Labrador dog at the vets

We’re sure we speak for a lot of you when we say we’d do anything to keep our dogs happy, so when they get poorly it can be very hard for both them and us! With owners of bigger pooches in mind, we’re going to take you through a handful of the most common health issues in large breed dogs and what to look out for.


Hip and elbow dysplasia are conditions that form as your dog grows and means that they have a looser fit around their joints. This generally results in some instability but can lead to pain and arthritis.

Although it’s not clear what exactly causes them, we do know that large breed dogs do have a higher risk of getting this condition. Some professionals have been suggesting that excessive weight gain can be relating factor to this and so we would recommend getting in touch with your vet to get advice on correct nutrition for your dog.

dog with a tennis ball in it's mouth


Arthritis is something that can occur in a dog of any size but due to the fact that larger dogs age more quickly, they can develop arthritis at a much younger point in their life. With the increase in chances of dysplasia, this also contributes to the higher risk of developing arthritis.

Some breeds such as Rottweilers are susceptible to this due to their fast growth and weight gain. The main things to look out for in your dog would be limping or stiffness which may also cause pain and increased difficulty in movements.

Rottweiler dog in a field


You can find Cherry Eye in many different large breeds of dog, but most commonly effects Mastiffs. It causes the third eyelid to project from the eye and is linked to the glands in the eye becoming weaker.

It is treatable without surgery if you spot it early enough but if it is not treated it can be very painful and can cause an infection.

boxer dog lying on the grass


Wobbler Syndrome is a disease that attacks the spine, specifically at the neck, which causes compression of the vertebrae. It can develop in a number of different ways but is hereditary.

Due to it being a progressive disease, it can lead to your pooch not being able to move as normal. If you receive this diagnosis, you can treat it with medical to help stop the progression or with surgery to amend the spine.

dog looking out across the field


This one may seem fairly simple as we go through the same thing, but for dogs it can be a much more serious affair. When a dog’s stomach bloats, it can then twist which stops necessary functions such as vomiting and eventually cuts of the blood supply to that area.

It is treatable but the treatment would depend on how severe the condition is. This is something that affects narrow chested dogs more so it is something you should definitely discuss with your vet to take necessary steps in prevention.

dog looking out across the field

Has your pooch faced one of these common health issues in large breed dogs? Tweet us @barkingheads or head to our Facebook page!



 Did you know large breed puppies have special feeding requirements? Read our blog on Large Breed Feeding Advice by Vet Dr Scott Miller and Barking Heads!


*The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified pet health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health*