There are many people with large breed dogs that may not realize the importance of caring for their hips and joints. The size of large breed dogs means more weight and impact on their hips and joints during everyday normal activity. This impact wears down the cartilage, and can cause difficulty for the dog later in life. Breeds such as Great Danes can grow to over 100 pounds so quickly that the amount of puppy-like activity can prevent proper development of hips and joints, also known as hip dysplasia. This is scary news for families with large-breed dogs, but is there something you can do?
When owning a large-breed dog, especially from the time they're a puppy, it's important to provide them with the proper nutrients and the proper behavior modification. As a puppy, a large-breed dog should be provided with plenty of dietary chews and treats that contain glucosamine and chondroitin. These are two naturally-occuring nutrients that help to maintain and rebuild cartilage in the hips and joints. They can be found in certain all-natural dog chews such as beef tracheas, as well as certain brands of treats such as Cani Vitalis Hip & Joint.
Aside from providing supplemental dietary treats and chews, it's also important to provide proper discipline and behavior modification. If you have a very large breed puppy, be sure they don't over-exert themselves, and try to minimize the amount of pressure and impact they put on their hips and joints. For example, if your puppy likes to jump up on people, train them not to do so. This is not only beneficial to the development of their hips and joints, but will also help to prevent guests from being ambushed the second they walk through the door.
Once your puppy reaches adulthood, it's okay to ease up more and worry less. You should, however, make sure they get plenty of low-impact exercise and continue to periodically feed them treats and chews containing glucosamine and chondroitin, as the wear and tear they endure on their hips and joints needs to be counteracted as much as possible to rebuild and maintain cartilage.