Why Do Dogs Have Itchy Ears?

My dog keeps scratching his ears. What might be wrong?

Don’t just assume your dog’s ears itch if he scratches them frequently. It may be a sign of a painful infection. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following changes: ear discharge, a strange odor and head shaking.

Dogs frequently develop ear infections because of their long L-shaped ear canals that easily trap dirt and moisture. Breeds with long, floppy ears and dogs who frequently swim are the most susceptible. Parasites or allergies can also trigger an infection.

The best way to prevent ear problems in your dog is to try to keep the ears clean and to check them often for any discharge or odor. Ask your veterinarian how to use cotton balls and an ear cleaner.

What is Average Dog Weight?

An estimated 56 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese.* How do you identify a healthy weight goal for your dog if he’s overweight (or underweight)?

Most people turn to resources on the internet with an average dog weight or a range. Because all dogs are different, though, it’s not that simple.

Problems with Identifying an “Average” Dog Weight

Since dogs come in so many different breeds and sizes, it’s impossible to identify an average weight for all dogs. Weight may also depend on the dog’s sex and whether they’ve been spayed or neutered.

Although many resources provide an average weight range for different breeds, it’s usually significant. These ranges often don’t take the dog’s sex and other factors into consideration.

For example, a typical weight range you might see for a Labrador Retriever is 55 to 80 pounds. That’s a big range, and most female Labs shouldn’t weigh 80 pounds. They should fall on the lower end of the range.

Weight ranges also don’t account for the many mixed breed dogs out there. Just because the typical range for a Lab is 55 to 80 pounds doesn’t mean your Lab mix will or should fall within that range. It will depend on the other breeds he’s mixed with.

Plus, what if you don’t know the breed make-up of your mixed-breed dog? What then? Most resources say to use the dominant breed, but even then, you’re guessing what that is. An average dog weight or range definitely doesn’t work for mixed breeds.

How to Adopt a Dog

Adopting a dog is a big step. There are a lot of things to consider, from choosing the right one for your lifestyle to deciding where to adopt from. Let us help you find the perfect canine companion.  

Purina has tools and resources to not only help you choose the perfect dog breed, but to also help you find adoptable dogs near you. Plus, our experts have a wealth of tips and advice to keep your new four-legged friend as healthy and happy as possible.  

Choosing the Perfect Dog for You

To find the perfect dog for you, you’ll have to do some research. By exploring various breeds, their energy levels, grooming needs and more, you can ensure the dog you bring into your home fits seamlessly into your life. You can use our breed selector, which asks a series of questions about your lifestyle and preferences to suggest appropriate breeds. You can also explore different breeds on our site, sorting by athleticism, appearance and other factors to find the right dog for you.  

Where to Adopt Your Dog

Once you understand the type of dog you’re looking for, it’s time to start your search. There are plenty of options when it comes to adopting a dog, which we’ve outlined below.  

  • Breeder: You may want to visit a breeder if you’re looking for a specific breed and have questions about personality, health conditions and other considerations. Keep in mind, this is probably the most expensive route, but by going through a reputable breeder, you know exactly where your dog came from and may even have the opportunity to meet his litter mates, mother and father.  
  • Shelters: If you want a purebred dog but prefer not to go through a breeder, shelters are another great option. They often have a surprising number of purebreds and many other types of dogs. These facilities house animals for many different reasons and are operated by organizations dedicated to animal welfare, like a humane society, or by a municipal or county government. They usually have a wide variety of dogs in need of loving homes, and some may have already acquired basic house training and cooperative skills.  
  • Rescue Organizations: Like shelters, rescue organizations are dedicated to animal welfare, but they may not have a dedicated facility to house and care for their adoptable pets. Rescues care for a much smaller number of animals through a network of private foster homes rather than in a shelter. Volunteers or staff members often foster one or more animals at a time to provide temporary, in-home care. As foster parents care for pets in their home, they learn a lot about the dog’s personality and behavior. In most cases, you can contact the rescue group and request to visit adoptable pets in foster homes to determine if they’re a good fit.   

Dog Car Safety Tips

Whether your dog is scared of car rides or gets overly excited about getting in a vehicle, start with slow, gradual training. Get him used to getting in and out of the car, the sounds of the doors, the engine and the horn.

Once he’s got that down, go for a ride around the block. Slowly increase your distance as he learns to hop right in and sit in his seat. By taking things slow, your dog will learn how to behave in the car, which helps keep you both safe.

2. Buckle Up

There are a lot of products on the market for dog car safety, but not all products are created equal. Do your research to ensure the product you choose fits your dog properly for his size.

Dog seat belts and car harnesses are two of the more popular options. They click right into the existing seat belt buckles in your car. These products can allow your dog some freedom to move around, but keep him secure in his seat.

Although plenty of other options are available, like harnessed dog boosters, mesh car barriers and dog hammocks, these don’t offer the security of a dog car safety harness or belt if you make a sudden stop or are in a collision. In fact, if some of these items aren’t properly secured, they could injure both you and your dog.

3. Be Prepared

Whether it’s a short ride or a long trip, make sure you’re prepared. Bring along your dog’s usual collar or harness, plus his leash.

Make sure you have plenty of food and fresh water, along with a food bowl and spill-proof water bowl. You’ll want to time his feedings so he’s not traveling on a full stomach, which can cause motion sickness.

Other items to consider based on trip length include: