Dog Bones: Understanding Your Dog

While we focus a ton on how soft and snuggle worthy our pups are (and trust us, all of us here at WINPRO Pet are right there with you), there is so much more to them than that. Underneath all of that fur and that kissable face is a complex skeletal system that helps them get around. 

Learning more about those dog bones can help you understand your dog better from the inside out. It can also help you know how you can better support your pup’s bone health, to keep them spry, happy, and comfortable as long as possible. 

The Most Common Issues With Dog Bones

Let’s get the unpleasantness out of the way. As much as we want to believe that our dogs will be young and healthy forever, that just isn’t the case. That’s part of what makes loving a dog both rewarding and heartbreaking… it forces you to really have to live in the moment and appreciate the now. 

When it comes to dog bones, there are a few common issues that you might run into during the life of your pet. Being able to recognize them can also help you be able to catch them sooner and potentially minimize the damage they are able to do. They can happen due to infection, trauma, nutrition, or they can be born with them. 

Developmental Issues With Dog Bones

When it comes to developmental issues, they’re usually related to genetics. Most dogs that deal with them are just born that way, which may or may not be obvious right away. 

Purebred dogs tend to deal with them more than mixed breeds, but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen in a mixed breed. If you have a purebred dog with those cute, short legs (Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, Bulldogs, etc.), keep an eye out for angular limb deformities. 

Giant breed dogs (Great Danes) may be predisposed to hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Make sure you research what, if any, developmental or genetic conditions may come with your breed.

Causes

Even though they’re on the inside of the body, dog bones can also get infected. The most common type of bone problem in dogs is osteomyelitis (basically, bone irritation). 

Hypertrophic osteopathy is another potential issue, although this usually happens after a bigger issue (like a tumor or mass). Infectious bone issues are less likely to occur than other problems, but you should still keep an eye out.

Nutrition Based Issues

The diet you feed your dog can be make or break, for a lot of different reasons. A good diet doesn’t have to be expensive to be well balanced. 

However, a diet that isn’t well balanced can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can really mess with your dog’s bones. Not having enough calcium, vitamin D, or phosphorus in the diet can weaken their bones, as can metabolic problems (like thyroid) that throws their system out of whack. 

What To Look For

While some signs of issues that may be occurring with your dog’s bones are obvious, not all of them are. Knowing what to look for can help you catch a potential problem early so, if you recognize any of these signs with your dog, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. 

  • Your dog is less interested in taking walks.
  • They groan when changing position.
  • You notice your dog whimpering or crying for no obvious reasons.
  • Your dog is less willing or able to go up or down stairs.
  • Their back legs are shaky, weak, or show obvious muscle wasting.
  • You notice limping when your dog first gets up.
  • Your dog flinches when you pet him or her in certain places.

Keep in mind that these changes occur gradually, in most cases. It may take an outside party to point it out, like your vet or a family friend.

How To Keep Your Pup As Healthy As Possible

While issues can happen regardless of how well you take care of your special furry family member, prevention can make a major difference in how likely they are to occur. Supporting your pup’s bone health can help them be as resilient as possible, and keep them comfortable as they can be for as long as you’re lucky enough to have them around. Here are a few of our favorite tips.

Focus On A Supportive, Well Balanced Diet

There isn’t a lot that can’t be prevented or fixed with a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out what the good foods are, and which are just great at marketing. Each dog is different, just like their needs. If you feed your pup a one-size-fits-all food, you shouldn’t be surprised when it works just “ok.” 

To get the best out of your dog, you have to feed them food that was formulated to help them be their best. That means large breed dogs should eat food meant for large breed dogs, and small dogs should eat food meant for small dogs. Ask your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific nutritional needs

Supplementation, especially the type meant to help protect the health of both dog bones and joints, are also recommended. When the joints start to go, your once spry dog may start to slow down and even lose interest in chasing around the ball or going for longer walks. While this is a normal part of life, keeping up with your pet’s health and wellness can slow down how quickly that happens. Many mobility supplements exist, but Hip & Joint is different from any other by using the clinically-proven power of blood proteins to stop a lot of joint pain right at the source.

Exercise Is Key

Keeping your dog active is great for both of you. It’s one of the easiest ways to prevent obesity in your pup, which can also put more pressure on their bones and joints. Plus, just like when we work out, when our dogs “work out” they also gain muscle. 

The more muscle they have, the better the rest of their system is supported and protected. It’s a win/win! It’s easy to see a chubby dog and react with an “awwww,” but it can actually shorten their life and make them unhappy. Keeping them active and fit really is the best thing for them, plus what dog doesn’t love going on a walk?

Annual Wellness Visits Are Essential

A lot of people think that vet visits are just for when your dog isn’t feeling well. Why would you want to spend the money on a healthy dog, right? Wrong! 

Making sure to follow up with annual wellness visits (twice annually if you have a senior dog) not only keeps them healthy by guaranteeing they are fully protected with the recommended vaccines, it also helps catch small issues before they become bigger. The relationship between you, your dog, and your vet is one that will last your pet’s entire lifetime, so make sure that it’s a good one.

To Summarize

As cute as the outsides of our pups are, the insides are really what make them tick. Taking care of the important set of dog bones in your life is one of the best ways that you can focus on keeping them comfortable, healthy, playful, and happy for as long as you can. Dogs age just like we do, but that doesn’t mean they can’t age just as gracefully. Stick with us at WINPRO Pet. We’ve got what you need to treat your special pup the way they deserve to be treated… like the kings and queens that they are. 

 

Sources:

Bone Disorders in Dogs - Dog Owners | Merck Veterinary Manual 

Nutritional Requirements and Related Diseases of Small Animals - Management and Nutrition | Merck Veterinary Manual

Get Healthy, Get a Dog: The health benefits of canine companionship | Harvard Health