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What Health Risks are Related to Which Breeds?

Over 68% of American households own a pet, representing about 84.6 million households, according to the American Pet Products Association. 60.2 million of them have a dog, implying that dogs are the majority.  

Different dog breeds have different traits and advantages. Some breeds are more likely to suffer from certain health conditions. By understanding these conditions you can take better care of your emotional support dog and prevent such health risks. 

By considering the role your ESA dog is going to play in your life and understanding the health risks associated with different breeds, you can choose the perfect ESA that has the right qualities. American Service Pets can help when seeking an Emotional support Animal letter.

Table of Contents

Six Common Breeds and Their Health Concerns 


Known as America’s favorite dog, the Lab is highly intelligent and affectionate by nature. They make great pets and emotional support animals. They are loyal, playful and gentle. However, they are likely to become overweight especially when under-exercised. They can also suffer from joint disease and are genetically prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. 

Labradors can inherit other conditions like progressive retinal atrophy which can cause blindness. With proper exercise, it is possible to avoid most of the health concerns related to Labradors.

Russell Terrier

The highly intelligent and energetic terriers have a relatively good health record and can live for up to 16 years. Their range of health concerns is mostly inherited diseases like lens luxation which can result in loss of vision if not treated.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso is another great breed, perfect for companionship. The biggest medical challenge that the Lhasa Apso faces is its eyesight. Constant tearing with this breed is normal but needs to be carefully monitored at all times. 

You should gently clean the tears with a mild saltwater solution. Its thick coat requires extensive brushing and intensive grooming. 

Other than comprehensive care, you also need to have the dog regularly checked for a form of hereditary kidney disease to which they are highly prone. 

Yorkshire Terrier

This little bundle of joy makes the perfect emotional support dog. Even though Yorkies are delicate, they are funny divas with an attitude to match. They suffer mainly from digestive problems. You can avoid these problems by carefully monitoring their food. 

They are also highly likely to suffer from a tracheal collapse and portosystemic Shunt, a hereditary defect. Yorkies suffering from this condition exhibit neurological and behavioral problems and changes. 


Pugs have a flat, pushed-in face and a long healthy life. However, their biggest charm which is their face is also their biggest concern. The shape of their face can lead to breathing problems which escalate in hot weather and humid conditions. Though a Pug makes a great in-house companion, moderate exercise is essential to avoid obesity and keep the dog fit and healthy.  


Weighing only 6 pounds, a Chihuahua is a great ESAs. They are gentle and can live up to 15 years. Despite their excellent traits, they share a number of health concerns, the most common being patellar luxation. Chihuahuas are also susceptible to cardiac and eye disease. 


Keeping your emotional support animal health is a priority. You need to keep a rigorous grooming regimen and ensure you don’t miss any veterinary appointments. Understanding the challenges that face the breed you choose will better equip you with tips and routines that will keep your dog healthier longer.

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Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.


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