If you are considering adopting a Dalmatian there are some health issues that you should know about before you make your decision. Overall the Dalmatian is a healthy and hardy dog, but irresponsible breeding practices as well as natural genetic tendencies have resulted in some conditions that must be considered.
It has been estimated that about 8% of Dalmatians are born deaf and about 22% are only able to hear out of one ear. Research has suggested that the deafness is linked to the gene responsible for the Dalmatian's white coat. The elimination of this problem is one of the utmost concerns for responsible breeders, but the condition does still occur.
Dalmatians who can only hear out of one ear do not necessarily make horrible pets, but they do make for a greater challenge when it comes to training. It is rarely recommended that you adopt a completely deaf dog because they can be extremely hard to train and they sometimes become aggressive.
If you are planning to buy your new pet from a breeder make sure that he has had a B.A.E.R. (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test. This test will be able to discover any hearing problems that the dog may have and it is a test that trustworthy breeders will routinely do. If the dog you are considering is a rescue dog it would be in your best interest to have this test performed yourself if there is no concrete answer to the dog's hearing condition.
Dalmatians are not able to metabolize purine yielding proteins well which can result in urinary stones. Certain types of food like organ meats are high in this type of protein so it's very important to monitor the Dalmatian's diet carefully. Making sure your dog has access to plenty of water and has frequent opportunities to urinate will also reduce the risk of urinary stones. You will want to ask your veterinarian which food would be the best choice for Dalmatians as many commercial dog foods are too high in purine yielding proteins for the dogs to process well.
If you decide to adopt a Dalmatian you will need to become familiar with the signs of urinary obstructions so that you will be able to seek treatment right away. These signs include accidents by housebroken dogs, frequent licking of the genital area, and unsuccessful attempts to urinate.
Skin Problems and Allergies
Skin problems and allergies occur in all dogs but Dalmatians do seem to be more prone to them than some other breeds. The allergies can result in a pink rash or hives. If left untreated a staph infection can develop in the area.
Dalmatians are also more sensitive to the allergic reaction caused by flea bites so proper flea control is essential. Making sure that you provide your dog a proper diet and good coat care can greatly reduce the chance of these allergies becoming a problem.
Dalmatians do not suffer from the serious health problems that many purebreds do, but there are things to be considered. If you take some precautions both when choosing a dog and when caring for him, your pet should have a long, healthy life and bring you joy for years to come.