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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
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.


A portion of the Dog's ear is surgically removed under anesthesia, to create an ear that will stand erect. It is usually performed between 6 and 12 weeks of age.

Cruciate Ligament

There are two cruciate ligaments in the center of the stifle that serve to connect the femur to the tibia; the cranial (anterior) cruciate ligament, abbreviated as ACL or CCL, and the caudel (posterior) cruciate ligament, or PCL. They are called cruciate because the ACL crosses in front of the PCL forming a "X." The ACL is primarily responsible for stablizing the tibia and it is the most often ligament to fail in the stifle. ACL tear is the most common reason for rear lameness in a dog.(See Stifle, TPLO, Patella)


A condition in male dogs where 1 or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum, but remain in the abdomen. If the testicles have not descended into the scrotum by 8 or 9 weeks, it is unlikely that they will. If it is not addressed, the condition may cause complications later in life.


Curcumin is the active antioxidant found in tumeric. Tumeric is a ancient herb used in Indian cooking and colors rice and other dishes yellow. Curcumin has also been found to reduce certain enzymes that cause inflammation and has been used to treat inflammation in the Iris as well as treat allergies and arthritis.(see antioxidant) Laboratory studies have shown that some kinds of cancer cells are hindered by curcurmin and it reduces the spread of these cancers in the lab.


Also known as the canine tooth. It sits to the left and right sides of the front incisors on both the upper and lower jaw.

Deciduous Teeth

Temporary Puppy teeth.

Dew Claw

A left over vestigial digit usually found on the inside of the front legs, but can sometimes be found on the rear legs as well. It is slightly higher on the leg from the foot so that when the dog is standing, it does not touch the ground. They are usually removed from young puppies.


Any loose hanging skin on the throat under the jaw.


DHA is short for Docosahexaenoic acid which is a 22 carbon unit long fatty acid chain found primarily in the brain, sperm, nerve cells and retina of the eye. Whole sardines (with the head on) as well as fish oil from cold water fish are excellent sources of DHA. Breast milk is rich in DHA and is important in the development of the eyes, nervous system and brain, especially during the first 2 weeks of the puppy's life.


A single injection with the combined vaccines for distemper, hepatitis,leptospirosis parainfluenza and parvovirus.

Diastole Phase

One of the 2 phases in the cycle of the heart where the ventricle chambers relax and the heart fills with blood. Diastolic heart murmurs occur when the ventricles are relaxed between heart beats.

Diastolic Heart Murmur

Diastolic Heart murmurs occur when the ventricle chambers are relaxed and the heart fills with blood. They are heard between beats. (See Blog article Canine Heart.)


About 1 week after ovulation cornified vaginal cells return to there normal shape when examined under a microscope. This marks the beginning of Diestrus which follows Estrus. This stage ends when progesterone levels fall below 1ng/ml. In general this will take about 60 days if the Bitch was not bred or just before whelping if the Bitch was bred.


Diploid organisms have 2 copies of every gene for a given trait, one from the father and one from the mother. Dogs like humans are diploid.


Distemper is a very infective viral disease related to the virus that causes measles in humans. Around the world, it is the number one virus causing death to dogs. Unvaccinated young puppies and older dogs with lower immunity are the most vulnerable to the disease. The virus is present in feces, urine, saliva and other excretions and is very contagious because it can be inhaled without contact to infect the animal. Common carriers include foxes, raccoons and skunks. Initial symptoms include high fever, runny eyes and nose, lethargy, loss of appetite,excessive salivation and labored breathing, accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. Later the virus attacks the nervous system and can lead to convulsions. Vaccines against distemper are effective and mandatory in the United States.


Distichiasis is an inherited condition in which additional eyelashes from either the upper or lower eyelid grow from deep within the glands instead of from the surface of the eyelid. These extra eyelashes can be a constant source of irritation to the eye and cause abrasion to the cornea. A CERF exam can easily identify distichiasis.


To remove a part of the Dog's tail. Usually done 3-4 days after birth, the tail is cut with a scalpel without anesthesia during an office visit.

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