Possible Growth Spurt Problems In Large Dogs
Unfortunately, larger dog breeds tend to suffer from more growth related problems on avg. than smaller breeds. Of course no dog is ‘guaranteed’ to experience growth issues; your pet is most likely going to be fine! Due to a wealth of reasons, like irresponsible breeding practices, poor nutrition, genetic complications, excessive ‘rapid’ eating, or even accidental injuries, any large breed owner will want to be educated and be prepared for the worse, if it should happen!
Bone & Connective Tissue Disorders
Have you noticed your dog limping, or favoring one leg over the other? Perhaps he is unusually docile for the energetic puppy he is, simply lying around all day?
If you care for a large breed, you might have encountered these problems. Heavy dogs (60+ Lbs.) are most susceptible during growth spurts (often ongoing until the age of two). If properly attended to, some issues might diminish with time. If not, problems such as connective tissue degradation and arthritis will only worsen.
This could be due to poor nutrition; sometimes re-evaluating your pet’s diet will take care of the problem. They could be hereditary, which can’t really be prevented. Or your pet’s joint issues may be due to an injury of some sort. Whatever it may be, it isn’t difficult to recognize discomfort. Your dog will be showing obvious signs (listed above), like limping, lethargy, unwillingness to participate in activities or play, or even aggression due to pain.
What to Do
Whatever the symptoms, your pet needs to see a veterinarian to be properly evaluated and treated. Your vet may notice inflammation and tenderness – a clear sign that problems exist. They may suggest a series of x-rays (don’t worry; the cost is far less than a human physician would charge) in order to determine if bone malformations have arised. They may suggest a change in diet, or even prescribe medication.
Whatever is done, it is very important any dog owner attends to these problems when they begin! They’ll only probably get all the worse if ignored.
Bloat (‘Twisted Stomach’)
Dog Bloat, or medically referred to as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, is a potentially life threatening disorder, much more serious than the painful problems above. When a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food or fluid, often due to rapid eating more common in larger dog breeds, it may begin to expand and place pressure on other internal organs.
In some cases, the dog’s stomach will actually ‘twist’, blocking blood flow to the heart and other areas of the body and potentially leading to shock (a critical life threatening condition in both humans and dogs, requiring immediate medical attention for survival). Of course this will interfere with nutrient absorption, but that is insignificant compared to the previous problem.
An acute case of Bloat will probably arise very quickly. Some symptoms to watch out for are:
2. Excessive drooling
3. Swollen stomach
6. Dry wheezing/vomiting
Symptoms may lead to rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and may even collapse! If you suspect this is an issue with your pet, seek immediate veterinary attention.
Importance of Good Nutrition
Not only is it vital to make sure your pet is receiving the nutrients he needs to thrive, it is integral to maintaining a healthy weight. Overweight or obese dogs are more susceptible to:
4. Cardiovascular problems
6. Shorter life span
7. The list goes on…
It should be noted that neglecting of dogs may also contribute to growth spurt problems. Without proper hygiene care and balanced diet, it may lead to malnutrition or other health concerns! Pets are lifetime responsibilities and owners should ensure their pets are receiving proper care and attention!