Down Syndrome Dog- 9 Important Signs To Detect The Condition!

    Down Syndrome Dog- Everything You Need To Know!

    Have you ever seen a Down Syndrome Dog? If not and you are wondering if it’s possible or not, you need to have a look at this article and know everything on Down Syndrome Dog.

    When it comes to health issues, there are numerous overlaps between humans and dogs, both struggle with anxiety, cancer, diabetes, and seizure disorders to name a few common diseases.

    But, what about the down syndrome in dogs? This is a genetic disorder fairly seen in humans. It is so frequent that every 1 baby in 700 faces this genetic disorder in the United States. But when it comes to Down Syndrome Dog, how do we figure out if our dog has this genetic disorder or not?

    Before jumping into the fact if dogs have down syndrome or not, you should know what down syndrome condition actually is. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a genetic disorder caused due to an extra copy of chromosome 21 during cell division. This extra genetic material leads to physical features and developmental changes in a person or animal.

    It is categorized by different physical features including upward, slanting eyes, and flattened face. People having down syndrome might also struggle with certain medical issues like eye disease, heart defects, and hearing loss.

    Down Syndrome Dog

    Most of us are familiar with how down syndrome causes changes in the body in humans, but when it comes to down syndrome in dogs, the answer can be unclear. Dogs also face genetic defects, but they are not connected to the same piece of genetic material that repeats to cause down syndrome in human beings. But dogs also have slow development, broad faces, and physical frailty that we associate with down syndrome.

    People having down syndrome also have stunted growth and poor muscle tone. The physical and mental development lags behind their normal counterparts.

    Do dogs get down syndrome?

    down syndrome dog
    TDF Blog

    The answer to this question is not as easy as it seems in humans. Many experts have speculated that tigers, apes, dogs, and other animals have many genetic defects that look somewhat similar to down syndrome. A few vets say that a Down syndrome dog exists. Dogs have a different set of chromosomes compared to humans. They have 78 chromosomes and the 21st chromosome in dogs does not have the same information as the 21st chromosome in us.

    Nevertheless, much of the information that is stored in the 21st chromosome in humans appear elsewhere in all other species including dogs. Research on god’s genes is not as advanced as humans. This is because dogs that have such conditions usually die before birth.

    Even though symptoms of down syndrome genetic disorder appear after 1 to 2 years of birth, the puppy begins showing mental slowness and physical abnormalities early on. Also, even though this particular disorder does not affect survival directly, it causes poor organ development thus weakening body parts.

    In addition to this, the dog might end up dying after just a few days because they are not capable of feeding themselves and moving around to save themselves like other dogs. Another reason due to which puppies having down syndrome dies is that their others neglect them after some time from birth. In some cases, the mother might even kill the abnormal puppy to prevent other puppies from getting sick and isolate them from the rest of the litter.

    In general, dogs having down syndrome live for 5 years or so while healthy ones of the same breed can live for 10 to 15 years.

    Now, let’s see how you can find out of the dog you have is a down syndrome dog or not.

    Is Your Dog A Down Syndrome Dog?

    A vet is the one who will be able to identify whether your dog has this genetic disorder or not. The genetics of a dog is not easy to test and he or she might be hard-pressed for a diagnosis. But consider asking your vet about down syndrome dog if your dog suffers from any of the given symptoms:

    • Difficulty in hearing- when your dog does not react as fast as other dogs do when you call them.
    • Congenital heart diseases.
    • Poor eyesight and cataracts in eyes
    • Thyroid issues as shown by unstable body temperature and paired metabolism.
    • Odd behavior such as unusual reserve or wailing
    • Unusual physical features in dogs lie their nose always remains dry and warm, unusual patches on the skin, deformed hips, and legs, and odd facial features including having a broad nose and a protruding tongue.
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    Even you do not receive a definitive answer from your family vet, you can decide that your dog is special and it needs special care and attention because of genes and embryonic development.

    Let’s consider some signs and symptoms you can also notice in your dog to figure out if you have a don syndrome dog or not.

    Signs and symptoms in a down syndrome dog

    Aside from all the ones that are mentioned above, the following signs are symptoms are most common in down syndrome dogs. Some of the signs mentioned above are discussed in brief so you must take a nite so that you can detect the issue early and with proper action and care, save your dog.

    While it may be slightly hard to tell, it is still possible to determine if they have the condition or not. You will have to be more observant. For example, healthy dogs are likely to have most noses while the ones with down syndrome and sick dogs have dry noses. If you wish to find out if your dog has down syndrome, make sure you take a note of the things given below:

    1. Poor Eyesight

    Due to the dog’s poor development with genetic disorder down syndrome, their eyesight also tends t be poor like organs. In fact, these dogs are at greater risk of developing cataracts in one of these eyes or both. Check your dog’s eye and look for cloudiness. If you notice it, it might indicate the formation of a cataract in their eyes or other underlying condition. Either way, you need to take them to a vet.

    2. Unusual Facial or physical features

    A down syndrome dog is more likely to have defined facial features or dwarf-like features. Some of the most common abnormalities in dogs include the flat face, short neck, inwardly slanting eyes, small heads, and abnormal ear shape. In addition to this, dogs having down syndrome typically have dry and warm noses, unlike normal dogs. They also tend to have defined legs, skin patches, and suffer from shedding and hair loss more than healthy dogs.

    3. Hearing problems

    While these particular symptoms are quite hard to take note of, you will see that a dog having down syndrome is usually slow at reacting and following commands when they are in the company of other dogs.

    4. Congenital heart disease

    It is clearly evident in a down syndrome dog because the circulatory system like other organs is not developed properly. These dogs are born with malformations leading to poor development.

    5. Random Pain

    In a down syndrome dog, the entire body is affected by the genetic malformation of organs and the organs are poorly developed. This causes the dog to suffer from pain oftentimes.

    6. Discharge

    A down syndrome dog also suffers from other diseases causing the dogs to have a bloody discharge from the rectum. During the latter stages of down syndrome, you might see this discharge coming out of your dog’s body if they have down syndrome.

    7. Skin problems

    A down syndrome dog might also suffer from skin problems. besides having missing patches and shredding or abnormal patches, their skin might also be highly sensitive towards minor irritants. This will cause the dogs to quickly develop health issues and allergies.

    8. Thyroid Problems

    A down syndrome dog might have a malfunctioning thyroid too causing the dog to have issues with temperature and metabolism. Generally, these dogs have a lower temperature compared to normal and healthy dogs.

    9. Behavioral issues

    A down syndrome dog often shows od behavior and traits such as howling, wailing, or whining incessantly. These dogs also show unusual reserve. Puppies having down syndrome do not advance quickly through all such stages of development. These dogs become difficult to potty train and feed. This is because they are not able to control their bladders as a normal dog does. They may even spend a lot of time outside but still pee once they are home on the carpet. If you have a down syndrome dog, know that you will need a lot of patience dealing with them.

    With all these signs and symptoms, you can figure out if you have a down syndrome dog or a healthy dog. If you have one, you should be familiar with ways to manage your pup’s special condition and treat them with a lot of care.

    Managing the Condition of a down syndrome dog

    down syndrome dog

    Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment to treat genetic disorders like down syndrome in dogs. Despite no cure, the wonder of affected pups can give them a normal and happy life with special care for the rest of their years.

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    Here are few things you can do for your down syndrome dog.

    1. Feed them special dog food high rich in protein to help repair the wasted muscles and strengthen their weekend body. Some dogs with down syndrome might experience allergies to highly processed food items. It will be great to have your family vet check the dog’s food ingredients to find out of something can affect your dog. This helps avoid aggravating your dog’s condition.
    2. Take your down syndrome dog for brisk walks involve your dog in a lot of exercises. Play sports like frisbee and train your dogs to help strengthen their bones and heart. Again, you must consult a vet and talk to them about your dog’s condition and which exercise will be suitable for them such that they do not run out of breathing. If your dog has a congenital heart condition, too much exercise will not be good for them.
    3. As for the maintenance, you can count your vet and ask them to advise you for regular check-ups and prescribe medications or vitamins to keep the functioning of your dog good. Time of medications it proper dosages should be observed strictly. If you suspect an allergy to drugs prescribed, bring them to a vet as soon s you can. Drug allergies may include teaching, panting, and even seizures.

    Life with a down syndrome dog or a special dog might seem a little difficult as most people cannot gather the patience to deal with them. But in reality, once you get them home, you will realize it has a lot of benefits too. Those who bring them home and takes care of affected dogs are quite fulfilled and happy to raise these dogs as normally as they can.

    To some people, just the thought of prolonging their dog’s life could sound like a miracle. Some owners of their down syndrome dogs because health practitioners and nurses to humans and animals because of the nurturing ability they have developed by keeping their dogs.

    What to expect from a down syndrome dog

    You should already know that your dog might not live as long as normal and healthy dogs do. You cannot expect them to perform all the normal things for example you cannot ask them to do “watchdog” duty because of sensory and mental impairments.

    If your dog is suffering blood discharges from its rectum and a lack of potty training, pet owners must keep their family members away from the dogs and the discharges.

    Frequent sanitation of your dog’s living space should be carried out. Also, the sleeping area of your dog should be comfortable as their sensory abilities might not enable the dogs to move around as frequently as normal dogs do.

    Is It Safe To Have Other Dogs In Household?

    Genetic disorders like down syndrome are not contagious, so having another dog in your house would not be a problem in general. It can also be beneficial to the dog affected with down syndrome. They mingle with other dogs very well.

    Also, reproduction with dogs having down syndrome is not possible because these dogs have fertility issues. Breeding such dogs is not desirable as the offspring is likely to have down syndrome too.

    Health care for a down syndrome dog

    down syndrome dog

    Let’s see what to do in terms of taking care of your dog and what drugs to avoid completely.

    Traditional drugs can do more harm than good, always talk to your vet before introducing any changes to your dog’s diet ad medications if you are giving any.

    Avoid Drugs

    There are some drugs which the vet may prescribe for a down syndrome dog. But it would be great if you do not use them. Your dog’s health is compromised already due to their genetic condition. You would want to boost their strength, immunity, and mobility along with organ functions not challenge them.

    Controlling your dog’s pain is a bigger factor in the care of your dog. Oftentimes you might have wished your dog could speak to you and tell you where it pains. You do not want to see them getting hurt or in pain so you may be drawn to using conventional medications.


    Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for chronic and acute pain in the case of arthritic pain and inflammation. Using these drugs for the long term can have a serious effect on cartilage. You do not want this to happen. NSAIDs can slow the healing process and speed up the degeneration of joints.

    Some common NSAIDs include Rimadyl, aspirin, Deramaxx, Previcox, Metacam, or Galliprant. Drugs or medications like these are not safe. These drugs cause hundred of death each year. They irritate the stomach lining which leads to liver and kidney failure and GI bleeding in humans. Imagine what will happen if you give these drugs to your dog who already has poor organ function.


    You might have heard about the over-use of opioids in humans. It happens in dogs too. Opioids have sedative effects yet they are prescribed more and more. They can cause certain serious side effects including respiratory issues that may lead to death. Others dogs are recommended several drugs to suppress their pain, eat more due to overdose, and causing inability to stand.

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    One opioid drug that is prescribed often for dogs is Tramadol. It has the ability to manage severe conditions like pain due to cancer, but make sure you do not use it for the long term.


    Antibiotics eliminate many infections and kill bacteria to save lives. But these have become overprescribed for the majority of conditions be it major or minor. Antibiotics can kill all the bacterias including bacteria that are friendly and proven to be good for your dogs. About 90% of the immune system in a dog lives in their gut and is dependant upon good bacteria, Giving antibiotics for the long term can have many side effects.

    A broader issue with antibiotics is that bacteria over time become resistant to be antibiotics, so they will not work on certain infections when needed. Plus, antibiotics can suppress diseases. They may solve your dog’s problem but temporarily. They may even drive their doses deeper cause worse problems in long run.

    Allergy Drugs

    Apoquel and Cytopoint are prescribed for skin issues in dogs but they function by suppressing part of the dog’s immune system which can be harmful in the long run. Sometimes they may even cause side effects like itchy skin which is the reason these drugs are given in the first place.


    Vets also prescribe steroids to the dogs for managing allergies, autoimmune conditions, and inflammatory conditions. These drugs function by suppressing the immune system along with inflammation. You will notice the results first but you do not want to weaken the immune system of your dog especially when they have down syndrome already. A commonly prescribed steroid in dogs is prednisone

    Natural Practices To Help A Down Syndrome Dog

    If you have welcomed your down syndrome dog as a puppy, you have an incredible opportunity to maintain their health. You can build their health by limiting any toxins and avoiding harmful treatments and drugs for the health issues. Switch them to better practices and this will help strengthen your dog’s entire immune system thus maintaining good health.

    Feed them a raw diet

    Feeding your dog a raw diet with high-quality protein is the best option for their health. It provides the amino acids and nutrients to repair their muscles. Probiotics and digestive enzymes absorb all the nutrients n their body. Then, they will receive the most nutrition from h food.

    If your dog does not each much or lacks appetite, you can use stimulants like dried or fresh herbs. Fennel, garlic, dill, peppermint, and alfalfa are some appetite stimulants to use. You can also use green tripe, bone broth, and garlic as healthy and tasty nutritious additions.

    Minimize vaccinations

    Just avoid vaccinations or minimize them. vaccinations are mainly for healthy dogs. If the health of your special dog is compromised already, vaccinating them for some issue can worsen their current condition. All the vaccines have can potentially cause some adverse effects on the dogs’ health.

    They can range from mild reactions like soreness and lethargy to harmful reactions like anaphylactic shock and autoimmune disease even leading to death. Vaccines have multiple additives, heavy toxins, and metals. They might create health issues in the future if not now and inflame the dog’s body causing reactions further. These effects of dogs are called vaccinosis. It can appear as a chronic health issue including change in behavior, skin issues, etc.

    You should go for natural immunity instead of vaccinations.

    Detox your dog

    If there are any medications you must give your dog or the dog is vaccinated, you must go for regular detoxes. If you live in a place where pesticides and herbicides are sprayed, know that they may affect your dog’s health. His air, food, home, and water all might contain toxins as well. Detox done several times would be great for the dog. It helps cleanse their liver, skin, GI tract, and kidneys. These are some things that help detox the dogs:

    • Probiotics and prebiotics
    • spring water
    • Bioflavonoids like quercetin and green tea.
    • B complex
    • High protein diet to keep up level of amino acids.
    • Glutathione
    • Milk thistle
    • antioxidants

    Good gut health is very important to support your down syndrome dog. This also helps support their microbiome. The gut produces hormones and enzymes for digestion and other good health functions. It is an important part of the dogs’ ability to fight against the disease. You must give them a healthy mix of probiotics and prebiotics so that their gut works smoothly.


    For long-term health, give your dog homeopathy. Homeopathy is tailor-made for dogs with different health conditions. Under the guidance of skilled homeopaths, homeopathy is a noninvasive way of dealing with ongoing health problems. This includes orthopedic problems, digestive issues, and organ deficiency.

    Consult a homeopath regularly to address all the issues. This will suppress the symptoms of a down syndrome dog. By following all-natural remedies, you will be able to improve their health overall.

    Manage Inflammation

    Inflammation has troubled many dogs with down syndrome. Instead of using steroids, there are some regular methods too for proving relief to your dog. Some are therapies and some treatments are in supplement form. A combination can be useful in providing your down syndrome dog with relief for the dog’s needs.

    These were some important things to know about down syndrome dogs.


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