The Doggy Bytes blog recently posted a fantastic article about the World’s Tallest Dog: George the Great Dane and the consequences of rapid growth in big dog breeds.
I thought this was a very important topic to elaborate on and pass along. We hope that owners or friends of big dog breeds will take extra caution regarding their dog’s health and development as a puppy.
Here’s an excerpt:
Great Danes, one of the “Giant Breeds” (a blatantly obvious statement looking at George), generally live to be between 8 and 10 years old. Because they are capable of explosive growth from birth through their first 18 months of life, they are, as are other large breed dogs (Mastiffs, Rottweilers etc), susceptible to hip dysplasia and other joint problems. For this reason, it is very important to “grow them slow”.
Too Much Too Soon
There are obvious physiological differences when comparing Danes and wolves, what both have in common however, is that in order to maintain optimal skeletal health, they both need to grow slowly.
Though it’s considered to be genetic, other influencing factors of hip dysplasia are rapid growth and obesity. If the puppy experiences rapid growth, the bones may not form properly, which puts him at risk for hip dysplasia. Growing puppy bones are not solid like adult bones, so if the dog is overweight, this also causes adverse effects on bone development.
Big Dog Breeds with Big Bones & Big Hearts
If you have, or are considering adopting, a large breed puppy, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s recommended feeding regimen so that your dog grows at a rate that is healthy for his bones. Also, if you’re interested in “getting ahead” of any complications related to your pup’s big dog breed aspirations, consider medical pet insurance as a way of anticipating any large scale veterinary costs!
Interested in further reading on hip dysplasia? Check out this article.
*Photo courtesy Mail Online, Daily Mail.