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Young Dog Going Gray and a Female Dog Who Marks

Posted on: July 20th, 2011 by


Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

This one comes from Haley. She writes, “My dog is only four years old. She used to be pure black, but now her entire face and the back neck have turned gray, so much so that people think she’s 15 years old. Is it common for dogs to prematurely gray and could it be stress-induced?”

This is really common. It tends to be the darker dogs where it’s the most profound. There is thought to be a genetic link so genes can play a role in it. Labradors, for example, are a common breed where this happens. The Black Labs will go gray prematurely. It’s probably not related to any sort of underlying problem or disease and it’s probably not stress-induced. It’s probably just normal for her.

The last one comes from Christa. “Is it normal for a female dog to urine mark like a boy when we’re on walks in the park?”

This is a great question. Yes, it is normal. This can be a learned behavior. Typically it is male dogs that will mark more than female dogs but female dogs can do it, too. They’ll even lift their leg like a boy dog. If she’s squatting uncomfortably or it’s a new behavior for her, you might want to ask your veterinarian just to make sure there’s not something new like a urinary tract infection. But if it’s something she always does at the park, it’s probably normal for her.

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