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A list of words, phrases and terms... all related to dogs.

There are 288 entries in the dog dictionary.
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Term Definition

Cancer is an escalated growth of abnormal cells anywhere in the body. There are many different kinds of cancer affecting different organs, tissues, blood or bone. Cancer affects both humans, and the Dogs that live with us, in a similiar way. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, bone cancer, and other cancers affecting the brain, blood or organs plague us both. Losing a Dog to cancer is a sad and painful experience for everyone involved. Although we still do not know how a healthy cell mutates into a deadly cancerous cell and although there is still not a cure for cancer, there are some preventative measures we can take. Provide the cleanest water possible (invest in a water filter), feed high quality food without chemical additives, avoid exposure to herbicides and pesticides (especially on lawns), supplement with fresh fatty acids, use an intelligent and limited vaccine protocol, limit caloric intake, and provide adequate excercise, mental stimulation and human involvement. (see Carcinoma, Lymphoma.)

Canine Herpesvirus

Canine herpesvirus is a highly infectious virus, common in Dogs, that affects the reproductive tract. It is spread between Dogs through direct contact or contracted through airborne particles among Dogs in close proximity. Although few Dogs show symptoms, a herpes infection in a pregnant bitch can lead to abortion of the litter, stillborn puppies, or puppies reabsorbed at some time during the term. Healthy puppies can be infected with the virus as they pass through the birth canal. Surviving puppies infected with the virus may be weak, undersized and may die shortly after birth (1 to 3 days.) "Fading Puppy Syndrome" refers to puppies that languish and die for "no" apparent reason. If the puppies make it through the first 2 or 3 weeks, the prognosis for survival is much better.


Carcinomas are cancers that form from mutated epithileal cells. These are cells in the skin as well as cells that form the internal linings of the intestines, organs, and internal cavities. They differ from sarcomas that are cancers that form from altered cells in the mesenchymal group which are cells in connective tissue, bone, fat or muscle.

Carnassial Tooth

The 4th pre-molar in the upper jaw and the 1st molar in the lower jaw are known as the carnassials. They are pointed and used for shearing flesh. The other bottom molars are flat and used for grinding.


Cartenoids are compounds that give pigment to leafy plants and vegetables. Orange and red cartenoids are classified as carotenes and yellow pigment cartenoids are classified as xanthophylls. They are used by green plants in photosynthesis as well as to preserve clorophyll and help protect plants during periods of excessive sunlight. Animals cannot produce cartenoids on their own, and must either consume cartenoid rich vegetables or animal products that have accumulated cartenoids. In the past cartenoids were most commonly known as a source of vitamin A. This is because some cartenoids, especially beta-carotene and alpha-carotene are converted to vitamin A in the body. New research has shown that cartenoids are involved in many processes in the body as well as being powerful antioxidants. Two cartenoids, Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the retina and in much the same way as they protect plants, they defend the retina from powerful sun rays. There is evidence that diets rich in cartenoids reduce the risk of macular degeneration and slow the development of age related cataracts. The highest concentration of cartenoids are found in the corpus luteum and so play an important role in female reproduction. Cartenoids influence colon health, cardiovascular health, diabetes and insulin levels, as well as defending against radiation, boosting the immune system, maintaining healthy mucous tissues, and aiding in the production of red and white blood cells. Foods rich in cartenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale and other leafy greens, and eggs. To supplement your Dog with cartenoids try using organic freeze dried kale powder, organic alfalfa powder, or kelp powder. Alternate them to get a well rounded assortment from different sources. They are fat soluble so when supplementing your Dog with cartenoids, it is good to mix them with fish oil, coconut oil or another healthy fat, then mix directly into their food. (See Lutein, zeaxanthin, alfalfa, kelp, corpus luteum.)


Catabolism is a division of metabolism which refers to enzymatic, catalytic and other chemical reactions that break down organic compounds to release energy for cellular activity, also known as cellular respiration. (See Metabolism.)


Any opaque layer on the lens of the eye is considered a cataract. A small cataract may have little effect on vision, but thicker, more prominent cataracts will affect the vision of your dog. You can see cataracts in your dog's eye as a milky blue cloud. Although cataracts can be the result of an injury, most are inherited.


CERF or Canine Eye Registration Foundation was started in 1974 to track and document congenital eye diseases in purebred dogs. Many illness do not start until later in life making regular CERF eye exams necessary for breeding animals.


The Cervix is the gateway from the vagina to the uterus and is comprised of muscle and connective tissue to create a muscular tube that is usually tightly closed to prevent foreign bacteria or infection from entering the uterus. During estrus, the cervix relaxes for fertilization. In this way the pressure from the engorged penis pushes the ejaculate through the cervix into the uterus.


To become a Champion of record a dog must win a total of 15 points. They must include at least 2 major shows and be judged the winner by at least 3 different judges. A major show is one in which there are larger numbers of competitors entered in the class. There are 3, 4, or 5 point majors depending on the number of dogs entered. Smaller entries are allotted 1 or 2 points.

Chondroitin Sulfate

(See Glucosamine.)


Chondrosarcoma is a cancerous tumor from mutated cartilage cells that can spread to adjacent tissues and organs. It is most often found in the bones of the ribcage, the upper jaw and the nasal passageway. Surgical removal of the tumor is the best treatment and if it is caught early; prognosis is good. (See sarcoma.)


The middle layer of the eyeball that contains the blood vessels.

Ciliary Body

The Ciliary body is right behind the Iris in the eye and produces aqueous humor, the fluid that fills the front (anterior) part of the eye. It also contracts and relaxes allowing the lens to focus. (see aqueous humor,tonometry,IOP)

Class, American Bred

The American Bred Class is a class in the conformation ring for Dogs that were both bred and whelped in the United States. American Bred for Dogs and American Bred for Bitches.

Class, Bred By Exhibitor

Bred By Exhibitor, is a class in the conformation ring for Dogs that have been bred by, and are owned by the exhibitor. There is Bred by Exhibitor for Dogs and Bred by Exhibitor for Bitches.

Class, Open

The Open class is a class in the conformation ring for a Dog over 6 months of age that has not yet achieved a championship. There is Open Dog and Open Bitch.

Class, Puppy

The Puppy class is a class in the conformation ring for dogs between the ages of 6 to 12 months. Puppy classes are divided between the sexes; Puppy Dog and Puppy Female.

Cleft Palate

A cleft palate occurs when during the puppy's development in the womb, both the roof of the mouth and the softer tissue above it, or one or the other does not come together completely. When both fail to close there is an opening between the roof of the mouth and the nasal cavity. Possible causes for a cleft palate include inheritance, over supplementing the pregnant bitch with vitamin A, or giving steroids to the bitch during pregnancy.


A water soluble vitamin in the B complex group that is important in the functioning of the nervous system and also in the production of red blood cells. (See vitamin B12)

Cobalmin Malabsorption

A rare inherited disorder where vitamin B12 is not properly absorbed through the intestines. A blood test will verify low levels of B12 in the blood. Symptoms include the inability to put on weight and a lack of energy and usually appear early in puppies. Affected breeds include Border Collies, Beagles and Giant Schnauzers.



Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be found in health food stores and should be purchased only in the "virgin" or cold pressed from. Partially hydrogenated coconut oil destroys the antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and alters the fat structure by combining fatty acids with hydrogen producing unhealthy trans fats. The primary fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, with lesser amounts of capric acid and caprylic acid. There are many claims that lauric acid helps the body fight viruses, bacteria, protozoans and fungus infections, and when used topically speeds up healing. Read about coconut oil or talk to your veterinarian to draw your own conclusions. Many Dog owners feed small amounts (1/2teaspoon to 4teaspoons a day) depending on the age and size of the Dog. They use it to improve coat, help with skin conditions and aid digestion. It is used topically to fight ear infections, small abrasions and dermatitis.


Colostrum is produced by the mammary glands just before whelping in preparation for the first feeding to the newborns. It is lower in fat and higher in protein and carbohydrates as well as containing antibodies to help protect the puppies from infection. A newborn should receive colostrum as soon as possible after birth. Antibodies are rather large proteins and are more readily absorbed through a puppy's stomach for the first 6 hours of their life.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure is the final stage of an overworked, weakened or diseased heart that has been overcompensating for a defect over a long period of time. The heart is basically a mechanical pump, and at some point the mechanics of the pump begin to fail. Blood and fluid begin to back up around the heart, into the lungs, and into other organs in the body as the pump can no longer effectively circulate blood throughout the body. Early signs include coughing, decreased activity and tiring easily. Dogs rarely cough. They may hack sometimes, but a cough is rare and unmistakable. Medications can relieve fluid build up for a time but eventually the heart fails. If you suspect heart failure, see your veterinarian to prescribe medications that can relieve symptoms. (See furosemide)


The Cornea is the protective clear front shield of the eye that covers the iris. Directly behind it is the anterior chamber which is the space between the iris and the cornea.


A highly infectious virus that affects the intestinal tract of Dogs. The primary symptom is Diarrhea and can be accompanied by loss of appetite. Dogs are infected when they come in contact with feces that is contaminated with the virus and it usually runs its course within 2 weeks. Because it is a virus there is no direct treatment for coronavirus, but care must be given to young puppies and geriatric dogs to address dehydration and any secondary infection that can occur. The virus can live on a surface for many months so cleanliness is the best defense. A complete cleaning with bleach can eradicate the virus.

Corpus Luteum

A glandular mass that forms from the burst ovarian follicle after ovulation. If the Bitch is impregnated, the Corpus Luteum persists in order to produce progesterone which is vital to maintain pregnancy.

Cow Hocked

A Dog is said to be Cow Hocked if the Hocks are turned in toward each other while the rear feet are pointing outward.


Crabbing is easily seen when the Dog is moving toward you. The spinal column is at a diagonal from the travel direction of the Dog.

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