Pet Health

Preventing Orthopedic Problems in Your Dog: Essential Steps

Many canine patients present at the animal hospital with orthopedic complaints. Problems with your dog’s skeleton, muscles, ligaments, joints, cartilage, and more fall under the specialty of “orthopedics.” While these problems affect dogs of all sizes, some breeds are more likely to experience them than others. Large breeds, in particular, are more likely to experience bone and joint abnormalities as they age due to their excess weight. Keep your dog’s joints healthy with these suggestions!

Provide your puppy with an adequate diet.

When looking for food for your dog, you may feel overwhelmed by the available alternatives. Breed-specific puppy food may seem like a gimmick, but it can help keep your dog from developing painful orthopedic issues later on. One of dogs’ most frequent orthopedic issues is hip dysplasia, largely determined by the dog’s genes and how quickly it grows. You can’t stop your puppy from developing joint problems if it has a genetic predisposition for them, but you can control its growth by giving it food designed for its breed. Hip dysplasia is more common in large-breed puppies that are genetically susceptible and take excessive minerals like calcium during the developing phase. Puppy joints that are not adequately supported by their muscles and ligaments will wear out from repeated use if the puppy’s bones grow too quickly for them.

Large-breed puppy chow is one of the best things you can do to preserve your puppy’s future joint health if its mature weight is predicted to be more than 40 pounds. Get in touch with your orthopedic vet in Waxhaw and ask for advice on how to feed your puppy in a way that will help prevent hip dysplasia.

Get your puppy spayed or neutered at the right time.

Veterinarians used to recommend spaying or neutering puppies at roughly six months of age. Still, recent research suggests doing so before they reach sexual maturity can increase their risk of developing orthopedic diseases later. Puppies’ bones are shaped largely by estrogen and testosterone hormones, which also regulate when the bones start growing. When these hormones are eliminated, your puppy’s bones develop longer than they should, and the mechanics of their joints are altered. This is why it is important to avoid spaying or neutering your puppy until after its bones have grown. It has been found that intact dogs had a lower incidence of orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament disease than their spayed and neutered counterparts.

It takes longer for larger dog breeds to reach skeletal maturity than for smaller ones. Puppy spaying or neutering should be delayed until after the animal’s bones have developed to reduce the likelihood of future orthopedic disorders. Your puppy’s expected development rate will help your family vet from places like Providence South Animal Hospital determine the best time to start treatment.

Keep your dog at a healthy weight.

Joint strain is increased by being overweight, which can accelerate joint wear and tear and exacerbate preexisting arthritis. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight throughout his or her life can greatly reduce the likelihood of arthritis developing and its severity if it does develop. Get your dog’s body condition score (BCS) from your regular vet and use it compared to your ideal BCS to determine if weight loss measures are required. Your dog can reduce its joint pain with the help of regular exercise and a calorie-controlled diet. As a result of their dog’s weight loss, many pet owners’ expectations about their dog’s quality of life are pleasantly surprised.

Conduct regular low-impact exercise.

Maintaining your dog’s physical and mental health through regular exercise is crucial, but the wrong kind of activity can lead to joint problems. Running on hard surfaces, especially while a puppy is still growing, can be harmful to the health of the animal’s bones and joints. Talk to your family vet to get more information about when it’s okay to take your athletic dog breed, like a Labrador retriever, jogging. And your dog is at least 18 months old, and when their bones have fully developed, it can handle more strenuous exercise.


Even while many orthopedic illnesses can be treated medically and/or without surgery, your dog may still need surgery to alleviate pain and improve its quality of life. It is possible to make educated choices, plan, and see your dog through treatment and rehabilitation so that it may go back to doing things like chasing balls and jumping up on the couch.

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