Cockapoos – delightful fluffy bundles of energy that come from a cross between the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle breeds – have become increasingly popular among pet parents. And who can blame us? Their adorable looks, friendly personalities and high intelligence (not to mention their low-shedding coats) make them an ideal family pet for many.
However, like any breed, Cockapoos come with their own set of health considerations. Understanding these potential health issues is crucial for any Cockapoo parent-to-be, to help provide them with the best care possible.
To help you get prepped, we’ve compiled a few of the most common cockapoo health issues, some tips on caring for your newest furry family member and advice on when to seek veterinary care.
What are the most common Cockapoo health issues?
This is a common joint condition in small breed dogs, where a dog’s kneecap slips out of place. The condition can cause pain and inflammation, and can lead to more serious joint problems later down the line. If you notice your cockapoo limping or favouring a leg, it's essential to check in with your vet. If they diagnose luxating patella, they may recommend surgery, or for milder cases, physiotherapy and safe pain relief.
This is another joint condition that can affect all kinds of dog breeds. It’s caused by the hip joint not developing properly, causing discomfort and reduced mobility – which is especially challenging for a breed as lively as a cockapoo. Some early signs of hip dysplasia include your cockapoo having trouble getting up, a change in their gait such as limping, stiffness while walking, or any signs of pain.
If you notice any of these symptoms it’s crucial to consult your vet as the condition can lead to difficulty walking and arthritis over time. Early detection and proper care, such as weight management and joint supplements, can make a big difference in maintaining your cockapoo's comfort and quality of life. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be recommended, however for many dogs, medical management can provide appropriate relief.
Is your cockapoo pup licking, chewing and scratching? They could have an allergy. Unfortunately, Cockapoos can be more prone to allergies than other breeds, whether it’s flea-related, a food sensitivity, or environmental triggers like pollen or dust.
The most common symptom is itchy, irritated skin, though they may also show up as ear infections, gastrointestinal issues, or respiratory issues. Identifying the cause of your Cockapoo’s allergies will mean a trip to the vet, who will be able to recommend allergy tests, dietary adjustments, grooming practices, and potential allergy medications.
Because of their cute floppy ears, and their active nature, cockapoos are common victims of the dreaded doggy ear infection. Moisture, debris, and trapped dirt can create an ideal environment for bacteria or yeast to thrive, leading to discomfort and irritation. So if you notice your cockapoo frequently scratching their ears, shaking their head, or if you get a whiff of a uniquely stinky odour, it's essential to address it promptly.
Regular ear cleaning, gentle drying after baths or swimming, and regular grooming can help prevent these infections.
Seeing your vet for ear infections is essential as they can look down your pet’s ear canal to make sure the eardrum is safely intact, as well as make sure nothing is stuck within the canal. They can also take a sample of the debris to help determine what type of treatment will be the most successful. Therapy often involves medicated drops and cleansers.
Two notable eye concerns to look out for are with cockapoos are glaucoma and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Glaucoma, an eye condition affecting the fluid drainage within the eye, can cause painful pressure buildup and lead to vision loss if not managed. Additionally, PRA, a genetic disorder, leads to gradual retinal degeneration, initially causing night vision problems and eventually leading to complete blindness.
Signs of these issues include changes in eye appearance, cloudiness, excessive tearing, or behavioural shifts. In some cases, your dog may rub their eye(s) more frequently suggesting potential discomfort. Regular eye exams with a veterinarian are crucial for early detection and appropriate management.
How long do Cockapoos live?
The average lifespan of a Cockapoo typically ranges between 12 to 15 years. However, this can be influenced by various factors such as size, health issues, and the level of care they receive.
Cockapoos come in various sizes: Maxi, Miniature, Toy, and Teacup Toy. Interestingly, the size of a Cockapoo can influence their life expectancy. Smaller dogs, on average, tend to live longer than larger ones – so a Toy or Teacup Toy Cockapoo may have a slightly longer lifespan compared to a Maxi Cockapoo.
However, size isn't the only factor that will affect your Cockapoo's lifespan. Factors like genetics, diet, exercise, and overall care also play a significant role in determining how long a Cockapoo lives.
Caring for the health of your Cockapoo
Want to know the best solution for many Cockapoo health issues? Prevention. While some diseases are unpredictable, regular vet check-ups can help catch issues early, allowing for better management of any long-term health problems.
While it's impossible to prevent all health issues, there are steps you can take to reduce your Cockapoo's risk from the start. Choosing a reputable Cockapoo breeder who tests their breeding dogs for genetic diseases can help ensure you're getting a healthy puppy.
Proper grooming is also essential to keep your Cockapoo's oh-so-adorable coat in great condition. Regular brushing can prevent matting and skin issues, and regular baths can remove dead skin and allergens. Proceed with caution, as overbathing or using inappropriate shampoos can dry out your dog’s skin and in turn cause irritation.
Feeding your Cockapoo a balanced, high-quality diet is also crucial for their overall health. The right diet can boost their immune system, support their digestion, and keep their coat shiny and healthy. This can be achieved in a number of ways, including home cooked diets or commercially made pet foods. If you have questions, in particular when it comes to home cooked diets, make sure you consult a professional such as your vet, a vet specialised in nutrition, or a certified pet nutritionist. Doing so will ensure your dog’s nutritional needs are met.
Cockapoos are also famous for being very active and intelligent dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. Regular walks, playtime, and training sessions can keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated.
And finally, investing in dog insurance for your cockapoo can provide essential peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered for the right care should they become ill.