CANINE HIP DYSPLASIA - Natural protection plan for improved joint health
The best precautionary step is proper research into the medical history of the proposed puppy's parents - ensuring there is not a history of hip dysplasia. Making sure the mother received proper nutrition throughout the whelping process would then follow this.
Most of us don't have that luxury. Our dogs come from rescue centers or other sources where the history may not be known. In light of this we offer the following guidance . . .
|Step 1: Early Detection - the sooner you catch it the better|
Undiagnosed CHD can lead to further complications of arthritis and joint pain. Since CHD usually takes months or even years to manifest outward symptoms, the best preventative measure is early diagnosis. Your veterinarian can often detect the "wobbly" joint with a simple physical exam. Sometimes X-rays are necessary.
Since most cases of CHD develop in puppyhood, it is never too soon to ask your vet to check. The sooner you start the other steps of the plan (supplementation, diet and exercise) the less damage the joints will receive.
|Step 2: Essential Supplements - support joint development|
Many nutritional advancements have been made in the way we address joint health. Supplements that have been used successfully to reduce joint pain and discomfort are now being recognized for their preventive and protective qualities. Furthermore, many experts now believe that CHD may be largely preventable. Since the rise in incidences of CHD coincides with the increase in use of commercial dog foods, the evidence points to nutritional deficiencies.
Nupro Joint Support - All of the great stuff in the original blend with the added benefit of key ingredients shown to support joint health and rejuvenation. Glucosamine complex to protect and regenerate cartilage as well as reduce joint pain and inflammation. MSM, also an anti-inflammatory, stimulates the growth and repair of cartilage, tendons and other connective tissue. Ester C boosts the effectiveness of Glucosamine and MSM while providing extra support to the immune system. Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to hip dysplasia and other arthritis-like conditions.
Your dog can further benefit form the long chain fatty acids, specifically n-3s, found in the highest concentrations in fish oils. Fish oil is a great, all-round supplement for any dog, but it has significant importance to joint health. n-3 fatty acids reduce the expression of cartilage degrading enzymes while suppressing the production of inflammatory mediators, providing protection to the cartilage.
Nutri-Vet Wild Salmon Oil comes from 100% wild salmon, not farmed sources. Wild salmon has higher levels of beneficial omega-3 and lower levels of saturated fats. In addition, farmed salmon have been found to contain significantly higher concentrations of PCBs, dioxin and other cancer causing contaminants than salmon caught in the wild.
|Step 3: Diet - what your dog eats can make a big difference|
A healthy lifestyle, which includes proper exercise and diet, can help prevent a host of diseases like diabetes, hypothyroidism, cancer and arthritis. For dogs suffering from the pain of CHD or arthritis, weight management takes on a new importance.
Obesity causes excessive pressure and forces to be put on the improperly formed hips, exacerbating the pain and accelerating the condition. In short, the more weight your dog's joints have to bear the more pain they will experience. The greater the load on the joints, the greater the chances of further damage and deterioration of the cartilage - and eventually the joints themselves. It is tempting to over feed our canine friends and indulge them with treats and table scraps, but remember the consequences.
Besides the amount of food we feed our dogs, what we feed them is also important. Most experts recommend an all natural, high quality diet that contains some raw foods. Among the benefits of adding raw foods is the addition of natural vitamin C to the diet. Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to hip dysplasia and other arthritis-like conditions.
It is important to note that ingredients like wheat, corn and soy (present in large amounts in dry dog food) tend to increase inflammation.
Providing balanced home-prepared cooked or raw meals is an excellent choice, but it is not practical for everyone. So what can you do? Here are some suggestions:
- When you must feed dry food, make sure it is high quality and does not contain added preservatives or colorings.
- Reduce the amount of dry food by adding a high quality canned food. Canned foods tend to have higher meat content and lower grain content. Look for brands that met this requirement.
- Add a cup of raw fruits and vegetables to your dog's diet each day. The enzymes in raw foods help ensure the joints get sufficient nourishment and they can be a natural source of vitamin C. Additionally, some fruits and veggies like cherries, spinach and broccoli have anti-inflammatory properties. Use a food processor to finely chop carrots, cucumber, lettuce, apple, celery or whatever you have on hand. Combine with some canned dog food to make the mixture more palatable. Avoid avocados, onions, mushrooms tomatoes and grapes since they can be toxic to your dog.
|Step 4: Exercise - start when they are young and make it a habit|
Adequate exercise is important for your dog in all stages of life. It promotes good health and reduces behavioral issues. For a dog or puppy diagnosed with CHD, exercise should be a part of an overall lifestyle that supports improved health and longevity, with an aim toward preventing the outward symptoms. However, moderation is the key.
As it relates to joint health, exercise is helpful in the following ways:
A healthy dog needs about 1 hour of exercise per day (more for active breeds). If your dog is not showing any signs of joint pain, this goal may be possible. However the type of exercise is important. In general, activities that put undue stress on the hip area should be avoided. This would include full out running, jumping or general rough housing.
- Improves metabolism and burns excess calories, helping maintain a proper weight.
- Helps stabilize joints by strengthening surrounding muscles.
- Improves physical functioning and stamina while enhancing emotional well-being.
- Improves circulation.
Appropriate exercises include:
Over exercising will usually not show its toll until the next morning, so start with a short exercise period and slowly increase the time over several weeks. If exercise causes a flare up in pain, cease the activity for a few days until the flare up subsides. Then resume the exercise, but start slowly.
- Free romps - for a puppy, free romps around the yard or other enclosed, protected space is the most appropriate. That way they are able to vary their pace, stop when tired, etc.
- The old stand by - walk. Walking as opposed to running is more appropriate for a dog with CHD. Remember, wherever you walk - you still have to walk back. Start with very short trips to ensure your dog doesn't tire out too far from home. For dogs under one year old be sure to vary the pace and encourage a "smell the flowers" type walk. Excessive leash walking can cause repetitive stress injuries to their developing joints and muscles.
- Swimming. Some dogs love it, others don't. Swimming is great exercise for dogs because it involves almost every muscle group required for movement. It has the added benefit of allowing muscle resistance exercise that is non-weight bearing, a plus for dogs with stiff or painful joints. If you don't have access to a swimming pool or a clean, safe body of water, there are facilities called canine hydrotherapy centers that provide year round access just for pets.
Everything you need is in the Essential Hip Dysplasia Kit - vital supplements, information on diet and nutrition along with beneficial exercises and activities to avoid.