The other day I read a great article by another blogger. It was all about raising puppies on solid ground. Hip Dysplasia - Can a Shape and Surface of Whelping Box Prevent it? By Magda Chiarella I found it fascinating because I am extremely interested in Hip Dysplasia and it’s causes. There is a great deal of research that has been done on the subject that point to early footing as a major cause. I know when I see puppies slipping around on different types of surface, it makes me cringe.
The author of the above article speaks about a wild canines and their compact dirt surface as puppies which I fully agree with. Some of the seemingly best ideas can be very far from a good idea as far as joint protection. Big fluffy soft blankets placed over a slippery surface give no traction. The smooth but soft feel of fleece, feels nice but offers no traction. Finding real traction is important.
Those little nails are there for a reason. Puppies are born with tiny little sharp nails which help in their propulsion. They dig into the surface and assist in moving them forward. But if there is nothing to dig into, then they cannot build their muscles; which in turn impacts their joints.
In this very detailed article on Hip Dysplasia written by Dr. Carol Beuchat PhD. They discuss many different factors which can influence the hip formation. Lack of muscle strength is mentioned which can be a fallout of early lack of traction. The article also states that all normal non malformed puppies are born with good hips. That statement amazing and well worth a massive amount of research.
Slippery surfaces can lend themselves to damage in young puppies but older dogs as well. Dogs should not run, jump or play on slippery surfaces. The more motion and speed played out on an unsafe surface can lead to catastrophic joint damage. Monitoring play and motion on surface type is always a good idea. When in doubt, go out. Good old dirt packed ground is pretty safe. There are times when you must take care on even grass. A wet grass surface can be a danger as well.
Think traction when choosing a surface for your dog to move on.