September 12, 2019

Why dogs do THAT leg-spread

Why dogs do THAT leg-spread
Dr. Chris Brown

It’s time we talked about the leg spread. While some find it amusing, other pet parents are worried it might be a clue to hip issues later in life.

So what's the real story on the 'sploot'?! Here's your answer...

It’s almost the downward dog for beginners. But the biggest fear for many pet owners is that it's a sign of hip dysplasia, the debilitating disease that affects so many dogs, especially larger breeds. But it turns out that 'frogging' or 'splooting' shouldn't warrant a freak out after all.

So why do they do it? Because it’s comfortable. It actually allows barrel chested breeds (like French bulldogs, pugs and staffies) to sit and sleep symmetrically. Importantly it also helps to regulate body temperature by allowing this relatively hairless part of the body release body heat by either airing those private areas or allowing them to conduct heat away to a cooler floor.

But what about those hips? Well, rather than causing damage, it’s actually a sign of very flexible hip joints - but not necessarily loose or dysplastic hips. But those hips joints and their cartilage need to be looked after with minimal high impact exercise like repeated ball chasing or jumping.

Did you know? Dogs that have hip dysplasia usually struggle to 'frog' as they often have very tight groin (pectineus) muscles.

So who are the best 'spreaders'? Young dogs are the masters. In fact, most dogs grow out of leg spreading. Barrel chested breeds seem to be especially talented and most likely to continue the spread into later life…


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