I have a five-month-old Boxer/Rottweiler mix who
loves to play frisbee, but I heard that playing
catch and frisbee is dangerous for many breeds of
dog because of knee injuries. Is this true?
Active dogs sometimes suffer injury to a structure in the knee called the cruciate ligament. The cruciate ligament helps to stabilize the knee during movement. Dogs with injured cruciate ligaments often require surgery to correct the problem.
Large breeds and overweight dogs are at increased risk of cruciate ligament injury. Also, cruciate ligaments may be damaged during any activity that places large amounts of strain on the knees. Running on rough terrain, playing fetch and, yes, playing frisbee may lead to cruciate ligament injuries.
However, if your dog loves playing fetch or frisbee, I’d recommend that you weigh the benefits of the activity against the risks. Although acrobatic leaps for frisbees may lead to injured knees, the running involved in fetching and frisbee catching helps to keep dogs fit, muscular and lean.
And don’t forget that playing fetch or frisbee is fun. Having fun is part of the reason why people adopt dogs.
Intense physical activity carries certain risks for dogs. But we all face risks every day. In most cases, the benefits of activities such as fetching or catching frisbees outweigh the risks.