If your puppy is of a large or giant breed (those breeds that would weigh 55 pounds or more when fully grown), you should be reading this carefully. The developmental growth disorders are also influenced by genetics, nutrition and environment and seem to be prevalently seen in the puppies of the large or giant breeds.
So what are developmental growth disorders in puppies? These disorders include abnormal posture, muscle wasting, difficulty in walking, severe obesity, bowed legs and hip dysplasia. These disorders come about when the puppy grows up too fast.
The problems arise when a puppy is fed more food than is required and this leads to a faster growth and increased weight gain. This skewed development in the body and skeletal system causes the disorders. Canine hip dysplasia and ostochondrosis are the most prevalent of the disorders in dogs.
Canine hip dysplasia is the most common of these disorders is heritable and is influenced by nutrition. The period from the three to eight months of age is the period when the disease develops. Rapid weight gain during the first few weeks after birth has been associated with the disorder at a later age. The dogs which exhibit weight more than the breed standards are more prone to the disease than those that weigh less than the breed standard.
Proper nutrition is essential for proper development. A proper nutrition also wards of the many risks associated with many diseases like cancer. Overdoing the feeding part does more harm than good. To ensure that your puppy does not fall prey to these disorders, you need to plan the diet well. Consult your vet and incorporate the suggestions given. Your vet would be asking you to divide the daily food intake amount into two or three equal servings (also known as meal restrictions) and give the food at specific time intervals (also known as time restrictions). The vet would also make recommendations on the diet itself based on the breed you have. Vets generally recommend a diet with restricted energy and calcium contents for large and giant breed puppies while a properly balanced diet is to be fed to medium and small breed puppies.
While the large and giant breeds are more susceptible to the problem, improper feeding may endanger any breed. The best way to avoid the problem (which is much easier and less expensive than treating the problem) is to feed the puppy the right food at the right time. However, if the problems were evident in your puppy, you would have to consult your vet for a correct diagnosis and the subsequent treatment options.