Is your canine companion larger than life? We love big dogs! Of course, these larger-than-life pooches have some very specific care needs. Fido’s size will come into play in nearly every aspect of his care regimen, including his fitness routine. A local Greater Cincinnati vet offers some advice on this below.
Walks are a great workout for any pup. Training is absolutely crucial with big dogs. Fido may be strong enough to haul you around, which can be very dangerous for you both. Of course, long walks aren’t much fun when it’s freezing cold out. You may be able to train your furry friend to walk on a treadmill. Just start slow, and monitor your pup closely. Also, be sure to remove his collar before his workout.
Playing may very well be one of Fido’s favorite workouts. With big dogs, you’ll generally want to avoid activities that cause pups to jump or stand on their back legs. This is hard on their bones and joints. Given that many bigger breeds are prone to arthritis and hip dysplasia, this is one area where it’s best to play it safe. Also, be sure to choose toys that are the right size for your four-legged pal. For instance, tennis balls are fine for many dogs, but can be choking risks for large pooches.
Swimming can be a great option for some larger dogs. However, it’s not recommended for brachycephalic pups, because they get winded so easily. That said, if your canine companion enjoys swimming, there’s no reason not to indulge him. Just put safety first. Always supervise your pet in or near water, and don’t leave him unattended. Also, avoid spots with heavy wakes, strong currents, or steep drop-offs.
Obesity can turn into a catch-22 with big dogs. That extra weight makes it harder and more uncomfortable for Fido to move around. This in turn makes it easier for him to pack on more weight, which then puts even more stress on his bones and joints. Pay close attention to changes in your dog’s weight! Your vet will weigh your canine pal during his appointments. Ask for specific nutritional recommendations, including tips on serving sizes and supplements.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your local Greater Cincinnati veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!