What Should I Do If My Dog Has Hip Dysplasia But I Can't Afford Surgery?
Surgery to correct hip dysplasia can be a big investment of money in your pet’s health. Depending on the age of your dog, surgery to correct the problem can range anywhere from $1000 to $5000 per joint. So understandably, some people can’t afford treatment. I get a lot of questions about how to help pets who have hip dysplasia when the pet parent cannot afford surgery. Luckily, there are things you can do:
Keep Your Pet Thin
Studies show that pets that are lean, at an appropriate body weight, have much fewer problems with arthritis, pain from arthritis, and they have a lower need for being on anti-inflammatory medication for pain. So you want to make sure that your dog is at an appropriate weight for his or her frame. How do you know? Well the easiest way I have found to show clients, to show you how your pet is at an appropriate weight, is the hand test, so you take your hand and you feel, you take your hands and you feel your dog’s ribs right behind their front legs, you should feel them. They should feel like the back of your hand, like a washboard. If they feel like the palm, the pet is too fat. If they feel like the knuckles, your pet is too thin. You want it to feel like the back of your hand. If you’re noticing it’s feeling like your knuckles or your palm, talk with your veterinarian about getting your pet at an appropriate weight.
Check out Dr. Sarah's interview about canine weight management for more information.
Low Impact Exercise
Exercises like swimming, walking on dirt, trails or grass, walking underwater on a treadmill are all great. These kinds of low-impact exercises keep those joints moving around and, as my physical therapist always says, “Sarah, Dr. Wooten, motion is lotion!” So you want to get out there and you want to get walking it’s good for your pet and it’s good for you.
Manage Your Dog's Pain
Another important thing is to make sure that pain is controlled with either prescription pain medication or alternative supplements that are out there, such as glucosamine chondroitin or fish oil. There has also been a lot of excitement about CBD oil as being an alternative way to help. It’s a supplement that can help promote joint health, but there are lots of different things available, so talk with your veterinarian about what is right for your dog.
A Supportive Bed
Lastly, if you want to invest in your pet’s comfort and quality of life, then make sure that they have an excellent mattress to sleep on. An orthopedic, supportive, sleeping mattress. It's just as important for your dog’s aching joints as it is for you. I know I sleep on a memory foam mattress and it makes a world of difference to me when it comes to how I wake up in the morning and how I move about my day. The same thing goes for your dog so make sure to invest in a supportive sleeping surface for your pet.
Learn more about how Big Barker beds help dogs with hip dysplasia.
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