Growing Puppies and HOD

Those of us who’ve raised a dog or two are familiar with how fast dogs can grow, especially when they’re puppies. Sometimes, it seems as if they gain inches and pounds by the hour!

Occasionally, however, rapid growth in puppies and adolescent dogs can lead to complications. While HOD can be very painful, it is usually a self-limiting condition with no permanent side-effects, meaning puppies simply outgrow it. There are rare cases, however, in which growth plates are permanently damaged, resulting in deformed legs.

HOD usually affects puppies from 2-8 months old. Some breeds that are most commonly affected include:

  • Irish Setters
  • German Shepherds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Doberman Pinchers
  • Basset Hounds
  • Great Danes

HOD can be very painful, usually affecting multiple limbs and causing severe joint discomfort. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling in the joints
  • Painful joints
  • Lameness
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

In order to diagnose HOD, your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam and get a detailed history of your pooch. He or she will also likely recommend x-rays of the affected limbs, and other diagnostic testing may also be needed for a more accurate diagnosis.These tests may include:

  • Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, as well as sugar levels
  • Electrolyte tests to ensure your dog isn’t dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance
  • A complete blood count to screen your pet for infection, inflammation, or anemia and other blood-related conditions
  • Urine tests to screen for urinary tract infection and other diseases, and to evaluate the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine
  • Screening tests to rule out infectious disease

Treatment for HOD usually involves anti-inflammatory medication to help relieve pain and swelling in the joints. Rest will also be recommended. After a few weeks, most puppies will begin to improve. Your veterinarian will establish a treatment plan that is best for your furry friend.

The cause of HOD isn’t entirely known, though some think it has something to do with high-protein diets or lack of Vitamin C. However, there haven’t been any studies that can prove this theory. Because the cause of HOD isn’t known, it’s pretty hard to prevent the onset of HOD.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Do Puppies Have Growing Pains

We have all heard of growing pains. Some of us remember them from when were kids. I specifically remember sitting in school and having aching legs. I grew like 3 inches in a summer. Many kids like myself go through this same thing, but what about dogs? Do puppies have growing pains, or is it just us humans that experience this painful issue.

The answer is “yes” puppies or dogs can suffer from aches and pains when they grow, but by many, they aren’t called “growing pains“. Even though, that is exactly what they are.

Growing Pains

Puppies grow up very fast, and larger dog breeds even faster. It is nothing to see a puppy grow from a 5 lb puppy up to a 50 lb dog in 3-4 mos. Just think about growing that fast, it makes sense that our dogs would at times be a bit stiff and even sore.

Growing dogs, don’t reach their full skeletal maturity until around 18 mos, but it can vary from dog to dog. In the legs are one of the main areas that your dog may experience aches and pains. Your dog may show stiffness or limping, and even have trouble getting around. Shifting from one leg to another can also be a sign of a sore leg or stiffness.

In most cases these limited bouts of pain, are usually outgrown by your dog and don’t last long. They literally can be gone from one day to the next.

This is something to monitor and keep an eye on. Just like any other ailment of issue that your puppy may have, could also be something of a much more serious nature.

Although growing pains, isn’t widely considered a real thing for dogs, many dogs do have issues when they grow very quickly. When your dog really seems to be struggling and continuing to have mobility issues that affect their everyday life, than that is the time that you need to get a professional opinion.

When to be concerned

When it comes to puppies, if something lasts longer than normal, you would want to seek medical attention from a Vet. There is a serious condition, that can look like simple growing pains or stiffness but is actually a condition is called “Panosteitis”.

Panosteitis is a serious orthopedic issue that affects puppies as early as 2 mos old. Significantly more common in large breed dogs. Breeds that it can more predominately affect are:

  • Dobermans
  • Great Danes
  • German Shepherds
  • Retrievers

Along with these large breeds, it can also affect smaller breeds like Miniature Schnauzer. This condition affects puppies causing lameness and stiffness in their joints. It has even been documented in dogs and puppies from the young age of 2 mos old, all the way to 5 years old.

There are theories by the medical community of the reasons why dogs can get this condition, but none are proven to be true. Many believe it could be genetics, nutritional agents, infections and of course simply breed specific.

Some symptoms that you should watch for are:

  • Leg lameness that continues on
  • Stiffness
  • Fever
  • Lethargic
  • No appetite

The tough part of these symptoms is that they can come and go. One day your dog may seem fine, and the next day, they are limping. This makes it very tough for dog parents to figure out when to seek medical attention.

The good news is that this condition is one that your dog will outgrow without any long term affects to their health. If you are at all concerned about your dog, it is always a good idea to make sure that you consult your Vet. We certainly do not want our dogs to suffer with a serious health issue, because we think we know what it is.

Vet treatment

Like I said above if your dog is experiencing growing pains, check with your Vet to ensure you get the proper diagnosis. You just never know what the real issues is until you speak to the professionals.

Your dog could have panosteitis, a fracture, an infection or just simply a sprain. Before knowing how your dog needs to be treated, you need to know what the issue is.

For growing pains, depending on the severity of your dog’s issues, you would be given a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. A medication like this will help lessen the inflammation on the membrane that covers the bones giving your dog some relief. You may not need to administer the medication daily, the condition can be just to help with flare-ups that occur intermittently.

Usually by 18-24 mos, your dog will outgrow any of these issues.


Like many conditions, our dogs can get relief from over the counter supplements. There are some very easy ways to help give your dog comfort if they are suffering with aches and pains. Just like us, if we are stiff and sore, it dramatically affects our quality of life.

Treating dogs or puppies with growing pains will allow them more mobility and comfort until the flare up passes. You can easily put it on top of their food or give it to them in a treat.

Things like: Cosequin or Glucosomine are great options when it comes to naturally treating your dog’s joint pain. Much like humans, they include things like Magnese, Essential fatty acids, Omega’s, Fish Oil, Hemp and CBD.

It has never been so easy to give your dog a supplement. They come in chews, liquid form and even included right in certain dog foods. CBD and Hemp have really been one of the new ways to give you dog comfort for many issues including joint issues.

Nobody wants to see their dog suffering in pain and limping around. We can easily give them a chew to make them feel better, what is the harm in that. Sometimes providing quick relief for your dog without a prescription is needed.


What is it about dog puppies that experience growing pains, that is so different than children. Although many children go through growing pains, the way in which it affects their everyday life is not the same.

Children do not limp or become so stiff they don’t want to move. They are far more likely to have it affect them at nighttime when they are trying to sleep.

Puppies that experience severe growing pains can be affected at all times of the day. Even so much so, that they literally refuse to move.

The overall thought on do puppies have growing pains, the answer is… depends on who you talk to. Much of the dog medical community believes this issue to be a bit of a mystery.

When it comes to growing puppies, especially in large breeds, watch closely and monitor your pup. Watch to see if they start experiencing any issues while they are growing.

For me personally, I would opt to try an over the counter dog chew treat, to start. That way I can see if my dog responses positively with lessening their symptoms. Yes as always visit a Vet if any issues with your dog persist, but sometimes just an easy home fix can do the trick.

HOD in dogs: HOD is the abbreviation for Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, which is just one of several developmental orthopedic diseases or issues affecting dogs in our modern times, which is likely not an issue affecting dogs/wolves living in the wild that are not subject to man-made diets. HOD is a fancy title referring to swollen joints in the dog wherein, the cause of the swollen joints is tied to irregular bone growth problems.

There are four different situations where swollen joints in dogs may get diagnosed as, or ‘blamed on’ HOD. Incorrect or unbalanced nutrition is the normal causative factor in an actual case of HOD – where long-bone development is out of kilter, and one result is the swollen, painful joints that can cause differing degrees of disability in the young dog. However, there are three other situations/cases, that can create the HOD like symptoms and the painful swollen joints. Those 3 include (1) Septicemia, (2) reactions to vaccines, or (3) allergic reaction to antibiotics (various forms of fungi). All these are issues which can result in swollen joint problems with associated pain and immobility, thereby able to mimic an actual ‘developmental’ form of HOD. Therefore, whenever HOD is indicated, it may not be a true case of HOD, where the irregular bone growth associated with HOD is involved. This type of ailment is generally assumed to be a large or giant breed issue though dogs that don’t fit that category may not be automatically immune to such growth irregularity.


History of this type of ailment shows that typically, between the ages of 3 – 6 months of age, is the critical developmental period for the large/giant breed puppies where they may be susceptible to possible irregularities that may pose an HOD threat. This is the time in which HOD is generally seen and is the result of fast, uneven growth patterns. Veterinarians see this developmental disease expressed in the joints – where they become inflamed and swollen in the growth plates of the front and back legs. In the later stages of HOD, dogs are unable to walk or even stand without assistance.

Support for Dogs Susceptible to, or Troubled by HOD

NZYMES® Super-food protein is an ideal supplement to help support the nutritional needs of dogs with potential for such growth issues, as well as dogs already displaying bone growth issues or showing the painful-joints symptoms indicative of a HOD condition. We have seen dozens of cases where one simple daily supplement can help the body turn things in the right direction and yield the necessary growth patterns required for a normal, happy, and healthy large-breed dog. Years of study of the bone growth in large breed dogs have shown the effectiveness of the NZYMES® in the realm of promoting the body’s ability to stabilize growth related to shoulder and hip height, and balance. The use of NZYMES Antioxidant Treats or Granules, along with a change in diet and monitoring the amount being fed, can provide significant help with the challenge of reversing the growth-issues causing HOD in a young puppy.

HOD, as tied to Nutritional issues, deficiencies, or incorrect feed regiments, is most often caused by poor quality diets, or over supplementation and/or over consumption of calories versus the amount of exercise the puppy gets on a daily basis in other words, intake vs. output. Studies by Linda Arndt, the Great-Dane-Lady, show that large-breed puppies are meant to be, and need to be lean during their first 2 years of growth, but are often over-fed and thus such problems develop . Feeding a Holistic or Super Premium level dog food of moderate protein, 22-24%, and moderate fat, 12-15%, with quality minerals, fed in moderate amounts, will alsoprovide significant help in avoiding HOD issues in growing pups – in that larger-breed category.

For deeper information on preventing HOD, you can refer to the Blackwatch Feed Program for Large/Giant Breed Puppies and for correcting a HOD problem see the Blackwatch Feed Program for HOD Puppies and A Guide To Recognizing Bone Diseases at the Great Dane Lady website.

Watch the video: Jedrek HOD pup outside

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