicine for your pet.

Pet insurance for dogs: Will my Samoyed be covered?

Unfortunately for pet parents, Samoyed health issues can drive up the cost of your vet bills quickly. Without pet insurance for dogs, the treatment costs for any of these conditions could be in the thousands range. That's why many looking to adopt a Samoyed often ask, Will dog insurance cover my Samoyed's health problems?

With Wagmo, our pet insurance for dogs helps Samoyed owners cover the costs of hereditary and unexpected illnesses. If your pet ever needs medical care, our plans provide financial protection, helping you get your pup the medical attention they need. With three deductible options to choose from and 100% co-insurance, you'll be covered for various procedures.

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Check out our Wagmo Pet Insurance and Pet Wellness plans to learn more about how we support pet parents. Looking to sign up for a plan? Take our pet insurance for dogs quiz today.