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If you’re the owner of a large dog, whether it’s a Saint Bernard or a Great Dane, sometimes it’s easy to assume they’re these invincible machines who are too big and strong to fall prey to petty health issues. But you’d be mistaken. Large breeds have just as many health risks as small breeds, and knowing these risks can help you avoid possible health emergencies further down the line. You’d be amazed how different the needs are between a Greyhound and a St. Bernard–even though they’re both large dogs!
To help maintain a dogs health, it’s important to feed it the correct food blend and give it enough exercise that takes into account not just the dog’s preferences, but also it’s size and breed. And if you think that sounds easy, you’ll be surprised to learn the amount of things you don’t know. Here are some health issues large breeds often face that should be monitored and supported by a healthy diet.
1. Joint/Ligament Issues
It’s important to make sure large dogs get regularly exercised, but too much activity, especially in younger pups, can be bad for their joints, according to Fido Savvy. Because larger dogs tend to grow quickly as puppies, they tend to put extra strain on their joints, which can lead to further health issues as they get older. The extra-large pups (like Mastiffs and Great Danes) are especially prone to this.
Hip Dysplasia is a common joint problem in larger dogs. It involves malformed joints which can be formed by poor diet, genetics, or over exercising that can later lead to osteoarthritis. Although dogs of all sizes are at risk of arthritis, large breeds tend to have a higher risk due to their size which causes stress on their joints.
Common symptoms include stiffness, limping, lack of exercise/movement, and difficulty moving around. Usually adding a joint supplement to a dog’s diet is a good way to avoid later joint and ligament complications in life. But an even easier way to take action and help these common issues is to make sure your dog is on a consistent diet and is eating food formulated to address these specific needs.
Sure a Doberman will eat more food than a Chihuahua, but it’s important to maintain a strict daily diet for large breeds. The reason being that most large breeds are prone to obesity, and it may not be as apparent as it is in smaller breeds. Excess weight can lead to extra strain on their joints that can later manifest into deadlier diseases. This is even more concerning for larger dogs because, on the outside, they might appear resilient but could be showing subtle symptoms that are hard to detect.
3. Skin & Coat
Large dogs who are sensitive to certain foods, products, or even environmental irritants are prone to skin and coat issues. This leads to excessive scratching or biting, which can lead to scabs or bald spots in their coat. Breeds most commonly affected by this are Labrador Retrievers and Boxers. But no matter what large breed dog you have, a good way to help avoid this is through proper nutrition. It’s hard to believe that dry, scaly skin is so closely tied to size and diet, but it is.
By educating and making yourself aware of these issues, you can help your pup lead a healthy and happy life!
Featured image via @thataxeldog
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