After bringing a puppy home, you may need to learn how to treat bowed legs in puppies. Pet owners feel an immense sense of responsibility to make sure their puppies grow up to be healthy. As such, it’s natural to worry when there appears to be something wrong with their legs.
But this is not a cause for concern because bowed legs can be treated easily. Some options include changes in diet, using a handheld massager, and limiting activity. However, if the bowed legs appear to be getting worse, surgical intervention may be required.
Whether your puppy has bowed back legs or bowed front legs, treatment can be done at home to reduce the lifelong impact. Keep reading below as we describe the potential treatment options for bowed legs in puppies.
Do Puppies Have Bent Legs?
Owners who are unable to differentiate between the condition of having curved legs and puppy legs may become overly concerned at the sight of their fur babies who have bowed legs.
The dog’s limbs will eventually get a curved appearance due to the process of development. However, when the dog matures and the growth plate hardens, the limb should straighten.
Some dog breeds are known for their bow-legged appearance. One such dog is the Bulldog. This medical anomaly is responsible for the adorable rolling or shuffling stride that is characteristic of the breed.
The legs of most Bulldogs turn outward slightly, but every once in a while you’ll discover one with straight legs. This is not the same as bow legs, which can develop as a result of any of the conditions described in this article.
Reasons Why Puppy Has Bowed Legs
This section discusses a variety of reasons why your dog may have bowed legs.
A puppy’s bones and cartilage need time to mature, so she should grow slowly. Deformities of the legs might result from the rapid growth of the body putting too much stress on the limbs. This is particularly true with heavy or large-sized breeds.
The growth plate is responsible for essentially framing the bone’s protein and cartilage. This happens to be an extremely sensitive spot that gives easily when pressure is applied to it. It is possible that the young dog could gain so much weight that it would surpass the limit of the growth plate, causing the legs to become curled or twisted.
Problems with Nutrition
In order for dog bones to develop to their full potential, they require particular vitamins and minerals, just as they do in people. These include but are not limited to, calcium and phosphorus.
To develop healthy bones and teeth, a puppy requires plenty of vitamin C and vitamin D. It is necessary for a dog’s diet to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals in sufficient amounts. If it is deficient in even one of these areas, then it will inevitably result in soft bones.
A growing puppy has between 12 and 18 months before the growth plates in their bones completely fuse together. Around this time, the supple cartilage that once made up the bone begins to mineralize and stiffen into bone.
It is possible that part of the cells will stop growing if the dog suffers an injury before the plate completes its maturation process and becomes rigid. Eventually, the leg will look crooked and unequal. If the puppy falls from a great height or comes into contact with a moving object, injuries may result.
Genetics for Bowed Legs
Bowed legs in dogs can have a genetic origin, although it is uncommon. If both of the parent dogs had bow legs, you should probably keep an eye on your dog. It is possible for these genes to be passed down from one generation to the next.
Dog Breeds with Bowed Legs
Bowed legs in a dog are not necessarily a result of its breed. Common causes include things like poor diet, hereditary predisposition, rapid development, or injury. There are, however, breeds that are more susceptible.
According to the American Kennel Club, bowed legs are a desirable trait in Bulldogs. Any dog with short, stocky, powerful forelegs and a “bowed out” profile is suitable for the dog show.
Achondroplasia, a genetic mutation that affects Dachshunds, Corgis, Boston Terriers, Basset Hounds, Pugs, Pekingese, and Skye Terriers among other breeds, is what causes the bending posture.
Similarly, some dogs are bred to encourage the dwarf size, such as the Dwarf Golden Retriever. The dwarf gene causes leg deformities by changing cartilage into bone. In many cases, bowed or bent front legs go along with this.
How to Treat Bowed Legs in Puppies
Following are some ways you can treat bowed legs in puppies.
Invest in a High-Quality Handheld Massager
When considering treatment options for bent legs in puppies, one option to keep in mind is the use of a handheld massager. The majority of dog owners will rely on manual approaches, which have a high rate of success in most cases.
If, on the other hand, you want to step things up and keep applying pressure to the bowed legs, it’s time to switch your attention to a handheld massager.
You are going to come across a variety of therapy alternatives while researching how to treat bowed legs in puppies, but in certain cases, all that is required is a high-quality handheld massager.
Some of the advantages are:
- Concentrated leg pressure
- Gentler on the hands
- Gentle on the dog’s legs
Work on this in 10-minute increments to avoid burnout. If you don’t slow down, you’ll wind up putting too much pressure on the puppy’s legs, which will hurt.
The goal is to relax the area’s muscles, accustom the tissues to pressure, and increase circulation. This is the primary idea behind applying pressure to bowed legs using a quality handheld massager.
When it comes to understanding how to treat bowed legs in puppies, this step is quite crucial. Over time, you’ll perfect your method of a dog leg massage and find it much simpler to ensure the puppy’s well-being.
Cut Back on the Puppy’s Walks
If your dog has bowed legs, one way to help treat the bowed leg in your puppy is to shorten the puppy’s walks. With bowed legs, your puppy will start to feel uncomfortable after around 15 minutes.
Applying too much force to the dog’s bowed legs will cause it unnecessary suffering and delay its rehabilitation. During this time, it’s best to limit their activities and keep them inside as much as possible.
It is vital to avoid going on long walks on difficult surfaces, such as hilly terrain, because these types of treks impose an incredible amount of stress on the legs.
The importance of this cannot be overstated as you continue your education on how to treat bowed legs in puppies. The tissues in the area around the bowed legs will suffer under increased pressure.
There are going to be a lot of dog owners who are looking for good alternatives to keep their puppies happy. It’s normal, but it’s better to keep them in a cage or other contained environment at home.
They’ll be able to run around the playpen for a while without worrying about hurting themselves. You may feel bad about doing this to the puppy at such an early age, but you should know it’s for their own good.
The dog’s bowed legs will improve gradually, allowing you to gradually increase their daily walking distance.
Stretching is an important part of the healing process. It’s important to gradually acclimate the legs to the stretching process. If not, the dog’s movement issues won’t be temporary; they’ll be permanent because they’ll be stuck in that “bowed” position.
Spend at least ten to fifteen minutes a day (in the morning and before bed) stretching your dog’s legs with your hands. The goal is to increase blood flow to the area while also elongating the associated tissues and muscles.
Dogs with bowed legs often benefit from stretching their legs, as this is proven to produce positive benefits and can help speed up the healing process.
The puppy’s legs will adjust to the new position over time. The dog’s physical system will have an easier time adjusting as a result. Otherwise, the dog may become accustomed to the bowed position even as its legs become stronger.
Maintaining focus on the bowed legs for as long as possible is crucial. Though it may take some time, remember that consistency is your friend when training your dog. Make this a habit by doing it at least twice a day, and keep doing it until it becomes second nature. More stretching is always better for the puppy’s development.
Feed More Protein
It’s a good idea to begin changing the puppy’s nutrition right away. Altering the puppy’s diet in even the smallest way can make a world of difference, so don’t discount the potential of this strategy. In fact, this is a crucial point to remember when researching solutions for puppies with bow legs.
The goal is to increase your puppy’s protein intake by one gram per kilogram of body weight per day. This indicates that you are going to want to make at least a 10-15% increase in the total amount.
The puppy’s body will receive the nourishment it needs to continue growing and strengthening as a result of these changes. This is crucial for the legs to be able to straighten and continue to be strong while holding the weight of the puppy.
Some of the advantages are:
- Better bones
- Faster healing
- Overall health improvement
Don’t assume a puppy’s nutrition is fine the way it is. Usually, it isn’t. Your puppy needs a substantial amount of high-quality food every day. You can help your puppy’s bowed legs straighten out by monitoring its protein intake.
Make sure to keep an eye on how well your puppy is eating and make any necessary adjustments. Improvements like this to treat bowed legs in puppies will take some time, but in the end, it will be worth it.
When a puppy’s bones harden from bending for an extended period of time (6–9 months), surgical intervention is required for treatment. However, if the age is closer to four or five months, it is possible to treat it without the need for a surgical procedure.
This is because we know that bones are pliable throughout this stage and that they can be treated simply by utilizing compressive force. Furthermore, the use of drugs that provide cartilage protection, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, is another way to manage this issue.
A dog with bowed legs may undergo one of a number of corrective surgical procedures. In terms of price, recovery time, and medications, each procedure is different from the others.
Depending on the type of treatment, the vet you choose, your location, and other criteria, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000. The total price includes everything from pre- and post-operative consultations through imaging tests and the surgical procedure itself.
For the average person, this sum of money is enormous. But it’s important because it affects your dog’s quality of life directly. If you have pet insurance, you won’t have to worry about paying for as much of the vet bill.
Whether or not puppies grow out of bowed legs depends on what stage of growth their legs are. Some puppies may have bowed legs temporarily from growth spurts, others will need intervention. Home remedies for bowed legs can be effective for young puppies of about 5 months. The age of effectiveness and point of growth process depends on your dog’s size because small dogs hit growth milestones sooner than large breeds.
Have your vet assess your puppy’s bowed legs and ask about the effectiveness of daily stretching, massage, and improved nutrition for treating bowed legs in your puppy.
There are many treatments for bowed front legs in a puppy. Start by learning how to stretch and massage the legs to help the ligaments and tendons loosen up. Next, research supplements, protein, and quality puppy food for your puppy to ensure they are getting the proper nutrition while they finish growing. Finally, talk to your vet to determine the severity, the likelihood of your puppy growing out of their bowed front legs, and whether or not surgery will be necessary if the issue continues into adulthood.
Bow-legged dogs don’t always need surgery. If your puppy’s bowed legs last to adulthood, talk to your vet to discuss the condition and what treatment they recommend. They may live a long, healthy life with bowed legs, or they may need intervention. As they get older, you can help their legs and joints with supplements, stretching, and regular exercise.
Conclusion For “How to Treat Bowed Legs in Puppies”
Although your puppy’s bowed legs may understandably be concerning, you can rest easy knowing that there are many ways to treat bowed legs in puppies at home.
From massage to stretching, and improved nutrition, there are many home remedies to improve your puppy’s bowed legs. Sometimes, even reduced exercise is necessary, such as shorter walks.
If you find that your puppy is exhibiting other symptoms, it’s important to take him to the vet as soon as possible.
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Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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