Your dog’s hip joints are an integral part of its anatomy. The hip joint is responsible for many of the functions that the dog performs. Dogs are naturally active pets, they run, jump and pounce around restlessly. All of these movements put an ecstatic amount of stress on your dog’s hips.
Moreover, the hips are also essential for a dog’s launch into a jump or a sprint. Therefore, any abnormalities within the hip joint can seriously impact your dog’s quality of life. The hip joint is primarily is ball and socket joint. The anatomy of this joint involves a ball-shaped rounded bone that fits into a curvy-shaped bone, making the synovial joint that is the ball and socket.
What is Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
As your dog matures and grows in size. In order for the dog to develop healthy hips, its hip joint must grow in correspondence to its size.
However, in some cases, this does not happen. When the ball and socket joint do not grow equally, the dog begins to develop hip dysplasia. This condition has more occurrences in certain breeds, especially ones that have a larger size. Since this condition is inherent and inevitable breeds, it is essential that you help your dog by taking precautionary methods earlier.
For example, if you happen to father dog breeds such as golden retrievers or German shepherd, you can make measurable changes to their life that will potentially prolong the onset of symptoms associated with the condition.
Dogs that have problems in their hip joint become restricted to certain movements because that particular joint allows dogs a full range of motion. Therefore, dogs with hip dysplasia will tend to display lameness.
Is Hip Dysplasia Painful for Dogs?
When the dog’s joint starts to display uneven growth, you will begin to notice some changes in the dog. These changes can reflect behavioral changes in the dog, and some of the obvious movement issues.
Most of the earliest signs of hip dysplasia are slight lameness in the dog. You will notice that your dog is walking differently. Furthermore, you will also find that your dog is showing reluctance to walk or play. A dog with hip dysplasia may also show changes in its diet at a later stage.
Before dogs develop a limp due to hip dysplasia, they experience a growing pain that leads to lameness. Most owners are unable to identify the condition until it is too late. This is also because dogs tend to withstand pain very well, and hence, it is difficult to tell.
The Importance of Hip Dysplasia Treatment
You cannot find a known cure for this condition. Nevertheless, you can always find treatments for the symptoms that come with it. If you have a dog breed that is susceptible to hip dysplasia, the best-recommended practice is to provide your canine with a healthy and balanced diet.
Since the hip joint in the dog is weak and under stress, controlling your dog’s weight will keep the pet from accumulating extra fat, which puts the joint under even more pressure. Therefore, feeding your dog a healthy meal, along with regular exercise to keep its weight balanced is the best treatment.
A vet would also recommend that you massage your dog’s legs and body frequently. This helps alleviate the pressure and stress on the joints. The veterinarian can also guide you in exploring other pain-relieving therapies and solutions that include joint supplements, prescription medication, holistic natural treatments, and others.
The most accepted therapy amongst all by a vet is physical therapy. A veterinarian is likely to recommend this in conjunction with joint supplements, no steroidal and anti-inflammatory medications, especially in the instance of arthritis.
Best Exercises for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia
Despite all the medications and supplements available for pain relief, the best treatment lies in their diet and an exercise program at an earlier age. Dogs that suffer from hip dysplasia require special types of low-impact exercises.
The ultimate goal is to keep your dogs at optimum weight and mobile, without putting much pressure on their joints.
Swimming is an exercise that is not only low impact, but it can also provide the dogs with the necessary high resistance. Without resistance, the dog cannot develop sufficient muscles, or lose the burdening weight.
By building muscles in its body, a dog can gain the strength to bear its own weight and simultaneously alleviate the stress from its hip joint. Swimming will not only help with the dog’s muscle mass, but also strengthen the rest of the body, such as the limbs, back, and shoulders.
Many owners resort to the underwater treadmill as a key low-impact exercise for the dog. The underwater treadmill is a much safer alternative to the pool, beach, or even the lake. Dogs are more likely to injure themselves in outdoor and open venues.
Why is why, an underwater treadmill helps provide your dog with a controlled environment, in which you can provide it with sufficient exercise for muscle mass, avoid injuries, and prevent them from overworking.
Frequent Short Walks
When you know that your dog is suffering from a joint issue that is causing mobility issues, and then getting your dog to move can be difficult. Dogs that suffer from joint pain will tend to rest more. This is a sign of worry since a sedentary lifestyle will often worsen the condition of your dog.
Therefore, you must prioritize short, but frequent walks for your dog if you want the canine to recover. Your vet will advise you to keep the walking session light and not too intense. Short walks are also a crucial part of physical therapy.
Another great measurable approach in your dog’s recovery would be to regulate a sit and stand routine. For this, you have to dedicate your time to your dog by stepping back and ordering your dog to sit, then stand and come to you.
You have to do this for a couple of minutes so that their joints undergo sufficient movement. In other words, this preventative practice counters the problem of stiffness in the joints. Your dog will show reluctance and laziness to follow commands because of the discomfort.
Which is why, you have to incentivize their efforts by giving them a small treat whenever the dog comes to you. The act of giving treats is a positive re-enforcement method that makes the sit-stand session easier.
Similar to the sit and stand training, agility training is another exercise option that follows the same repetitive motion technique. It involves obstacle courses that put the dog’s joints to work. In this course, they either have to jump across obstacles or roll under the courses.
Dogs love to play! Along with treats, playtime is something that gets them excited and on their feet. Whether it is fetch, or hides and seeks, playtime is another great exercise option to get your dog up and running.
However, make sure that your dog does not go overboard with excitement, hence, do your best to keep the games low-impact.
Other Holistic Ways to Manage Your Dog’s Hip Dysplasia
If your dog has hip dysplasia, then sticking to just one treatment option may not be as beneficial. To increase your odds in terms of your dog’s longevity, you can always venture into different options. Implementing holistic solutions, under the guise of the veterinarian can also be entirely helpful for pain relief.
Natural treatments are often times more effective because they do not have lasting side effects. Thus, they do not affect the physical condition of a canine. Dogs with hip dysplasia have shown incredible signs of improvements after the integration of natural and holistic methods.
Massaging your dog can be instrumental for their inflamed joint. Dogs with hip dysplasia usually suffer from stiffness and pain in the hip joint. Regularly massaging the specific area enables blood flow to the joint.
This is important for the recovery process because the tightening of a joint can cause damage overtime and for without the proper blood flow to the specific area, the dog is not able to self-heal.
Acupuncture is another method of alternative medicine that can help a dog with joint pain. It is very different to western conventional medicine or therapies. Similar to a massage, acupuncture focuses on externally alleviating the pressure points.
However, instead of applying pressure by hand, acupuncture, as the name suggests, uses small needles to puncture into the specific points on a dog’s body. This in turn causes the dog’s body to create an anti-inflammatory response, which can help with pain.
Supplementation means that you are providing you canine with the essential micronutrients that contribute to their joint health. A vet will often prescribe dogs with hip dysplasia with natural supplements such as fish oil, chrondointin, probiotics and others.
One of the most effective supplements that you can give your dog is a green-lipped mussel. Another popular holistic supplement takes shape in the form of turmeric. Turmeric is a wondrous supplement, that has applications far wide and ranging, including joint pain.
Getting a good quality orthopedic bed for your dog can also count as an alternative treatment. For a dog with hip dysplasia, you want to make sure that you keep their hip form touching the hard floor.
Orthopedic beds allow the dog’s weight to sink into the bed, resulting in the distribution of pressure when they are laying or sitting down. This provides the dog a pain free sleep and quick recovery.
Helping Your Dog Live with Hip Dysplasia
After your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, one of the options is surgery. However, in some cases, surgery is not the most viable option because your dog may not be in the condition for an invasive surgical procedure.
In this instance, you have to accept that your dog will have hip dysplasia throughout its life. However, you can still help your dog live with the condition, and have mobility, less pain and good quality of life.
One of the most essential things that you can do is keep your dog’s weight under control. A leaner dog is more likely to withstand hip dysplasia than one that is overweight. To maintain their weight, you need to set a consistent diet plan and combine that with low impact exercises.
Due to the advancements in natural and holistic treatments, you now have plenty of treatment options for your dog with hip dysplasia.
Therefore, dogs suffering from degenerative joint conditions now have a better chance of leading a happier life.