Most of the time, pets are calm and sweet in an ideal atmosphere. However, there are times when a dog will show signs of aggression for no apparent reason. Researchers have found that unprovoked aggressive behavior could be a sign that the dog is experiencing pain.
Normal aggressive behavior is often seen in dogs that are protective of their offspring; however, there are other factors that would explain aggression such as early development of the embryo, how old the puppy was when it was weaned, how well the puppy was socialized, what the growing puppy was fed, heredity, and proper exercise and activity. Other reasons for aggression can come from pain stemming from disease or injury.
Many of the aggressive dogs that were studied were found to have hip dysplasia – a disease that affects a dog’s hips. This commonly hereditary disease affects the hip joint. The hip joint is like a ball that fits into a socket. The “socket” is the hip bone; and the “ball” is the end of the femur or hind leg bone. If the socket is too shallow, the ball can slide out of the socket. When the ball slides out of the socket, a tremendous amount of pain can occur.
There are many different levels of hip dysplasia ranging from moderate to severe. Most cases do not show up until the dog is approximately two years old. Common breeds that tend to have cases of hip dysplasia are large breeds such as St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and others. The best way to prevent hip dysplasia is to find a dog or puppy whose parents have been certified as free of hip dysplasia.