Dog owners around the world know that these loyal and loving animals are so much more than pets. They are friends, companions, and family members. When they fall ill or experience painful aging, their devoted owners feel it keenly. Few things are worse than seeing these devoted animals suffer in silence. If your fur baby is a large breed dog, they have specific health concerns that you will need to help them deal with. Here are the most common big dog health issues these gentle giants face and how you can help.
Just like people, all dogs are prone to experiencing joint issues as they age. Not surprisingly, large dogs tend to experience these issues more acutely. Some big dog health issues include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and various forms of arthritis. Because it is known that joint issues are likely with large breeds, you should not wait for your pet to experience the pain and immobility of these conditions. Instead, start preventative measures when they are very young.
Daily exercise for your large friend is a necessity. Regular exercise will keep his muscles toned. Good musculature will allow him to support his large frame comfortably well into his later years. Keeping his weight healthy will ensure that no extra strain beyond his naturally large size is placed on his hips and elbows.
An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure in this case, so start supplements when your pet is still a puppy and continue them throughout his life.
Big dogs also are more prone to issues with their hearts than smaller breeds. They can experience many forms of tachycardia and potentially serious issues such as cardiomyopathy and aortic stenosis.
Many of the same pharmaceuticals used for humans can help treat these issues, but again, prevention is the key. A diet and supplements containing many phytochemicals can prevent an amazing array of health issues, including those that affect the heart.
Big dog health issues contribute to a shorter life span
It is a heartbreaking truth that the canine life span is roughly a tenth of their human counterparts, but large breeds have the shortest life expectancy of all. The average small or medium-sized dog will live from 10 to 15 years, whereas the largest breeds average around eight. You cannot magically keep your best friend with you forever, but you can maximize his life expectancy and ensure that he stays healthy as he ages.
The best thing you can do for your dog is to feed him a high-quality diet. Many say that a homemade diet is better than even the most expensive store-bought brands. Start with the best meat products you can afford, with grass-fed beef and free-range poultry being ideal. The harmful additives and chemicals in commercial meat are no better for your pet than it is for you.
Don’t forget that dogs are not strict carnivores; they also need a mix of fresh vegetables and some fruits to be at their best. Do your research as not all fruits and vegetables are good for dogs. Dark leafy greens like spinach and berries such as blueberries and tomatoes are all good choices. Be sure to supplement his diet with plenty of antioxidants and phytochemicals, such as bilberry, krill, and turmeric.
Most dog breeds come with a predisposition for certain illnesses and health issues. Large dogs are no exception. Know your pet’s likely issues and take action now to prevent them as much as possible. You do not want to wait until they are sick or in pain to help.
Devin Caldwell is an animal enthusiast. He owns two dogs and doesn’t go anywhere without them. He loves to travel and see the world with his wife and two kids. Devin also is a freelance writer and writes for many blogs on the side. He has a great passion for writing and plans to do it for years to come.
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