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One of the most common causes of canine hip pain is Hip Dysplasia, an inherited condition where the hip joint is improperly formed. This allows the hip joint to sit loosely in the socket, and as the dog’s leg bone shifts around it causes painful wear and tear on the joint.
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disease that can occur at any age. Although, commonly found in large breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Great Danes or Saint Bernard’s, hip dysplasia affects small breeds as well. Luckily, it is easy to treat and manage, if you know what signs to look for.
Signs of Hip Dysplasia
Hip pain from dysplasia will impact the way a dog walks first. Pet parents should look for a change in their gait, which may appear awkward or favors one side over the other. Other signs of hip pain in dogs include the following:
Stiffness or soreness in the hips
Hesitancy to exercise
Difficulty standing for extended periods
Pain and discomfort
Favoring one leg over the other
Inability to climb stairs
Limping or “bunny hopping”
In young dogs, Dr. Jonathan Roberts, BVSC recommends that “if a pet parent suspects hip dysplasia in their puppy, the only way to diagnose and monitor the disease is through x-rays. In large and giant breed dogs, x-rays can be taken as early as 4 months old and repeated every few months to monitor growth of the hip joints. If you are concerned, rather have x-rays done early as there are highly successful surgeries that can be performed but need to be performed before your puppy reaches a certain age.”
4 Ways to Ease Canine Hip Pain
1. Joint Health:
Improve your pet’s overall joint health by adding a daily supplement with Glucosamine and chondroitin into your dog’s daily routine. Glucosamine helps to rebuild cartilage and helps to ease the pain caused by arthritis. Chondroitin helps to relieve joint pain and increase overall mobility in the joint.
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can greatly reduce their joint pain. An overweight or obese pet puts more strain on their joints. Maintaining a healthy diet and keeping fit are key to your dog’s overall health.
A low impact exercise like swimming is ideal for dogs suffering from joint pain. Hydrotherapy can deliver excellent results for dogs with hip dysplasia. Swimming increases strength in their rear legs. Allowing your pet to work their muscles, helping them to stay fit without placing any additional stress on their hips.
3. Create a Dog Friendly Space
Make it easy for your dog to navigate around your home. Give them a clear, obstacle free path to move around the house. Traveling across slippery floors can be a challenge for pets with bad hips. Wearing pet boots or traction socks with a non-slip grip will help your dog grip the floor and keep their feet underneath them. Helping them to avoid further injury caused by a slip and fall.
Dogs with weak hips may struggle going up and down the stairs. A simple rear lifting harness allows you to give them the boost the need to get up the stairs.
4. Mobility Support for Dog’s With Bad Hips
Dog Wheelchairs for Hip Pain
Your dog may have trouble keeping their balance or standing for longer periods of time. With the help of a lifting harness you can gently support the center of your dog’s body on days when its needed. If your dog’s hip pain had progressed to the point where they require assistance on a more consistent basis, they may benefit from using a wheelchair.
A Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair will help to support their weight, relieve pressure on the hips, and help to give them back their independence. If your pet is in the early stages of hip dysplasia, a dog wheelchair can be used as a part of their rehabilitation therapy or for short walks when their hip aches. As their hip dysplasia worsens, your pet can slowly transition to using the wheelchair on a regular basis when needed.