Whether you are thinking about getting a Great Dane or already have one, you need to be aware of the mobility issues that are common among the Great Dane breed. Lifting a giant dog is not easy and when a Great Dane is unable to walk there can be significant challenges for the entire family.
Here are a few Great Dane health problems that can impact a Dane’s ability to walk and stand up:
Wobbler Syndrome is quite common in Great Danes. Wobblers or cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM) affects the cervical spine at the neck causing severe balance and mobility problems. Most dogs will begin to show signs of Wobblers at a young age and typically begins with the dog having problems walking and showing signs of pain in their back or neck.
Dogs with Wobbler Syndrome show a range of symptoms. Depending on the severity of the CSM, a Great Dane can experience complete or partial paralysis. The most distinctive symptom for dogs with Wobbler Syndrome is a wobbly gait while walking. The reason why a dog with Wobblers has trouble controlling its steps is that the nerves of the spine are unable to correctly communicate to the brain. Less severe signs of the condition include raising off the ground slowly and struggling to stand up.
Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis
Great Danes and other large dog breeds are at an increased risk for hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition where a dog’s femoral head doesn’t fit correctly in its hip socket. A Dane with hip dysplasia can experience stiffness in their back legs, lameness, and even exercise can become painful. Great Danes with hip dysplasia may have a difficult time standing up and may lose significant muscle tone in their back legs. Left untreated, canine hip dysplasia can lead to arthritis and debilitating joint pain.
Although the signs may be visible throughout a dog’s life, both hip dysplasia and arthritis are gradual conditions that worsen as a Great Dane ages. With both conditions maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise and joint supplements can help to improve overall joint health.
Great Dane Joint Disease
Joint disease and joint pain are quite common in young Great Danes. Like all giant breeds, a Great Dane puppy grows quickly, this rapid growth can lead to growing pains especially if they grow faster than 4 lbs. a week.
Another joint problem caused by rapid growth is Osteochondritis Dissecans or OCD. OCD occurs when a Dane puppy grows so fast that the cartilage in their joints may not attach properly to the bone. Lameness and joint pain in a growing Dane are usually temporary and may impact different parts of the body at different times. If your dog is showing any signs of joint pain, they must be treated by their veterinarian. Not only are joint problems painful, but they can limit a dog’s ability to walk and get the exercise they need. Regular checkups are key to a happy and healthy Great Dane puppy.
How to Help a Great Dane Walk
Great Danes are playful and energetic dogs, when your dog is unable to walk on their own it’s frustrating for them and you. Luckily, there are some simple mobility solutions available to help your Great Dane to regain its independence.
Dog Lift Harness
Joint pain and weak legs can make it difficult for an older dog to stand up without assistance and lifting a giant dog can be a real pain. A dog lift harness is made to safely support your Great Dane’s front and back legs and lift your dog without straining your back. Using a support harness allows you to give your dog the boost they need to stand up and walk with your help. A lifting harness can also help you get your dog up the stairs or into the car.
Choose a support harness that’s made to withstand the weight of your giant Great Dane. Not every harness will work for every dog. A giant breed dog’s mobility needs are very different when compared to a dog half their size. The Walkin’ Combo Harness is built for safely lifting a large dog and is dog wheelchair compatible!
Great Dane Wheelchair
It isn’t always possible to lift and carry a Great Dane on your own. A Great Dane wheelchair is designed to keep your dog active, mobile, and independent! A dog wheelchair is a perfect option for a paralyzed dog to stand upright and walk while assisted. A giant breed dog with Wobblers can use the support of a four-wheel wheelchair to help maintain their balance with each wobbly step.
A Great Dane’s wheelchair needs to match their tall stature, it’s important to select a cart with larger sized wheels, for most Danes they will need at least 16″ wheels for their back legs. An adjustable cart will give you the most flexibility to support your Great Dane’s back legs.
Dog wheelchairs aren’t only for paralyzed pets or other long-term mobility needs. A large dog wheelchair is ideal for an injured dog with a cruciate tear who needs to limit the weight placed on their injured leg while staying active. A Great Dane can easily incorporate their wheelchair into their rehabilitation exercises.