What can you do for a dog with hip problems?
Dog’s hip joints are under a lot of pressure, particularly when playing, running, jumping or walking. They carry most of the dog’s upper body weight when they make sudden moves or launch themselves into motion.
When the ball and socket of the hip aren’t properly aligned or don’t grow in equal amounts, the joint tends to wear prematurely, leading to pain and difficulty with walking.
In this article, we will talk you through the most common hip problems in dogs and help you identify symptoms on time.
Dogs with hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a disease that causes malformation in the hip joint and it usually happens when a ball or socket grows slower or faster than its counterpart. It leads to various issues such as lameness, pain, damage of the ligaments and inability to walk.
Some breeds are more prone to hip dysplasia than others. For example, Golden Retrievers and Labradors should be tested to prevent this condition in puppies. Even though there is no cure for hip dysplasia, there are procedures veterinarians use as well as some things you can do at home to make your pet’s life comfortable and pain-free.
Limping and hip pain can be caused by osteoarthritis. This is a progressive inflammatory condition that causes loss of articular cartilage and swelling in the joint, leading to reduced mobility and pain. It often affects large-breed dogs.
Most of the time, osteoarthritis in canines happens as a secondary condition to elbow and hip dysplasia. Some signs include decreased willingness to play or exercise, lameness, stiffness and change in posture. You can help your dog manage pain and improve mobility by giving them medications, supplements, changing their diet and introducing new exercises.
Hip dislocation can happen due to an injury or severe hip dysplasia. If your dog’s hip gets dislocated due to trauma, maybe they were hit by a car; in that case, the injury can be treated without surgery. But if a hip dislocation happens due to hip dysplasia, surgery is needed right away.
Hip dislocation in canines can be extremely painful and you will notice that your dog isn’t able to bear weight on their back legs. The affected leg might appear shorter, while the joint might look swollen and warm to touch.
Legg Calve Perthes Disease
Legg Calve Perthes disease affects the head of the femur, the top of the leg bone and causes spontaneous degeneration. We still don’t know what causes this condition and it’s mostly seen in small breeds, such as West Highland White Terriers and Miniature Poodles.
Some studies indicated that disrupted blood flow to the hip might cause this condition, which may be due to clots in blood vessels. Over time the bone starts to weaken and deteriorate, causing small fractures to appear. It only affects one hip joint and surgery is the only available treatment.
Osteochondrosis causes abnormal cartilage growth and it mostly affects young and rapidly growing large and giant breeds such as Great Danes, Rottweilers and Labradors, to name a few. The cartilage doesn’t convert into bone, instead, this thickened cartilage becomes weak and loose.
Scientists consider that the main cause of this condition is genetics and the first signs start to appear under the age of one. The key signals are stiffness and lameness, while examination may reveal swollen and painful joints. A CT scan is required for a more accurate diagnosis.
How to manage hip problems in dogs
Almost any hip condition is painful and can result in the inability of your pet to adequately use its limbs, which further leads to discomfort. Even though it can happen at any age, it is especially heartbreaking when it occurs in a young dog or a puppy.
It would be a good idea to research a dog and a breeder to ensure you aren’t getting a dog that could develop some kind of hip condition. Keep your dog’s weight under control to minimise hip disorders and provide your pet with a healthy diet and moderate exercise.
These supplements are one of the best ways to prevent hip and joint disorders. When buying such products, you need to be familiar with active ingredients that will actually help your pet. We suggest paying attention to the following:
Glucosamine for dogs
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound that can help stimulate cartilage growth, thicken synovial fluid, slow down the progress of arthritis and boost the mechanical function of joints. Overall, glucosamine should reduce discomfort and pain in your dog.
One of the reasons why these supplements are so popular is because they can help your dog resume normal activity levels and deal with chronic pain. According to research, glucosamine can have amazing benefits for your pet’s joint health. It lubricates joints, enables less painful movement, minimises inflammation and can prevent many joint diseases.
Glucosamine could be an essential component for all pet parents who want to help their dog alleviate the pain and reduce discomfort linked to canine arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Chondroitin for dogs
Chondroitin is another naturally occurring compound and an important structural component that gives cartilage its elasticity. By giving your dog supplements packed with chondroitin, you are helping them manage pain and aches. Chondroitin has anti-inflammatory properties and blocks destructive enzymes that break down cartilage in your pet’s joints.
In some way, chondroitin holds back the destructive elements while glucosamine does the repair. And since these supplements work in different ways, they are usually paired together.
When considering a dog joint supplement, make sure to get one that contains large amounts of MSM, a natural anti-inflammatory. Minimising inflammation in your pet’s joints can help your dog have a pain-free life.
MSM helps restore biological sulphur to the body to improve organ function, tissue and cells. It can boost the immune system and alleviate chronic pain in joints and muscles by blocking pain impulses. MSM could be a great preventive supplement and can contribute to your pet’s overall health and longevity.
Why does your pet need supplements for dog arthritis?
Arthritis is one of the most common diseases affecting canines, which occurs when cartilage in joints gradually starts to wear off due to the ageing process or some other orthopaedic disease. Supplements are great because they could slow down the progress of arthritis and help maintain pain-free mobility.
Supplements for dog arthritis can help with: lameness and limping, stiffness, joint swelling, loss of muscle mass, inability to jump, pain and other symptoms.
Home treatments for dog hip problems
Aside from supplements, several home treatments can help your dog live a long and healthy life. You should talk to your vet about the actions you can take at home. Some of them include the following:
Applying a warm bottle to a sore spot for 15 minutes a day.
Massaging the muscles around hip joints. You could rub muscles in a circular motion with your fingertips for 10 minutes. Pay attention to your dog’s response; stop immediately if you notice they seem irritated.
Don’t take your dog out when the weather is chilly and damp.
Get some carpets. Dogs with hip dysplasia have difficulty walking, especially on slippery floors. Therefore, if they need to climb stairs or move around the house, a carpet will make this a lot easier.
Make sure your pet has a firm, orthopaedic pet.
You could talk to your vet about a good exercise program. Moderate running and walking can help your dog strengthen muscles around joints. For example, you could try a 20-minute walk each day, but make sure your dog sets the pace.
Avoid jumping and running, particularly for long distances. Consider letting your dog swim. Swimming could be an excellent exercise and improve muscle function around joints.
Manage your pet’s diet because weight can play a significant role in the tear and wear of their hip joints. The additional weight adds stress to hip joints so make sure your pet is on a healthy diet, especially if you parent a giant breed.
Are some breeds more prone to hip problems?
According to some studies, some breeds are more prone to hip problems than others. For instance, breeds at risk of rupturing a ligament are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers. Hip and elbow dysplasia affects Bernese Mountain Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Saint Bernards and Great Danes, to name a few.
Hip problems are common in dogs of all ages. But with the help of hip and joint supplements, you can manage pain and slow down the progress of the disease. It could be a good idea to give your dog supplements as a preventive treatment against joint conditions.