Ensuring bone health as your puppy grows



Normal canine hips. Photo: Joel Mills

​Hip dysplasia should be a concern for any dog owner. As breeders, we carefully screen our breeding dogs for all relevant potantial genetic problems. But as important as that is, for some health issues environment is also a critical factor. The Institute of Canine Bio

logy has an excellent article on the environmental aspects of hip dysplasia in dogs and what can be done to help prevent it. Weight management, proper nutrition, and appropriate activity types and levels are the three most important environmental factors.

Puppies can sometimes seem indescrutctible, but their bones don't finish growing until they are 1 1/2 to 2 years old. Until that time, the ends of their long bones are soft. These areas are called "growth plates." A growth plate allows for the long bones to continue elongating as the puppy matures. This is a good thing, but while this is occurring, you will need to be mindful of your puppy's activites to ensure that his growing bones aren't damaged.

The Puppy Culture website has a great chart that shows age-appropriate activity.