Could Your Senior Dog Have Hip Dysplasia?

Although hip dysplasia is often seen as an illness of large breeds, it can affect small breeds as well. Since one of the purposes of the Help ‘Em Up® Harness is to help dogs with hip dysplasia, we wanted to explain this condition so you know what to look for.

What is Hip Dysplasia?
Although the words “hip dysplasia” sound very daunting when your veterinarian speaks them, there are many remedies that can help your dog for years to come. According to the American Kennel Club: “The hip joint functions as a ball and socket. In dogs with hip dysplasia, the ball and socket do not fit or develop properly, rubbing and grinding instead of sliding smoothly. This results in deterioration over time and an eventual loss of function of the joint itself.”.

Hip dysplasia is usually genetic, although diet and environment can play a small part. Too much exercise or too little can be detrimental. Being overweight can put undue stress on joints.

What are the signs of hip dysplasia?
Although some dogs may show signs of hip dysplasia as early as four months, most senior dogs develop it in conjunction with osteoarthritis as they age. The signs of hip dysplasia are similar to those of arthritis.

  • Decreased activity
  • Increased sleeping
  • Difficulty getting in and out of bed
  • Difficulty with stairs
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Lameness in the hind end
  • “Bunny hopping” gait
  • Pain when touched in the hip or pelvis area
  • Atrophy of hind leg muscles

Can you prevent hip dysplasia?
Although hip dysplasia is primarily genetic, there are a few things you can do as a responsible pet owner to hasten the illness.

Diet is important. Many foods for large dogs contain glucosamine supplements for dogs that might be prone to developing arthritis and hip dysplasia down the line. A healthy diet will also prevent obesity which can cause diabetes and elbow dysplasia as well. Stay away from those fatty treats and table scraps.

One study of puppies at-risk for hip dysplasia found that when fed as much as they wanted to eat, two-thirds of the puppies went on to develop hip dysplasia, while only one-third of puppies fed measured meals suffered from hip dysplasia.

How do you treat hip dysplasia?

Although there is no cure for this illness, there are many treatments available depending on how severe the hip dysplasia is. Your vet may recommend weight reduction, exercise restrictions, anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy and joint fluid modifiers in the beginning. There are different surgical options available as the disease progresses.

The Help ‘Em Up® Harness
The beauty of the mobility harness is it provides support both at the dog’s shoulder’s and its hind legs to  reduce stress on a dog’s joints. The harness can be worn for extended periods and is made from sturdy yet comfortable neoprene materials.

If your dog has hip dysplasia don’t lose heart – the Help ‘Em Up® Harness can keep your dog an active part of your lifestyle for years to come.

The Help ‘Em Up® Harness Is Ideal for Managing Mobility Issues

#mobilityharness #dogliftingharnessAs we age, it can get harder to climb up and down the stairs, get up from a chair or bed, and get in and out of cars. Seniors may even need some help temporarily if they are recovering from surgery or have arthritis.

The same holds true for dogs. It is difficult for many aging dogs to get around like they used to which can be both physically and psychologically challenging for them.

That’s why we developed the The Help ‘Em Up® Harness, with a patented hip lift. It is a full body harness that puts a front handle over the shoulder harness and another one over the rear hip-lift so you can gently grab the handles and help your dog get up!  It lifts from the greatest areas of mass under a dog’s torso, so it takes the pressure off a dog’s legs, hips, shoulders and spine.  And, it can help save your back as well.

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Can You Love Your Dog Too Much?

We all love our dogs. Many people even think of them as their “children”. Developing a loving relationship with your dog based on respect is what all responsible dog owners should be doing.

How can you not love your dog? He doesn’t judge you. He is always happy to see you. He doesn’t care what you look like or how much money you have. He/she loves you unconditionally … and doesn’t talk back!

Believe it or not, you can love your dog too much, to the point where it is not good for the dog. Spoiling your dog a little is to be expected … accepting bad behavior is not.

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Six Dog Friendly Holiday Activities

The holidays are a great time of the year to spend some quality time with our loved ones, whether human or furry. Although decorating, feasting and shopping are normal activities for us, they are not dog-friendly. Why not choose some dog friendly holiday activities where everyone can have fun?

Here are six pet friendly and family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy!

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Get Great Dog Photos Over the Holidays

Do you have any great photos of your dog? Dogs can be hard to capture, particularly because they don’t like to keep still.

The holidays are a great time to take photos of your dog, chronicling his growth year after year. Unlike their owners, pets don’t know what we are asking of them – posing for the camera is not something they do every day. It’s hard for dogs to take selfies!

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Is Your Senior Dog Losing His Hearing?

If you are fortune enough to still have your dog in his senior years, he may start to suffer from age-related hearing loss (ARHL). It is very similar to what human’s experience as they age that causes many to get hearing aids. It is very hard to watch when your dog no longer responds to your voice or is aware of the sounds around him. This can also create a very dangerous situation if your dog doesn’t come when called or wanders off.

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Why Puppies Aren’t For Everyone

Who doesn’t love a puppy? They are cute, adorable and full of fun. You can’t help but smile when a puppy is around, complete with adoring eyes that follow you everywhere you go. Their faces are so sweet!

However, puppies are not for everyone. This true story tells the tale of how a puppy can be a disaster if placed in the wrong hands.

My mother-in-law is 84 years old and lives on her own in a senior community in California. She is in relatively good health but has a bad back and mobility issues. Six months ago she lost her beloved labradoodle Hannah and was devastated. As she has had dogs ever since she was a child, she decided she was ready for another dog.

I encouraged her to get a senior dog, one that was already trained. However, she was insistent the dog be a labradoodle. I called animal shelters and rescue groups throughout California and was told these dogs are rarely abandoned because they are “designer dogs”. Instead, she decided to get a puppy who was lovingly delivered to her at 12-weeks-old.

My mother-in-law has brand new white carpeting and a white couch. She was having trouble housebreaking the dog because ”stern” is just not in her personality at this age. Even though she could give us the “stink eye” over the years, the dog did not respond to this type of discipline. It’s now been 4 months and “Lucy” is still pooping all over the house. “What are you going to do?” I ask her. “No worries”, she says. “I’ll just buy new carpeting.”  “I leave the patio door open every night with the light on in hopes she’ll go outside on my patio.”

Does she think there are no burglars? She leaves the lights on – might as well invite the thieves in for a cup of coffee!

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How to Recognize If Your Older Dog Is In Pain

When children are hurt, you can often tell by their screams or the expression on their faces. When dogs are in pain or hurting it can be hard to tell.

If you step on their paw accidentally, they may respond with a loud help. However, it is part of the animal instinct not to show they are hurting as the pack may see it as a sign of weakness.

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Could Your Senior Dog Be Suffering from Hypothyroidism?

If your normally sweet dog suddenly becomes grumpy, aggressive, or begins to snap at you or other dogs, a trip to the vet is definitely in order. Sudden behavioral problems are indicative of many senior dog’s illnesses, one being hypothyroidism.

There are 5 main senior dog illnesses that are prevalent among older dogs that dog owners should be concerned about. These include:

Here we will talk about hypothyroidism.

What is Hypothyroidism?

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the neck that produces the thyroxine hormones. According to WebMD, “hypothyroidism is a clinical condition resulting from a lowered production and release of T4 and T3 hormones by the thyroid gland.”

It is an autoimmune disorder that certain breeds are genetically predisposed to or can be influenced by environmental factors such as: chemicals in medicines, flea and tick products, heartworm drugs and vaccines.

Hypothyroidism is an illness that affects all breeds, but it is more common in golden retrievers, Doberman pinchers, Irish setters, dachshunds, boxers, and cocker spaniels.  It usually happens in middle-aged dogs (ages 4 to 10) of medium to large breeds. Neutered males and spayed females also have a higher risk, but vets aren’t exactly sure why.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

  • Hair loss on trunk, back of legs, ad tail
  • Excessive hair shedding
  • Dull and thin coat
  • Flaky skin or black patches of skin
  • Slower heart rate
  • Toenail and ear infections
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle loss
  • Intolerance to cold

Unfortunately, these symptoms don’t occur until 70 percent of the thyroid is already damaged! And once the thyroid is damaged, it doesn’t regenerate. So, instead of waiting for these symptoms to appear, it’s really important to recognize the early symptoms that may indicate a damaged thyroid

Treatment for hypothyroidism

Your vet will run some routine lab tests including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. Based on the results of these tests, your vet may also run an endocrine panel.

The good news is that once diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be easily and affordably treated and is rarely fatal. Your dog will have to take an oral prescription for his remaining years and will be placed on a daily dose of a synthetic thyroid hormone called thyroxine (levothyroxine). Or, there are many natural therapies that may help before resorting to conventional synthetic thyroid replacement.

At HelpEmUp, we want to give you enough information about your senior dog to make informed decisions.