How to Prevent Hip Problems in Dogs
Hip problems in dogs are more common among large breeds such as Great Danes and German Shepherds, but can also appear in smaller dogs such as Cocker Spaniels. While hip problems are often caused by faulty genes, other factors can exacerbate this condition, such as obesity, improper games, and exercise. To ensure that your dog lives a long life free of hip disease, pay close attention to what you feed at mealtime and how you spend your leisure time together.
Have your dog examined for hip problems.By the time a dog is 2 years old, their skeleton usually shows signs of hip disease even if outward symptoms are lacking. If you suspect your dog is at risk of hip problems, visit an orthopedic specialist for an exam.
Keep your dog lean.Obesity puts more stress on hip joints, which increases the risk of dog hip problems. When looking at your dog you should be able to see a faint outline of your dog's ribs and a slight waistline. Help your dog stay slim by basing meal amounts on how much activity your dog gets throughout the day, not necessarily on the recommendations provided on the bag of food. You can also consult with your veterinarian to find the right amount of food for your dog's age, breed and size.
Avoid allowing your dog to jump off furniture, cars and other high places.The impact of hitting the ground places excessive stress on your dog's hip joints. Instead, you can assist your dog by using a ramp or dog harness with a handle. By eliminating this high impact behavior, you are showing your dog better ways to ascend and descend places, which will be especially helpful as your dog slows down because of age-related decline.
Perform hip strengthening exercises.Consult with a certified canine rehabilitation therapist to learn specific exercises that can build stamina and strength in your dog's core muscles, which will better support aging hips. A canine rehabilitation specialist can design a dog hip exercise program just for your dog. In addition, simple exercises such as sit-ups and sit-downs can be done at home to help strengthen dog hips.
Add traction to your home's floors.Slippery floors are a sliding and tripping hazard to the aging dog and place strain on the hips each time your dog must sit down, get up or walk around without traction. If your home has slippery floors you can make your dog's life easier by adding carpet runners and throw rugs in places where your dog spends the most amount of time.
Avoid the "weekend warrior" syndrome.A dog who only exercises once a week is at greater risk of dog hip problems than a dog who exercises several times a week. Explosive running and chasing does not provide the same kind of quality exercise that at-home strengthening and swimming in a warm pool offers. Instead of spending one long Saturday afternoon wearing out your dog at the dog park, break up your activity time into small daily sessions. When it comes to strengthening dog hips, it's not about quantity of time that you exercise together but the quality of exercises you perform together.
QuestionI have a 3-year-old chocolate lab. As a puppy, she played with our other dog jumping on and off an out door trampoline. She has hip dysplasia. Could that have caused it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHer hip dysplasia is most likely a genetic condition. Many large breeds are prone to it.Thanks!
QuestionIs there anything I can give my lab to help prevent hip problems?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust take them to the vet to get shots, but they're probably eventually going to get them from old age.Thanks!
QuestionI have a female German shepherd which is 9 weeks old and she loves jumping, running and biting and she eats a lot. Many people are telling me that she has became fat. Can this cause hip problems?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOverweight dogs can suffer many health problems, I suggest you talk to the vet and if she is overweight and take care of it as soon as possible.Thanks!
Video: What is Hip Dysplasia?
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