Sustaining Healthy Joints In Large Breed Dogs

Joint Pain in Large Dogs

From Great Danes to St. Bernards to Newfies, large breed dogs are a lovable and friendly bunch. As with every dog type, large breed dogs are susceptible to certain health problems.

In particular, trouble with their joints. For many large breed owners, figuring out preventative measures that can prolong the health of their beloved pets is a high priority.

One of the most common preventative and non-prescription aids is a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement.

Signs and Symptoms of Joint Discomfort in Large Dogs

Problems with joints in large breed dogs presents itself in a wide range of symptoms, here are a few common ones that dogs owners can be paying attention to. If your dog is showing any of these signs or symptoms, have your vet check them out.

  • Difficulty getting up or down
  • Slowness or stiffness in legs/back when the dog is moving
  • Trouble with stairs (often preferring not to take them)
  • Lack of desire for a dog walk or a visit to the dog park
  • Favoring a leg
  • A swaying gait in the hind quarters when walking
  • Clicking sounds in a dog’s joints when they walk or get up from the ground
  • Joint swelling

A Large Breed Common Diagnosis

For large breed dogs, a common diagnosis is hip dysplasia or arthritis. Hip dysplasia is where the hip socket and the bones and the leg do not align or fit correctly. This causes discomfort, difficulty with movement, and will result in arthritis in the long term. Unfortunately, hip dysplasia itself is hereditary and is not considered preventable, but long term effects and general discomfort can be alleviated with supplements and the use of dog joint braces. Preventative care can be helpful in non-hereditary joint troubles like arthritis.

What Works?

To help with discomfort in the joints of large breed dogs, many owners and veterinarians begin a long-term regimen of a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement. One of the biggest problems with joints in large breed dogs is the compression and wearing down of cartilage between bones. Glucosamine is a building block of cartilage. Chondroitin is found naturally in humans and dogs, and helps build connective tissue, including cartilage. Calcium is important for building healthy bones that don’t erode easily.

Many supplements that have glucosamine and chondroitin in them will also say MSM on the label. This is a sulfur ingredient that is added to aid the body in absorption. If an owner of a large breed puppy is considering introducing glucosamine and chondroitin into their daily care, it is important to consult with a vet first to determine what is the right age and dosage. For some puppies, it is appropriate to start it young, while they are growing, for others is is best to wait until they have matured. In addition to supplements, encouraging exercise that is gentle on the joints, like swimming, is a great preventative measure for a large breed pup.