How To Treat Hip Dysplasia In Dogs Without Surgery

How To Treat Hip Dysplasia In Dogs Without Surgery

If your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, surgery is the only way to cure your dog of the disease. Some dogs are not good candidates for surgery while other pet parents don’t wish to pursue surgical intervention. So, I get a lot of questions about how to treat a dog for hip dysplasia without surgery. While you cannot cure your dog of hip dysplasia without surgery, there are things you can do to help your dog have less pain, better mobility and better quality of life even if they have been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and you don’t pursue surgery. Here are the most important things to do:

Keep Their Weight Down

One of the most important things you can do is make sure that your dog is lean. They have a lot of studies out there that show that dogs with hip dysplasia, dogs that have arthritis, have a lot less pain associated with the disease if they are thin. How do you know if your dog is thin? The easiest thing is the hand test. I talk about this all the time with my clients. You want to feel your dog’s ribs, which are located right behind your dog’s front legs. You run your fingers along them and they should feel like a washboard. They should feel like the back of your hand. If the ribs feel like the palm of your hand, your dog is too heavy and you need to talk with your veterinarian about helping your dog lose weight. If the ribs are sticking out or they feel more like your knuckles, then your dog is too thin and you need to talk to your veterinarian about how to appropriately feed your dog.

Check out my video about canine weight management for more info.


Give Them Low-Impact Exercise Options

The second most important thing is low-impact exercise. My physical therapist says “motion is lotion.” The more you can get your dog out moving around, the more you'll increase synovial cell fluid, which is joint fluid. That will help the joint fluid to circulate and keep the muscles strong. The muscles are the framework that supports the joints so it's so important to help your dog stay strong. That will also keep the metabolism up which will help the dog not get too heavy. Low impact exercise, such as walking, especially on soft uneven surfaces, like grass or trails, swimming is a fantastic exercise or walking underwater on a treadmill with a canine rehabilitation specialist. These are all great exercises to treat hip dysplasia.


Control Their Pain Levels

It's also important for your dog's quality of life and mobility that you make sure your dog’s pain is controlled with appropriate pain medication. Either traditional western style drugs or any myriad of alternative therapies that are out there.


Provide Proper Sleep Support

Another thing that's really important is making sure that those joints are cushioned and that your dog has a supportive sleeping surface to sleep on. If your dog is achy, or if you are achy, you know how you feel after you have slept on a really bad hotel mattress or after you have slept on a pullout couch— you know how you feel when you wake up in the morning. Your dog feels the same way. You want to make sure they are sleeping on something that is thick and cushioning and keeping those joints up off the floor. Investing in a quality bed is a great way to help your dog with hip dysplasia. 


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