Common health problems with Miniature Schnauzers

16 May 2024 - 4 min read
Mini Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are popular worldwide for their distinctive looks, spirited personality and loyal, affectionate nature. 

But do Miniature Schnauzers have health problems? Like any breed, they're more likely to suffer from some health conditions. It doesn't make them unhealthy, but there are things you should keep an eye on as a Miniature Schnauzer owner. 

Below, we list the most common Miniature Schnauzer health problems, how vets diagnose them and some treatment options.

Common Miniature Schnauzer health issues

Mini Schnauzer

Bladder stones 

Miniature Schnauzers are 10-20 times more likely to develop calcium oxalate urinary stones than other breeds.

These stones come from a collection of minerals that bind together in urine in the bladder. They lead to urinary obstruction that can be life-threatening.

Symptoms include:

  • Straining to urinate

  • Frequent urination

  • Lack of urination

  • Blood in the urine 

  • General unwellness

Diagnosis is with urine examination, x-rays, and ultrasound. Treatment is usually surgical. You can manage the condition with dietary control.

Dental disease

Dental disease is common in Miniature Schnauzers. It's because their teeth can overcrowd their small mouths. This overcrowding leads to:

  • Rapid tartar build-up

  • Excessive plaque development

  • Tooth decay

  • Tooth loss

  • Discomfort

  • Bad breath

We recommend regular dental checkups and routine dental care for your dog to prevent early tooth loss.

Inherited cataracts 

Miniature Schnauzers can inherit cataracts. It causes a clouding of the lens in the eye and affects vision. We often see the condition in young pups and it affects both eyes. It can lead to sight loss in these young dogs.

Breeders or new owners usually notice the clouding of the eyes. Sometimes, they notice their pup is less able to get around and bumps into things more.

Pups should be examined by a veterinary surgeon (often at the time of routine vaccination) to make sure they're fit and well. This includes an eye examination. If abnormalities are seen, options can be discussed, and a plan made to help your pup live as happy a life as possible. 

Dogs are very adaptable and cope very well with vision loss. But vets will consider cataract surgery to remove or replace the diseased lens, which can mean lifelong management with eye drops.

Hyperlipidaemia and pancreatitis

Hyperlipidaemia and pancreatitis are conditions Miniature Schnauzers are prone to.

It results in increased levels of fat in the blood. There are numerous reasons for this, including:

  • Endocrine disorders

  • Genetics

  • Obesity

  • Medications

  • Other health problems

Pancreatitis is caused by an overactivity of the pancreas (an organ involved in digesting fats and controlling blood sugar). It leads to excess enzyme production, damaging the gut or pancreas itself. The condition leads to abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be fatal if left untreated. 

Blood tests to diagnose these conditions. Treatment can include medicine, supplements, or a low-fat, high-fibre diet.

Liver shunts 

We see this congenital condition more in Miniature Schnauzers than in other breeds. It involves an abnormal blood flow that bypasses the liver. This is problematic because the liver filters and detoxifies the blood, so dogs with liver shunts can experience: 

  • Bloody diarrhoea

  • Vomiting

  • Weight loss

  • Poor appetite

  • Excessive thirst 

  • Increased urination  

  • Mental dullness

Treatment depends on the location of the abnormal blood flow, whether it's outside or inside the liver itself. Treatment and prognosis can be medical or surgical.

How to care for a Miniature Schnauzer  

Mini Schnauzer


Diet is important for all dogs, especially regarding obesity and weight management. But for Miniature Schnauzers, it's extra important if they're suffering from bladder stones and other urinary problems. 

If your dog suffers from this condition, speak to your veterinary surgeon about diet and prevention. They should have good access to flowing water to increase water intake. You'll need to manage their urinary problems to prevent mineral deposits or urinary stone formation.

Diet also helps reduce the chance of pancreatitis symptoms worsening. Managing pancreatitis involves preventing access to fatty meals. For those prone to this condition, ingestion of fatty meals can cause a flare-up leading to extreme pain and, in severe cases, loss of life. With appropriate dietary management, your dog should lead a normal life.

Regular monitoring 

Regular monitoring and checking up on your dog is always recommended. But for Miniature Schnauzers, we recommend taking particular notice of their dental health.

Dental disease should be monitored regularly, and prevention routinely implemented. Tooth brushing, food additives or water additives can be utilised to prevent tartar buildup and keep gums and teeth as healthy as possible. 

Keep a close eye on your pup's urinary habits, particularly how much they urinate, the ease of passing and if there's any blood. If you have concerns, contact your veterinary surgeon immediately to prevent life-threatening complications. 

Genetic testing and breeding

Genetic testing and breeding dogs without inheritable conditions are essential for the breed's overall health.

For example, adults suffering from inherited cataracts should not be bred to prevent passing the condition to their offspring.

Another example is hyperlipidaemia, which has an unknown cause but appears to be familial, so affected dogs should not be bred. Liver shunts, too, are passed to offspring so those affected shouldn’t be bred. 

It's why picking a responsible breeder is essential.

Dental hygiene and grooming

As mentioned, this breed can struggle with dental problems, so learning how to care for your dog's teeth and monitoring them is important. 

Regular grooming is essential as well, as it keeps their coats nice and healthy. Learn about the benefits with our guide.

How dog insurance can help

Of course, Miniature Schnauzer insurance can help you prepare for unforeseen health issues.

Dog insurance helps with up to £15,000 vet fee cover, unlimited 24/7 vet calls with FirstVet and a host of other perks.

Lily qualified from Liverpool University in 2011 and spent five years as a veterinarian in mixed animal practice. As Lily’s passion for exotics and complicated small animal medical cases developed, she stepped into small animal-only practice. By 2018, Lily was leading a busy branch of a large hospital practice with a fantastic team, enjoying working on surgical and medical cases. Since falling poorly in 2021, Lily has found a new passion in medical writing, revealing a talent for sharing medical knowledge and writing with the public.