Look at your pup's feet, does it look like they are wearing socks?
Well they shouldn't!
Weak Pasterns, also referred to as "Low in Pasterns", is when muscles/ligaments etc are growing faster than the bones and they have nothing to attach to for support.
Nutrition is the leading cause of weak pasterns, buckling over and splayed feet. For most it is a mild case being easily remedied, if caught early, thru diet and exercise.
Typically it presents in puppyhood- usually in the teething stage of many large, rapid growing breeds, but can happen until dog is sexually mature.
Daily Vitamin C Supplement- Dosage: 18mg/lb Daily
Vitamin C helps support joints and connective tissue. I use Ester-C starting at 5 weeks of age and can be found at most grocery stores. I recommend feeding it their entire life as it also supports the immune system, helping your dog heal from any stress. Stress is the best-known cause of vitamin C depletion in dogs. Stress comes in many forms ranging from going to new homes to vaccinations, ear cropping and illness.
*Please do NOT confuse Vitamin C with Calcium. They are 2 entirely different things, and calcium will make this condition worse.
*Note: Ester C is the only form of Vitamin C available at the grocery store that a dog can easily metabolize. If you are wanting one with less Calcium in it I suggest looking for a dog specific vitamins available on most pet food sites.
Keep Puppy Lean
Yes I know...everyone wants the biggest and baddest mother on the block. But this mindset couldn't be more wrong and actually is quite damaging causing more problems and WILL take years off joint life. Adolescents should be ribby- do NOT over feed!
Make sure you are feeding a large breed formula kibble for fast growing pups. If you are already using that kibble to no improvement, then transition to an adult formula with less protein. The idea is to slow down their growth so that their bones can catch up to their ligaments.
Feeding a well-balanced diet with the correct ratio of protein:fat:calcium is ideal. Everyone's opinion on this varies so I'll let you research and decide which ratio is correct for your pup. I hate that debate and won't do it! Lol.
*Avoid high protein, calcium and additional supplements.
Muscle is heavy and can also be the culprit of soft pasterns. Your puppy is not an athlete yet, avoid slippery surfaces, excessive exercises, jumping and running on hard surfaces, as this strains ligaments and joints.
The best exercises for this problem is:
-Walking in sand, mud and or gravel targets the correct muscles to strengthen.
-Raise feed bowl. Making puppy "stand tall to eat" is a great stretching exercise to strengthen those weak pasterns. You may want to alter their feeding schedule from 1 up to 3 small meals a day to get the most out of this exercise.
Keep Nails Trimmed- Trim Every 2 Weeks
Dogs nails are an important part of their anatomy. Long nails alter the way a dog walks, affecting the natural alignment of the leg which causes twisting of joints. It can make them prone to injury and cause arthritis overtime.
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