K9 Magazine's online newsletter had some great tips for puppies or dogs that have arthritis. Since this is a problem that effects so many, I wanted to share this information with you. There is also a video at the end that I really found helpful as well. Please remember that this publication is out of the UK, so some of the facts quoted are from there, but they are similar to the US.
It is quite common for puppies to have genetically acquired hip dysplasia and/or elbow dysplasia. Unfortunately, these are the results of improper breeding, and with the huge amount of puppies being born each year from people that are not dog breeding professionals, you may come across a puppy with these conditions often.
Elbow and hip dysplasia are essentially the same thing, except where the problem occurs, one being in the hip joint and the other being in the elbow joint. In normal dog growth, the femur head is supposed to grow into the joint socket and then be able to rotate freely around as a puppy moves. Dysplasia occurs when the femoral head grows outward and when the bone thickens, there is a gap left in the front. This gap unfortunately causes slight falls in motion, which induces high levels of discomfort and makes a dog’s walking and running unstable.
If your puppy has been diagnosed as having hip or elbow dysplasia, there are a few ways in which you can make his life a lot more comfortable. Below are some pointers to help guide you along:
1. For starters, look to the future and avoid passing this genetic disorder on. This can be accomplished with the simple procedure of neutering your dog.
2. Clinical Nutritionist and A Walk in the Park expert, Marge Chandler says, “Establishing a healthy diet with your dog while it is a growing puppy is the key to decreasing the risk or delaying the onset of osteoarthritis. It’s important that you don’t allow puppies to become overweight or grow too rapidly. To help achieve this feed a complete and balanced diet without giving additional calcium supplements.”
3. Feeding your dog too much food in high amounts of calories may cause him to grow at a faster rate. This can cause the disorder to become highly aggravated. Simply feed your dog a balanced diet and try to avoid inducing growth spurts with too much food and protein.
4. Help cushion your dog’s walking by laying carpet in your house and in as many areas as you can. By adding a layer of softness to hard floors, the pain your dog feels will be diminished significantly.
5. Do not encourage fast pace running or jogging from your dog. Although hitting the great outdoors and taking long strides through nature can be a fun way to bond with your pet, you are only doing him a disservice when the disorder of hip dysplasia is prevalent. His joints can become inflamed and induce pain and irritability