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The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris)[2] is a domesticated canid which has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviours, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.[3] Anatomy
Main article: Dog anatomy
Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.[3] Modern dog breeds show more variation in size, appearance, and behavior than any other domestic animal.[3] Dogs are predators and scavengers, and like many other predatory mammals, the dog has powerful muscles, fused wrist bones, a cardiovascular system that supports both sprinting and endurance, and teeth for catching and tearing.

Size and weight
Dogs are highly variable in height and weight. The smallest known adult dog was a Yorkshire Terrier, that stood only 6.3 cm (2.5 in) at the shoulder, 9.5 cm (3.7 in) in length along the head-and-body, and weighed only 113 grams (4.0 oz). The largest known dog was an English Mastiff which weighed 155.6 kg (343 lb) and was 250 cm (98 in) from the snout to the tail.[31] The tallest dog is a Great Dane that stands 106.7 cm (42.0 in) at the shoulder.[32]

Senses
The dog’s senses include vision, hearing, sense of smell, sense of taste, touch and sensitivity to the earth’s magnetic field.

See further: Dog anatomy-senses
Coat
Main article: Coat (dog)

A heavy winter coat with countershading in a mixed-breed dog
The coats of domestic dogs are of two varieties: “double” being common with dogs (as well as wolves) originating from colder climates, made up of a coarse guard hair and a soft down hair, or “single”, with the topcoat only.

Domestic dogs often display the remnants of countershading, a common natural camouflage pattern. A countershaded animal will have dark coloring on its upper surfaces and light coloring below,[33] which reduces its general visibility. Thus, many breeds will have an occasional “blaze”, stripe, or “star” of white fur on their chest or underside.[34]

Tail
See also: Docking
There are many different shapes for dog tails: straight, straight up, sickle, curled, or cork-screw. As with many canids, one of the primary functions of a dog’s tail is to communicate their emotional state, which can be important in getting along with others. In some hunting dogs, however, the tail is traditionally docked to avoid injuries.[35] In some breeds, such as the Braque du Bourbonnais, puppies can be born with a short tail or no tail at all.[36]

Health
Main article: Dog health
There are many household plants that are poisonous to dogs including begonia, Poinsettia and aloe vera.[37]

Some breeds of dogs are prone to certain genetic ailments such as elbow and hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, pulmonic stenosis, cleft palate, and trick knees. Two serious medical conditions particularly affecting dogs are pyometra, affecting unspayed females of all types and ages, and bloat, which affects the larger breeds or deep-chested dogs. Both of these are acute conditions, and can kill rapidly. Dogs are also susceptible to parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites, as well as hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and heartworms.

A number of common human foods and household ingestibles are toxic to dogs, including chocolate solids (theobromine poisoning), onion and garlic (thiosulphate, sulfoxide or disulfide poisoning),[38] grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol,[39] as well as various plants and other potentially ingested materials.[40][41] The nicotine in tobacco can also be dangerous. Dogs can get it by scavenging in garbage or ashtrays; eating cigars and cigarettes. Signs can be vomiting of large amounts (e.g., from eating cigar butts) or diarrhea. Some other signs are abdominal pain, loss of coordination, collapse, or death.[42] Dogs are highly susceptible to theobromine poisoning, typically from ingestion of chocolate. Theobromine is toxic to dogs because, although the dog’s metabolism is capable of breaking down the chemical, the process is so slow that even small amounts of chocolate can be fatal, especially dark chocolate.

Dogs are also vulnerable to some of the same health conditions as humans, including diabetes, dental and heart disease, epilepsy, cancer, hypothyroidism, and arthritis.[43]