• Recognize the signs for hip dysplasia in dogs
      Recognize the signs for hip dysplasia in dogs
      Recognize the signs for hip dysplasia in dogs
      April 01, 2014

      Regardless of the breed, mobility is key for dogs. The ability to run and walk is not only crucial for a dog's exercise, but also his capacity to socialize with other animals and humans. Healthy and well-functioning joints also contribute to a dog's overall quality of life, especially if the home he lives in has multiple flights of stairs between floors.

      Unfortunately, there are a number of orthopedic conditions that can cause complications for a dog's ability to move freely on his own. Hip dysplasia is one of the most common ailments that can make it difficult for a dog to run or even walk around the house. While hip dysplasia is largely a genetically determined condition, owners who ensure that their dogs live a healthy lifestyle may decrease the impact of the disorder.

      Recognize the signs
      Like other orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis, a significant decrease in mobility in dogs may be difficult to diagnose as hip dysplasia. PetMD explained that while it is common for older dogs to experience a drop in flexibility, any puppy that shows signs of trouble walking up stairs or climbing into cars may warrant a closer look. Hip dysplasia is characterized by the hip joints in dogs failing to form properly. This can cause severe pain and discomfort for many animals, so owners should be on the watch for warning signs.

      Common symptoms of hip dysplasia include a reluctance to run or jump, difficulty rising from a sitting or prone position, loss of muscle mass in hind legs and enlargement of the same in the front shoulders as the dog attempts to shift weight from painful areas. Larger breeds such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds are more frequently affected by hip dysplasia.

      Prevent hip dysplasia through healthy living
      The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals outlined the various ways in which owners can alleviate the symptoms of the hip dysplasia in their pets. Severe cases are usually treated with surgery to reset the hip joints and possibly implant artificial equipment if the bones are too malformed. Invasive procedures are usually reserved for younger dogs, as they are more likely to adapt to their new joints successfully.

      For older dogs and those with only moderate cases of hip dysplasia, weight control and regular exercise can help reduce the pain of the condition. A healthy lifestyle can build muscles around the problematic areas to more effectively displace the weight placed on the joints.

      This article is brought to you by the pet behavior experts at Hartz. When it comes to training your dog and cat, our knowledge and experience is guaranteed to make the process easy, smooth and fun!