Does your puppy have growing pains?

growing pains

Did you know dogs can have growing pains?

If you are a new puppy owner and have noticed symptoms of pain in your pup, they may be going through “growing pains”. This is of particular concern with medium, large, and giant breeds of dog, who most commonly have growing pains as puppies.

While any breed (even smaller dogs) can experience this, certain breeds are more susceptible to it. The breeds most likely to encounter growing pains are:

Growing pains are not a specific medical condition – a dog cannot be diagnosed with “growing pains”. Instead, they are a symptom of a bone condition called “panosteitis”. Panosteitis is typically outgrown within the puppy’s first year, although some dogs may have pain for up to two years. The condition is linked to a variety of factors, including hereditary factors, infections, parasites, allergies, and hormones.

A puppy with panosteitis will likely be suffering a large amount of pain; you may see them limping heavily, shifting legs as different legs become affected, having reduced energy for running and playing, being reluctant to go for long walks, and so on.growing pains

If you notice these symptoms, you should take your puppy to the veterinarian to be diagnosed. In some cases, these symptoms may not simply be growing pains but could be a more serious condition. The sooner your veterinarian reaches a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin.

The first thing your vet will do is diagnose the pain with an x-ray, to confirm it is panosteitis and not another health problem. In cases where your pup is diagnosed with panosteitis, your vet will be able to give you pain management treatments and at-home recommendations to help your puppy through this difficult time.

Specific medication recommendations will depend on your specific dog and their condition. Most dogs will need a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain killer prescribed by your veterinarian. In very serious cases, your puppy may be prescribed a stronger pain medication and/or in-patient care at the clinic.

Please note: NEVER give your dog medication that hasn’t been prescribed by a vet, as some drugs are fatal for canines.

Although your puppy will eventually outgrow this condition, the pain is severe; therefore, medication is essential for helping them return to normal activities while their body reaches its adult size. If they are experiencing panosteitis, let them rest and avoid strenuous activities.

The majority of dogs do not end up with any lasting or permanent disabilities as a result of growing pains, so pet owners can rest assured their new companion will be able to run and play with them in the future!


Daniel Mudrick, DVM, founded a state-of-the-art 24/7 veterinary hospital in Mississauga, Ontario. He has been featured in local news stories and radio programs for his expert knowledge of animal health.