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.

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