Weak Pasterns In Dogs- Reasons and Solutions Explained

weak pasterns in dogs

Weak Pasterns also called “Down in the pasterns” or “Low in Pasterns,” is a term for a flat-footed hyperextension of the joint. If we compare it to a human hand, it is the space between the paw and the lower end of the radius bone closest to the foot. It is the metacarpus. It happens when muscles, ligaments, or tendons grow faster than the bones and have nothing to attach to the support.

What causes weak pasterns in dogs?

There are three reasons for weak pasterns.

  • Genetic Reason: One of the main reasons for weak pasterns is genetic. The puppy inherited the gene for weak pasterns from their ancestors. Some breeds suffer from weak pasterns, mainly than the other breeds. It is a common problem in larger breeds such as German shepherds, golden retrievers, etc.
  • Lack of Nutrition: Nutrition is the main reason for weak pasterns and splayed feet. A low-quality primary food diet can cause weak pasterns to your dog. If you don’t feed your dog a well-balanced diet with the correct ratio of protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin, then your dog will suffer from several diseases, including low in pasterns.
  • Due to Injury: Excessive exercise, jumping, running, or playing on hard surfaces can cause injury to your dog. If the dog’s leg muscle is not mature enough, then there is a possibility of getting injured and suffering from weak pastern because of hard exercise and training.

How to cure weak pasterns in Dogs?

After confirming that your dog’s pastern is low, you should identify the reason. Then you can move to the treatment session of your dog for weak pastern. A proper diet and proper exercise can cure weak pasterns of your dog quickly.

  • Proper Diet: If your dog is sick or having some health issue, we often overfeed them thinking that the dog will recover soon if he eats well. But It will cause more health issues if the dog puts too much weight. So, a proper diet is a must if you want your dog to be healthy. Most of the time, low pasterns can be prevented by giving decent nutritional food to the dog. For fast-growing puppies, you must make sure that you give them good quality large breed formula dog food.
  • Proper Supplement: The second thing is that we have to be careful before giving additional supplements to him/her. Back in the old days, it was thought that supplements like calcium could prevent weak pasterns but later on, veterinarians revealed that calcium makes the condition worse in this situation. They don’t recommend that now.

The most effective supplement for weak pasterns is vitamin c. As vitamin C sustains the strength of collagen, it helps with joints and connective tissues. And also, Vitamin c can boost your dog’s immune system. It is the best supplement to recover your dog from any stresses.

  • Proper Exercise: Proper exercise is essential for dogs to recover from weak pasterns.Heavy muscle can be a reason for low pasterns. On the other hand, over-exercise or excessive exercise can also be harmful to your dog. Weak pasterns can be happened because of too much activity too early in a puppy’s life. Dogs with weak pasterns get tired very fast, and it’s more likely to get injured while jumping. Let him exercise, walk or play only as much as he can do and let him rest if he gets tired.

The type of surfaces the dog walks on also plays a significant role. Don’t let your dog walk on slippery and hard surfaces because this puts too much strain on his growing joints and ligaments. Let your puppy walk and play on natural soft surfaces like dirt, sand, mud, and grass to strengthen his pasterns.

Note: During teething, the puppy’s body may go soft and result in weak pasterns. It is entirely natural in the teething stage. The problem will resolve itself within 3 to 4 weeks. Just give your puppy a well-balanced diet, food, and exercise in the sunlight.

If the dog’s pasterns problem is too severe, we recommend consulting with a veterinarian.

Written by Beatrix Nanai

Beatrix Nanai was born in Budapest, Hungary. She graduated from the University of Veterinary Sciences, Hungary in 1998. There she completed a surgical internship. After 2001 she relocated to the USA and after passing ECFVG for foreign graduates, She completed a surgical externship at South Carolina Surgical Referral Services. In 2014 she obtained her second specialty board certification and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Has several peer-reviewed publications and written articles for The Pet Grooming.

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