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YOU Control Your Puppy's Structural Growth and Factors for Arthritis and Dysplasia - TheDogTrainingSecret.com - TheDogTrainingSecret.com

So you got a new puppy and you’re excited to develop and nurture them into the best they can possibly be. But you want to know what age  you can start conditioning?

Before we dive in, it’s important to remember the purpose of exercise conditioning. Essentially, its to develop your dogs fitness. Our definition of fitness is the ability for a dog to perform a specific task or skill. All tasks take effort, no matter what it is, whether its fetch, treadmill or weight pulling.

They key to conditioning young dogs and all dogs for that matter isn’t only necesarily what activity you’re doing but what intensity you are performing the activity at.

Most dogs mature at the age of 2 years old. This is the age their anatomy and physiology are fully developed and can withstand maximum levels of intensity. Until then, we recommend that exercise conditioning is no more than 50-70% of their maximum effort.

 

Recommended Intensity defined

Intensity levels can be rated at either low, medium or high intensity. As all dogs are individuals and all activities are different, you need to use common sense but here is an example of intensities based on the activity of treadmill work.

Low intensity treadmill work: Involves your dog walking at a pace that’s between 10-40% of their maximum effort.

Moderate intensity is defined as your dog exercising at 40-60% of their maximum effort such as a fast walk or jog.

High intensity treadmill work would involve your dog working at 80%+ of their maximum effort such as a fast run or sprint.

 

but WHAT ABOUT STUNTING MY PUPS GROWTH?

We are happy to inform you that the commonly held belief of stunting a pups growth with exercise is a myth. Sorry to offend anyones beliefs but this is an old wives tale that developed in the 60’s and 70’s in response to the new sport of human body building in the USA. This belief was then adopted in dog communities who incorrectly applied  it to do dogs. Since then this myth has been debunked and various scientific research papers have proven this theory false. But do not take our word for it, read the references at the end of this article.

[Credit @dankroftk9]

SO, WHERE DO I START?

Eight weeks old is when training should start. Remember your goal is not only to get your dog fit but also to introduce them to the world they are about to grow up in. That includes the environments they will be training in, the equipment they will be using and the animals they will be around.  Initial exercise conditioning should start with positive reinforcement of the equipment to be used.  You can start this the moment your new puppy arrives in your home. Do not wait until they are 6 months or older to start. Get started right away.

Why?

Simple, the earlier the better. Dogs learn from repetition and consistency. A dog that learns to walk on a Slatmill at 8 weeks and has consistent training will be set for long term success. We start by teaching puppies basic obedience skills on the treadmill such as sit and down. This prepares your puppy for treadmill manners later on when they are able to work harder on the mill. By starting these behaviors early you will help your dog retain the behaviors over the long term because these months are their formative months for learning.

TOP TIPS

Remember every dog is an individual, use your common sense. Make sure you do not do any high intensity activities (80%+) until your dog is at least 2 years old. You can start exercise conditioning from 8 weeks old but make sure its no more than 50%-70% of their maximum effort. It should also be based around fun, informative sessions that will help build your dogs behavior and trainability.

 

Comment below and let us know your thoughts!

For help and advice feel free to contact support@fitdognation.com

Keep Them FIT,

FITDOG NATION

 

References

Faigenbaum, A.D., W.J. Kraemer, B. Cahill, J. Chandler, J. Dziaos, L.D. Elfrink, E. Forman, M. Gaudiose, L. Micheli, M. Nitka, & S. Roberts (1996). “Youth resistance training: Position statement paper and literature review.” Strength Cond. J. 18(6): 62–75.

Azeem, K., Al Ameer, A. (2010). “An Effect of weight training on sprinting performance, flexibility and strength.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 44:i22.

Barr MJ, Sheppard JM, Gabbett TJ, and Newton RU. (2014) “Long-term training-induced changes in sprinting speed and sprint momentum in elite rugby union players.” J Strength Cond Res 28: 2724- 2731.

 

 

[Credit @bully_knights]

One of the most common questions we get asked is: How can I add more muscle on my dog?

To add more muscle you need two key elements More Energy and More Muscle fibre Recruitment

When it comes to more energy you need to make sure your feeding meals that will pack more weight on your dog so your dog has enough energy to actually create new muscle tissue. 

Enter: Satin balls.

Satin Balls are the ultimate bulking canine recipe,  especially useful for dogs who struggle with adding weight like shepherds, herders and greyhounds. They are also perfect for dogs who are in a malnourished state or picky eaters!

They are intended as a supplement and not as a meal replacement because although they contain essential macronutrients for muscle growth, they do not contain all the micronutrients needed for a complete balanced meal.

You can feed them post workout, between meals or as an addition to a meal.  Homemade Dog Food for Weight Gain Recipe (Satin Balls Recipe)

Ingredients:

    10 lbs of high-fat ground beef 
    1 lg. box of Total cereal
    1 lg. box oatmeal
    1 jar of wheat germ
    1 1/4 cup olive oil or flax opil
    1 1/4 cup of unsulfured molasses
    10 raw eggs AND shells
    10 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin

Instructions:

  1. Mix together well in a huge bowl.
  2. Form into balls or patties.
  3. Serve them to your dog raw.
  4. Store them in zip-lock bags in the freezer.
  5. Thaw them one at a time when you’re ready to serve them.

Recipe Tips:

  • Serve everything raw – that way none of the nutrients are destroyed in the cooking process!
  • Mix it in a big bowl – the whole thing is going to be one big gooey mess!
  • For oatmeal, select any simple brand with no flavourings. You can also select one that is a cheaper generic brand. 

 

Try them out and let us know your results!

Got a question? Comment below or shoot an email to support@fitdognation.com

Keep Them FIT!

FITDOG NATION

 

P.S. Claim Your Free Swing & Fling Ball Now while stocks last just cover Shipping. Plus Receive 2x Bonus Instant Downloads when you order!

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[Credit @kea.the.berner]

Hydrotherapy is a form of physical activity that uses water resistance to increase fitness and / or rehabilitate injuries and relieve pain.

How does it work?

Hydrotherapy uses water to also rehabilitate injuries your dog might have and to also relieve pain. It’s especially beneficial for dogs who have injuries such as a torn ACL, hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, arthritis, or dogs who have been paralyzed or lost a limb.

Hydrotherapy takes advantage of the buoyancy, resistance, viscosity, and hydrostatic pressure of water to provide an extremely low impact workout for a dog. This type of therapy works because, essentially, you provide weightless activity and remove the added pressure of gravity.

The buoyancy of the water reduces the tension on your dogs body which means it’s a very low risk of exercise conditioning and also perfect for recovery and rehabilitating injuries. It is also a natural form of anti-inflammatory therapy due to its ability to reduce swelling in body tissues.

[Credit @look_its_leia]

 

Types Of Hydrotherapy For Dogs

There are four primary types of hydrotherapy for dogs, all using different types of equipment and serving specific purposes. Consult with your dog’s vet to see which best suits your pup’s rehabilitation needs.

Underwater Treadmill

This type of hydrotherapy is the most common form for dogs and is best suited for those with joint issues and arthritis. It relies on a treadmill encased in a glass or plastic chamber. Once the dog enters the chamber, the door is shut, and water fills the chamber to the level just above the dog’s legs.

As the treadmill starts to move slowly, your dog will begin to move. The water provides resistance enough to strengthen their joint muscles but takes away the stress of gravity, which makes this a low-impact exercise.

Whirlpool Therapy

This type of therapy is used for dogs who are recovering from major surgeries and is great for pain relief. Think of this method as a Jacuzzi, but for dogs.

A dog would be put on a harness and lowered slowly into the pool. The water level depends on where the injury is located on your pup.

Once the dog enters the water, the warm jet stream inside the whirlpool effectively massages your dog’s injured muscles. The water jets create a deep effect on the injured joints, which gives the needed relief to your pooch.

[Credit @bentley_the.bully]

Dog Pools

This type of hydrotherapy provides resistance enough to help the range of motion for a dog who might suffer from arthritis or degenerative joint issues. It mainly targets certain parts of the dog’s body, such as their elbows, chest muscles, limbs, and shoulders.

The size and depth of the pool will largely depend on the therapist or vet and what type of joint issues your dog needs to work on. Most of the time, your dog will wear a floater or might be on a harness if they are not too fond of water.

They would also have the assistance of a therapist by their side at all times to monitor their movements in the water.

GENERAL SWIMMING

And finally general swimming also counts as a form of hydrotherapy. It is advised that it’s performed with dogs who can already swim (many are natural swimmers if introduced from young) Also ensure you select swimming zones that are clear of disease, pollution and free of any lurking dangerous animals / predators. 

 

What Are The main Benefits Of Hydrotherapy?

Besides the benefits of relieving pain and rehabilitating joints, there are other added benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs, including:

  • Relief of pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Alleviation of muscle spasms
  • Increased range of motion
  • Promote blood circulation
  • Tissue healing
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Gait modification
  • Faster recovery from injuries

final thoughts:

Hydrotherapy is safe, beneficial, and reliable. It’s important you perform it by professionals who have experience and training in handling dogs for swimming. If your dog is injured, it is recommended you seek the help of a hydrotherapy specialist and not perform it alone.

The cost of hydrotherapy varies depending on your dogs current status such as their age, breed, injury etc.  On average, sessions cost of between $40-$60 per 30 minute session.

What do you think of hydrotherapy for dogs?  Comment below and let us know!

Keep Them FIT!

FITDOG NATION

Massage Therapy | Kelsos Blackburn enjoys his massage and lo… | Flickr

Because of the time restraints in today’s fast paced society, an important aspect of conditioning a dog is often neglected or cut short. I refer to the rubdown. Many experienced dogmen of the past gave their dogs 30 minute rubdowns daily because they had the time to spend and they were able to perceive the benefits of their efforts.

Today, there is a tendency to place more emphasis on the actual conditioning activity, followed by a very brief rubdown or no rubdown at all. When you are busy and have had a hard day at work, it is very tempting to cut your dog’s conditioning short. If you cut it short one day, you’ll do it again another day. It becomes easier and more tempting to end the workout before you are supposed to. We are all creatures of habit. (attitude) of “well, I’ll just quit a little early today, one day won’t matter,” then you are cheating your dog. You certainly don’t want your dog to quit a little early when his time comes. If however, you discipline yourself and have a habit of never cutting back on a dog’s program (in fact if there is doubt about the time, add a couple of minutes) then it gives your dog an edge.

It is true that the most important factor is your dog’s inherited drive, but the handler plays a very important role in competing in weight pulling, schutzhund trials, wild boar hunting, tracking, or whatever – a dog’s owner tends to feel let down if his dog runs out of endurance and doesn’t perform to his maximum potential. Well then, perform your part to the best of your ability and don’t let your dog down. I’m referring to an esoteric, unique relationship between man and animal that is difficult to express in words, but to me, is what Dogs are all about.

Canine massage therapy to undergo clinical trials | Vet Times
In any event, since the rubdown is at the end of a dog’s workout, and because most people do not realize how extremely important it is, (they think it’s just something that is relaxing to the dog and establishes rapport with the dog, but that’s it, or they don’t think of it at all, they just do it because “you’re suppose to”), this is the part of the conditioning program most frequently cut. Knowing however, how vital a rubdown is if you desire to maximize the benefits of conditioning, can help provide the stimulus to live up to your duty to a fit dog.
The importance of the rubdown is perhaps more apparent if we understand what it accomplishes. A proper rubdown puts the animals body in a balanced metabolic state. Metabolism as defined here is “the busily process of transforming assimilated food into protoplasm (water, lipids, carbohydrated, and inorganic salts), breaking down protoplasm into waste matter, producing energy growth, and replacing worn out tissues.” The metabolic state is in chemical balance when an animal is not sick and activity is normal. If you understand the chemistry of muscle fatigue you can dramatically alter the negative side affects of grueling conditioning that makes a dog stiff and lame. When conditioning becomes demanding, overstressed fatigued muscles cause a disturbance of the metabolic chemical balance by not allowing the muscles enough time to relax and allow proper inflow of fresh blood to nourish the tissues.
Dog Massage Classes | The Academy of Pet Careers | Ash and Oak
Lactic and carbonic acids accumulate in the muscles and surrounding tissues more rapidly than they are eliminated. These acids, particularly lactic, cause muscles to cramp and become painful and the dog will limp. Carbonic acid is carbon dioxide in tissue fluid. Lactic acid is accumulated glycogenic the muscle. The glycogen is eventually flushed out by flowing blood and tissue fluid though the lymphatic system, which is responsible for flushing out toxins and fluid wastes (such as carbonic and lactic acid) that accumulate in muscle, tissues, and blood.
After an extremely hard conditioning session, this process can take anywhere from a day to 3 days, especially if the dog has had 2 or 3 days of hard work without a rest break, or at the beginning of a conditioning program for a dog that doesn’t receive regular daily exercise. A properly applied and though rubdown will expedite the flushing out process and alleviate the pain by relaxing the muscle and stimulating a supply of oxygen rich blood to the area where it’s most needed. A dog instinctively knows this when he vigorously lick his wounds, bruises, or any sore, painful area. The pressure from his tongue stimulates blood flow and research has accomplished this.
Canine Massage for Greyhounds | Paw Vida Holistic Therapies

In a research project to study the effects of massage on muscles, rabbits (animals that use their rear legs extensively) were used. Black Indian ink was injected into their leg muscles after which they were left to their normal daily routing. One group of rabbits had their legs massaged daily while the other group did not. Both groups were fed the same food and interacted together. After a month the legs of all the rabbits were dissected and the muscles studied. The leg muscles of the non-massaged group were stained black in the area of the injection site. The muscles of the massaged rabbits however, were pink with absolutely no trace of the Indian ink anywhere in the body! Indian ink is used in making tattoos, it has a lasting stain.

There is also research available on the effects of massage on muscle endurance. In one study a man curled a 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) barbell to exhaustion; which for him was 840 times without interruption. His arm was then massaged for 5 minutes after which he lifted the same weight 1100 times in the same manner without fatigue! Another study found that a person capable of doing 50 pushups will after a 5 minute rest, be able to do about 10 more. the same person, however, can do about 35 to 50 more pushups if the muscles are rubbed down during the 5 minute rest interval. This indicates a nearly complete muscle recovery rate in 5 minutes!

The studies were conducted at the turn of the century, but it took many years for the athletic world to pick up on the importance of the rubdown. The east athletics. Their olympic track team began using leg massage in the 1950’s and achieved repeated success. now all track teams of olympic level use it. Boxers have used rubdowns for years. Many human athletes receive an extensive rubdown just prior to competition. This pre-competition rubdown strengthens metabolism and the athlete has more energy. Some rub or massage an area called “stomach 36″, which is a pressure point located 4 fingers down the knee on the outside of the leg (side of the calf muscle).

Stomach 36” stimulates the adrenal glands and provides energy for exhausting workouts. I know several people who give their dog 20 or 30 minute rubdowns just prior to bringing them to a working dog trial.

Probably the most important contribution a professional rubdown gives to a dog’s condition is that it relieves stress to the central nervous system {CNS} and allows the CNS to handle more pressure. If a rubdown is given in conjunction with a shampoo and rinse this is particularly true. 

When shampooing the dog you should apply the massage techniques outlined further in this article. After rinsing, it takes sat least 30 minutes for the dog’s coat to dry while you hand rub, if you don’t towel dry. Do not put your dog away wet. Rubbing him dry assures you that you spend adequate time. After a hot demanding workout, the shampoo and massage is highly refreshing as well as relaxing. what it does is it rejuvenates the CNS. You’ve heard the expression that a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, the weakest link in a dog is not his muscles; it is not his lung power; it is the dog’s CNS.
It is my personal opinion that when time is spent with a quality rubdown as part of the conditioning process, that the dog’s “nerves” are stronger and the handler/dog bond is strengthened even further.

 

The rubdown procedure that I like is next. Many people who are serious about the rubdown will make a little table about waist high to put the dog on while massaging. Before the rubdown after a workout, get a damp sponge & wipe off the froth on your dogs muzzle (he should have froth if he’s been properly exercised) and wipe around his eyes, back of his ears, under his chin, groin area, and the butt. Begin by scratching him behind the ears and manipulating his jaw muscles. I like to rest the dog’s head on my knee while I do this, they love it. I relax myself during the rubdown. I believe your frame of mind is transmitted to the dog. I breath slowly using the diaphragm techniques I have learned in meditation. Quite often, I hum and this seems to relax both of us.

What is Dog Massage and How Will Your Pitbull Benefit From it?
There are several ways to apply the message:
1. Stroking– This is when you glide your hand smoothly over the fur. Very little pressure is needed. This promotes venous circulation, stimulates the nervous system, and transmits energy (believe it or not) to the animal.
2. Friction– With this method you exert more pressure and your hands move in a circular motion. It promotes a deeper arterial tissue circulation than stroking, and it starts lymphatic flow. I find that the firmer hand pressure of friction relaxes the dog more than stroking and I generally begin massaging with friction and the bulk of the rubdown entails friction.
3. Kneading– A great deal of pressure is used here. You move your hands rhythmically over the dog’s muscles, kneading is primarily used when massaging the large muscle areas, squeezing and lifting the fur and muscles. Work in short circular patterns. This method pumps nutrient fresh blood into the area massaged and flushes out the toxins as I have explained.
4. Pulling and rotating joints– This phase helps maintain flexibility, strengthens ligaments and tendons, and boosts production of sensorial fluid (lubricating fluid found in joint cavities and in tendon sheaths).When you and your dog are relaxed, rub your hands slowly from the top of his head down along his vertebrae to his tail stroking several times. Rub and knead the neck muscles on both sides with circular motions at first, then rubbing back and forth. Work down to the base of the neck where the head meets the first vertebrae with small circular movements. Do not lift your fingers as you move down his back. After you have the back a few minutes, reach under his front leg with your right hand and begin with his left shoulder, pulling down across his chest all the way back to the top right stifle up high in the gut, then right down the right side, of the leg muscle. Do this going back and forth, one side then the other. keep your fingers together, not spread while stroking. You are much more effective that way because the heat and energy in your hand becomes concentrated. Try it on yourself and you should be able to discern the difference. You then roll the dog over on his back and scratch his belly. Stroke his belly with circular motions, which should keep going toward the chest. gradually work up the chest, and as you get to this massage, stimulating the abdomen, is very important because it will help clean out your dog. The digestive process becomes more efficient, production of gastric juices is aided, and urination is increased. Medical science research has shown this to be true. Understand this, the muscles receive no nutrition until the food is digested, assimilated into the blood, and then quality of nutrition received by the body parts depends to a large extent on the quality of the blood and lymph circulation. By massaging the chest, you clear the central lymph node of toxic build up and open up the system to flush out wastes accumulated in the muscles during heavy conditioning. Spend a good amount of time in this area.

How to Massage A Dog: Canine Massage And Its Benefits

Next, lay the dog on his side. Take his front paw in your hand and gently rotate it first in one direction, then the other. Pull gently on the paw to stretch the tendons. Sometimes I take each toe between thumb and forefinger and squeeze firmly. Grasp the bottom of his leg like you would hold a baseball bat and gently squeeze then rotate your hand back and forth slowly, so that the heat of your hand will penetrate. Always talk to your dog in a quiet conversational tone while doing this. It will establish rapport with him. work your way slowly up his leg kneading and stroking. Most of the leg-massaging with the fur, the feeling being that this is more comfortable to the dog. Contemporary dog massage technique calls for you to do the opposite. You always massage toward the heart. This squeezes out the lactic acid and other toxins and does it the most expeditious way. You’ll be going against the fur, but my experience concurs with what I have read. The dog enjoys the massage just as much as if you went with the fur.

When you get to the shoulder muscle, spend some time kneading. Then hold his leg and rotate the shoulder joint. You can then start on the rear leg. You then go to the bottom of the rear leg, just as you did with the front, and massage it in a similar manner. Knead the tibias and metatarsals. This is the area above and below the hock (part of the dog’s rear leg that stick out like an elbow). When you finish, turn the dog over and repeat on the other side.

The rubdown cannot replace conditioning for getting a dog into shape. There are no shortcuts, only long cuts. But do not cut the rubdown short; it is an important aspect of conditioning.

Article By Bob Stevens.

 

 

 

Whilst all dogs can be fit and healthy, there are certain breeds that are more naturally predisposed to high levels of physical activity. In todays blog post we are going to review the 4 top fitdog breeds. Before we get into lets take a look at the three key factors that make a ‘fitdog’:

Drive

Drive refers to a dogs natural desire to be active. Some breeds naturally have a ton of energy and cannot sit still while other breeds need to be coaxed into activities. We could write an entire article on drive alone but for simplicity we will be using prey drive as a gauge of ‘drive’

 
Physical ability

No doubt you’ve met those dogs that no matter what they are fed or what they do, they are always in great shape. They are lean and have low body fat percentage. Where as other breeds need to be constantly monitored for their weight and condition. Some breeds are even born with severe health conditions that prevent them from even performing basic tasks like breathing and giving birth.

 

ADAPTABILITY

A big part of being a fit dog is adaptability. An example is a dog that can perform various different activities  from weight-pulling to dock diving!

 
 
fitdog breed no.4: Retriever

Drive: 7/10. Physical Ability: 7/10. Adaptability: 7/10

Credit @superdogmilo

In at no.4 is the retriever, especially the type from working stock. We rate them 7/10 for drive because although they can fetch all day you do not see many that can transfer that drive to other areas like hang time or weight pull. Also, they have incredible cardiovascular fitness and natural endurance and can even play their paw at agility and dock diving sports!

 

fitdog breed no.3: American bully

Drive: 8/10. Physical Ability: 7/10. Adaptability: 7/10

Credit @unleashedkennelz

The american bully is one of the most recently popular breeds and has not been around as long as the other breeds in todays short list. They are a versatile breed with many different ‘types’ which are almost ‘breeds within a breed’. The american bully in general has a solid amount of drive with phenomenal predisposition for muscle mass if bred for functionality. Not only that but they are versatile enough to perform both endurance and strength based activities.

 

fitdog breed no.2: belgian malinois

Drive: 10/10. Physical Ability: 8/10. Adaptability: 7/10

Credit @simbathemalinois

Possibly the most universal working dog on the planet the belgian malinois is commonly referred to as the ‘maligator’ and rightfully so. This multifunctional breed is as serious as they come with a drive thats through the roof which allows them to be employed by military special forces and police departments worldwide. While some lack strength we are seeing more being bred for a stronger frame that can withstand punishment in personal protection and showcase tremendous amount of power.

 

fitdog breed no.1: american pit bull terrier

Drive: 9/10. Physical Ability: 10/10. Adaptability: 8/10

Credit @teamnofearworkingapbt

Often referred to as the ‘Gladiator’ of dog breeds, the American pit bull terrier (APBT)  is without doubt the ultimate fit dog. Known for their drive, immense physique and ability to perform a variety of jobs ranging from therapy work to hunting,  the APBT wins the top spot as the No.1 Fitdog Breed!

Comment below and let us know of any other breed(s) you would add to this list!

 

Keep Them FIT,

FITDOG NATION

P.S Check out our top 3 most popular conditioning tools right now >>Top 3 Conditioning Tools

Limping and lameness in dogs is a fairly common occurrence. It’s important to discover the cause once you notice it, so that you can address any underlying issues before they escalate. Here’s a quick guide to the most common causes of lameness, and advice on how to deal with it.

KNEE INJURIES IN DOGS | Pets Plus Us

 

Reason #1: An injury

Sudden onset limping in your will most likely be caused by an injury. Sometimes you see it happen, other times you can only guess. You will typically notice that the dog is guarding one of his legs, and in some cases, he won’t be able to put any weight on it at all.

Usually, a limp will point to a broken bone, a sprain, a torn ligament, a fracture, or a dislocation. In more severe cases, the cause might even be spinal trauma. If your dog is limping and yelping due to a fresh injury, try to get him to calm down. Get him to rest in a comfortable position. If he doesn’t stop yelping, or keeps guarding his leg even after twenty minutes, it’s time to contact your vet.

Reason #2: Arthritis

This is more common in older dogs who will often develop joint problems. Arthritis is a painful condition that will cause your dog to limp among other issues and can sometimes be recognized by the characteristic grinding sound that joints produce.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints wherein the cartilage inside the joints slowly disappears, leaving the bones to grind against each other. Larger breeds and very athletic dogs find themselves at greater risk of developing arthritis, but it can happen to any dog. In fact, around a fifth of all dogs lives with arthritis.

Hip dysplasia (canine) - Wikipedia

Reason #3: Hip or elbow dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia are hereditary joint diseases that will often cause lameness. Larger breeds are generally more predisposed for this condition, as well as certain breeds like Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Great Danes. Joint dysplasia occurs when joints don’t form properly. This malformation usually causes the joint to become loose, and consequently cause your dog to limp.

This is more prevalent in rear limbs. Although the dog is usually born with normal joints, dysplasia develops gradually, due to both hereditary and environmental factors. It can occur from a very early age (a few months), or later, due to arthritis. Obesity is a risk factor, so if you own a larger breed, make sure he stays fit and doesn’t put on excess weight.

Reason #4: Disc disease

The dog’s spine consists of bones (vertebrae), and discs or cushions. These discs can sometimes swell or even rupture (herniate), causing damage to the spinal cord. Disc disease usually affects the dog’s hind limbs. Apart from a limp in his rear legs, other symptoms may include muscle spasms, hunched back, back pain, loss of bladder control, and anxiety.

Disc disease in dogs is known as a very serious condition which could even lead to permanent paralysis. Possible treatment includes medication or even surgery. A period of strict rest is required to prevent further injuries.

Chicago Veterinarian Warns About Lyme Disease

 

 

Reason #5: Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a serious infection that is spread in dogs through tick bites. Symptoms often include swollen and painful limbs, which will affect the way your dog moves. If your dog’s limping is followed by other symptoms such as a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a loss of appetite, contact your vet immediately.

You should also get your dog checked out for Lyme disease if he suffers from recurring lameness. The limp occurs due to joint inflammation. It normally goes away after a few days, only to appear again days or even weeks later.

Reason #6: Bone disease

Younger dogs, especially larger breeds, sometimes develop panosteitis or hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Both of these are types of bone inflammation that normally occur in puppies aged from 2 to 18 months. Both conditions are more common in the front legs and are very painful to your pooch.

Luckily, both conditions normally go away on their own, and no treatment is required in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause of the limp may even be bone cancer. If that is the case, a swift diagnosis is crucial for successful treatment.

With vets remaining open for urgent care, when should you call your vet?

 

Should You Call Your Vet?

While some cases of your dog limping may be almost harmless, others will require attention right away. If you notice that the limb in question is dangling, that points to dislocation, and you should call your vet immediately. Other emergencies include obvious broken bones, swelling, or noticeable heat in the affected limb. A fever, profuse bleeding, extreme distress that doesn’t go away after 15 minutes, unusual behavior, or inability to get up are other situations in which you need to react promptly.

Generally, if the dog starts limping suddenly, the cause is most likely an injury and you should take him to the vet. However, if the symptoms are not severe, you can wait a couple of hours to get a clearer picture and see if the issue resolves on its own. If your dog’s limp has been around for a while, that could point to a more serious condition. While it might not be an emergency, make sure you schedule an appointment with his vet as soon as possible.

Minor injuries

If your dog is obviously hurt, but it doesn’t warrant a visit to the clinic, there are still some things you can do to make your pooch more comfortable. If there is a visible cut or scrape, wash it with water and mild soap. Afterwards, clean it with a pet-safe disinfectant. If there is a foreign object stuck in his paw, gently remove it with tweezers, then clean the spot afterwards. Apply gauze to smaller wounds to stop the bleeding and keep them clean. If there are no visible wounds, but there is minor swelling, you can try to apply an icepack.

Never give your dog painkillers intended for human consumption, as most of them are toxic to animals. There are special dog pain relief aids that will work to alleviate the pain for your Fido. After an injury, you should let your dog rest, and allow for some time to recuperate. Avoid strenuous exercise and long walks until the limp goes away completely.

When it comes to their health, dogs are like children. They can’t really tell us when something is wrong, which is why we must stay vigilant about it. Always check your dog for injuries and ailments, and react swiftly if you notice that anything is wrong.

 

Keep Them FIT

FITDOG NATION

P.S Check out our top 3 most popular conditioning tools right now >>Top 3 Conditioning Tools

 

Article Credit:   Samantha from Topdog tips

 

Credit @brazenk9

Feeding your dog the correct amount is crucial for your dogs health and performance. Not feeding enough will mean your dog lacks energy and focus which can also cause behavioural issues. Feeding too much can create a slow, lethargic dog that becomes overweight or obese.

Obesity caused from Overfeeding

Unfortunately there’s no magic answer on exactly how much to feed as every dog is an individual. However, in todays blog post we will review how to find the correct quantity so you can feed your dog just the right amount of food.

When it comes to dog food, we recommend raw as research shows this is by far the most biologically appropriate food for a dog. An adult dog on an “average-calorie”, fresh meat diet will generally eat between 2-3% of their body weight per day.  If you’re unsure of how much to feed, your best best is to start feeding 2.5% and monitor your dog using our Body Weight Assessment. That way you can adjust the numbers as you see fit.

For example, a 35KG American Bully, might require 875g of food per day (1% of 35kg is 350g multiplied by 2.5). 

a table showing people how much food I should feed my dog

Different Types Of Dogs…

Every dog is an individual so you must monitor your dog. If your dog is currently on the heavy side or is recovering from an operation, you can either feed them less or choose leaner meal options. If your dog is super active then feed a little more, but also increase the calorie content of the meal by including fattier cuts, (dogs burn fat for energy). Working dogs can eat 8-10% of their body weight per day, depending on what you have them doing!

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There is also a huge difference when it comes to pups. The general rule of thumb is that an eight-week-old pup will be eating up to 10% of their body weight per day of a suitable puppy formula / mix  (a pup’s food differs slightly to an adult’s in that they need more fat). By the time they reach 50% of their adult body weight, they will be down to eating 5% of their body weight. By the time they reach full body size they will be down to 3% of their body weight per day, dropping to 2.5% and possibly lower as they enter adult hood.

Want To Get More Accurate?!

The percentages mentioned in this article are general guides. However, the exact results depend greatly on the type of food you are feeding. Obviously a lean mix offers less calories per kilo than a higher fat mix. For this reason, when assessing what a particular dogs energy needs it is better to talk on a calorie or ME (kcal/kg) basis, where ME stands for Metabolisable Energy. This is more detail than most need but if your into working dogs then the details are crucial. The formula for your dog’s Resting Energy Requirement (RER) is 70 x (your dog’s body weight in kg) ^ 0.75 

That little hat sign you see there is called a power sign. In English, you would say “70 times your dog’s body weight to the power of 0.75”. You might need a scientific calculator. Find below images of what that button will look like.

Credit @terror_bullz

Once you have worked out your dog’s RER you can use the following multipliers depending on his physiological state (but know that two dogs of the same sex from the same litter with the same lifestyle can still differ in their ME requirements by up to 20%):

  • 1.6 Average neutered adult
  • 1.8 Average intact adult
  • 1.2 Weight loss
  • 2 Light work
  • 3 Moderate work
  • 5-6 Heavy work
  • 3 Growth (<4 months old)
  • 2 Growth (>4 months old) 

 

If you need a more personalised approach when it comes to your dogs conditioning you must check out our Conditioning Programs

 

Keep Them FIT!

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P.S.

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You’ve probably heard of the statement ‘You are what you eat’ and if you ever thought it applies to dogs too then you are correct! As advocates of ‘Raw’ feeding we wanted to take some time and go over 4 Common mistakes we see when it comes to feeding raw.

Mistake No. 1 : Fear

There are a number of companies and veterinary organizations that have taken a stance against raw feeding and have branded it unsafe and dangerous. Some have even said it can cause a dog to become aggressive and develop behavioural issues. There is absolutely no evidence that this is true and as long as your dog is consuming healthy in date meat then there will be no safety issues.

Credit @great_star_apbt

Mistake No. 2: Not Feeding All The Essential Nutrients

Feeding raw is not just a case of throwing your dog some chicken legs. In order for your dog to receive all the vital nutrients for health and performance their raw diet must include four main components;  75-85% Animal matter (muscle meat, bone, organs) and around 15-25% plant matter (fruits and veggies). This makes sure they receive all their vital fiber and antioxidants. 

Mistake No. 3: Not Feeding the correct amount

Every dog is an individual and their needs are not the same. Feeding the correct amount of food is crucial in order to make sure your dog is receiving optimal amount of energy. The amount you feed is dependent on your dogs age, activity level, health and medical conditions if any. A general rule of thumb is 3% body weight. For example if you have a dog 4 year old dog that’s 90lbs you would feed one meal that is 3% of their body weight which in this case is 1.8lb’s of feed. 

Credit @beso_de_loco_knl

Mistake No. 4: Failing to plan

Feeding raw is hands down the most superior form of canine nutrition when it’s done properly however many comment that ‘it takes too much time’ or ‘too much money’

This doesn’t have to be the case. You can very easily find a local whole sale supplier of meat in your local area who will be happy to provide you with cost efficient meat. You can then bulk buy monthly at a discounted price and spend one day of the month bagging it all up. If that does not suit you then you can very conveniently locate a number of specialist raw food companies who will deliver your food for you. 

Credit @midwestcanines

Final thoughts

No matter what just make sure you monitor your dog and remember all dogs are individuals based on their breed, disease susceptibility, age, weight, activity level, sterilization status, chronic health conditions and more. It’s important to work with your veterinarian to determine what will be best for your dog. If you want a more tailored approach to your dogs diet you must check out our Conditioning Programs

 

P.S.

Take your dogs fitness to the next level by updating your canine conditioning tools.

>>>Check out our 3 Most Popular Tools Now

We can all agree that prevention is better than cure and since we are a community committed to the health and performance of dogs worldwide we wanted to share our Top 5 Tips on Preventing Join Injury In Dogs.

According to ASPA Pet Insurance, The most common non contact injury is knee joint injury. A non contact injury refers to an injury that the dog sustained without any external force (as an example a dog being hit by a car is a contact injury)

Why Knee Joint Injury?

A dogs back end is responsible for 80% of their movement and the role of the canine knee is crucial for optimal canine movement. The main job of the knee is to absorb and distribute the forces from the ground through to the dogs head. While the knee is one of the strongest joints based on the large muscles in the surrounding area, it is also one of the most unstable joint as there are no interlocking bones in the joint. Instead it is held together only by several ligaments, including the cruciate ligaments, which allow it to move back and forth like a hinge, but restrict its side-to-side motion.

Credit @staffordshire.aaron

WHAT CAUSES KNEE JOINT INJURY?

One of the most common causes of knee joint injury is by jumping, skidding, twisting or turning awkwardly. Limping is often the first sign of a problem and the structures that are most commonly injured are the cruciate ligament and also the meniscus. The cruciate ligament attaches the upper and lower parts of the dogs leg together and the meniscus acts as a shock absorbing cushion in between them. Injury to the knee can be highly problematic for three reasons: It will completely disable your dog from exercise, it can cost thousands of dollars to treat and it requires a long recovery process.

Credit @malinoisfemke

How to Prevent Knee Injury

1. Health Test

A well structured knee will always be able to absorb more punishment than an unsound weak knee. It’s the breeders responsibility to ensure that their dogs are health tested and that their breeding is producing dogs that are improving in their physical ability. It is also your job to select (when possible) a dog that is as sound as possible.

Credit @spacewhippet

2. Do not Over exercise

While we are advocates of canine exercise, it’s important you do not over exercise your dog past their threshold. An example would be a dog owner who only walks their dog around the block but who one  day decides to take their dog for a 1 hour game of fetch. This is over exercising. The dog is not ready to withstand the stress of such an increase in intenisty or volume. You must remember that any exercise you do with your dog must be monitored and gradually increased. For help with your dog’s exercise regime take a look at our >>12 Week Canine Conditioning and Nutrition Program.

3. Avoid being Overweight.

Dogs who are over weight naturally cause unnecessary pressure and load on their joints. You can maintain a healthy pet or fit weight very easily by just basic hand walking and monitoring your dogs daily food intake. For more help on what is the ideal weight for your dog check our >>5 Point Body Composition Assessment.

 

Of course there are many more steps you can take to prevent joint injury in your dog however these are our top 3. While they are simple tips to use, they are also simple not use. If you make sure to implement these top 3 tips you will greatly minimise the risk of knee join trauma to your dog.

 

What questions do you have? Comment below and we will personally respond to you.

 

Keep them fit

FITDOGNATION.

 

P.S. Your dogs Health and performance is only as good as the knowledge you have and the tools you own. Check out our Top 3 Canine Tools for Boosting your dogs fitness using the Link Below.

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