Common Health Issues for Larger Dogs

Large dog breeds are very popular in the US, and it isn’t hard to see why. Big dogs can help to protect your home and they tend to get on well with families and young children. They can even benefit your health!

golden retriever

However, large dog breeds are prone to certain health problems, so if you own a big dog it can be beneficial to be aware of these issues. This means you will be more likely to spot symptoms and warning signs, so you can do everything you can to help your dog have a long, happy life.

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Generally, dogs that weigh over 50 pounds are classed as large breed dogs. Some of the most common large breed dogs include:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • Standard Poodle
  • Great Dane
  • German Shepherd

Here are five common health issues for larger dogs.

Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia (aka CHD) occurs when the dog’s hip joints don’t fuse properly. The ball doesn’t fit into the socket, which can cause pain, bone and joint degeneration and arthritis. But there are things you can do to reduce the chance of CHD. Ensure your dog isn’t overweight, as this will put pressure on the joint sockets, and take them to the vet if you notice they are limping or walking strangely.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia, but it affects the elbow instead of the hip. An incorrectly formed elbow can be caused by weight gain, injury or joint disease, and the most obvious symptom is limping with the front leg. You can reduce their symptoms by helping them to lose weight, or you can give them treats that reduce inflammation (such as treats from CeeBeeDoo) to help manage pain.

Obesity/Weight Gain

Obesity can be a big problem for larger dog breeds, and it can lead to more serious health issues. Some of the most common health issues caused by obesity include heart disease, cancer, arthritis, cancer and diabetes. These issues are very serious, so you should put your dog on a diet if they are overweight.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated Cardiomyopathy refers to a type of canine heart disease, and it is commonly seen in older dogs. Dilated Cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart gets too big, so it has difficulty pumping blood throughout the body. Common symptoms include lethargy, coughing and difficulty breathing.


Hypothyroidism occurs when there is a reduced production of T3 and T4 hormones in the dog’s thyroid gland. This can cause hair loss, weight gain and lethargy, but thankfully, most of the symptoms can be managed with medication.

Lots of large dogs will encounter health issues in later life, and this can be scary and upsetting. If your dog starts to show any symptoms, take them to the vet immediately. The bills may be expensive, but they could provide you with the medication you need to ensure your dog lives a happy, healthy life. And it is also much cheaper than paying for expensive surgery later down the line.

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Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big, burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies—he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy cuddling!

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