Canine hip dysplasia is a degenerative disease that currently has no true cure. It is often compared to another joint complication, known as osteoarthritis, since both are involved with inflammation, cartilage breakdown, and bone damage.
The interesting characteristic of the disease is that years can pass before anyone even realizes a dog is suffering from it at all. And without any way to completely stop dog hip problems from getting worse, it can, at times, seem like a lost cause.
There are, however, a bunch of key symptoms to pay attention to that can help dog owners catch hip dysplasia. Warning signs include stiffness, intermittent pain, reduced desire to get up, difficulty exercising, and limping. Identifying and treating hip dysplasia in its early as opposed to later stages can dramatically benefit dog health.
Moreover, there are plenty of ways to help manage hip dysplasia in dogs. The main medical options include medicinal drugs and surgery, which might be a must in severe cases. There also exist a number of natural and holistic ways to help reduce the risk of developing canine hip dysplasia.
Despite the best effort of veterinarians, there are some complications that they have yet to fully grasp. Sometimes, helping a dog get better is best done via natural methods that have little to do with hospitals. Because at the end of the day, who knows their dogs better than their very own loving owners?
This is where holistic treatment comes in play. Drawing from nature and a well-rounded understanding of the body, holistic healing adds a natural component to dog care. Treating dogs naturally rarely has a negative effect on dogs and carries tons of potential for improving symptoms of hip problems in dogs.
Weight Management is the First Step
When it comes to hip dysplasia in dogs, preventative measures are the key to success. Providing dogs with sound nutrition as well as consistent opportunities for safe exercise are the most natural ways to do this. As an added bonus, healthy eating and exercising can help minimize deterioration of joints and other symptoms of hip dysplasia.
Body weight is calculated according to how many calories a dog consumes along with its metabolism. What a dog eats directly affects both. Many, if not all, dogs can benefit from a diet suited specifically to their individual needs.
As omnivores, dogs need a healthy balance in what they eat. A good rule of thumb to stick to when feeding dogs is a meat based fresh food diet. Using a variety of raw meats is even better in certain scenarios.
Overweight dogs, without realizing it, are carrying more pounds than their body is meant to support. Cutting back on carbohydrates, grains, and fillers of all kinds is a neat trick to help reduce unwanted weight gain. Dogs generally do not need too many carbs in their diet, and the amount they require is usually present in more than enough quantities in other foods.
A high fat content is one of the main dangers to watch out for when feeding dogs. Fat buildup is not only bad for the heart, but also triggers obesity, which is a major risk factor of hip dysplasia in dogs.
Some types of fat, sugars, and dairy as well as foods in the nightshade family, like potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, can exacerbate inflammation and even harm joint function. Such foods should be avoided by dogs already diagnosed with hip dysplasia and dogs generally susceptible to joint problems.
On the flip side, certain foods can help reduce inflammation and hip pain in dogs. Most vibrant colored fruits and vegetables are chock full of antioxidants that combat inflammatory damage near the joints and potentially even protect cartilage from oxidative stress. They also contain nutrients and vitamins meant to boost overall health.
Examples of fruit and veggie combos are blueberries plus kale, oranges with carrots, or any combination of apples, bananas, strawberries, cucumbers, and celery. Topping off a meat plate with produce is an easy way to get dogs to consume goods they otherwise might run away from. It is also good to check trustworthy sources to confirm what fruits and vegetables a dog can eat since certain foods can be toxic for them.
Exercise and Physical Therapy May Support Joint Health
Exercise needs to be performed correctly by dogs with hip dysplasia. For starters, it is the ideal way to drop pounds and reduce daily joint stress. A lighter load to carry generally leads to less joint pain and less cartilage breakdown.
Regular exercise can also help fortify muscle tone. The stronger muscles around joints are, the more easily joints are able to function. Beginning slowly may be the best way to go, when it comes to exercising with hip problems in dogs.
Passive range of motion exercises and brief, slow walks are great starting points. Jumping and sprinting ask for high intensity movements that could do more harm than good to joints. Soft surfaces with enough grip for paws are strongly recommended.
Proper physical therapy is critical for dogs with hip problems. Guided stretching and strengthening exercises, underwater treadmills, and even something as simple as sleeping on orthopedic beds can benefit a dog’s joints. Gentle massages before going about the day’s activities and after exercises can be very effective at relieving joint pain and stiffness. Although somewhat rare, cold laser and electromagnetic stimulation might also help in some cases.
Homeopathic Supplements May Promote Healthy Joints
Homeopathic treatment is light and intended to support dog health rather than singularly cure diseases. In many cases, nutritional supplements have the greatest effect on dogs who primarily eat dry dog food, which alone does not provide for all of a dog’s nutritional needs.
For canine hip dysplasia, ideal homeopathic supplements tend to either fight against inflammation and cartilage deterioration or improve muscle and joint strength. Various organic supplements include glucosamine sulfate, boswellia, curcumin, and turmeric. In their own way, each of these wields ingredients that promote bone and joint health.
Bone broth has been featured as excellent for bone health. It is prepared by boiling bones with cartilage in just enough water to cover them for about 24 hours and then removing them. The remaining liquid should have a jelly-like consistency when cold.
Adding a splash of an acid, like vinegar or lemon juice, to the broth while cooking helps draw out the nutritional content in bones. Supposedly, bone broth holds tons of glycosaminoglycans that stimulate cells, called fibroblasts, from fortifying bones and joints with collagen. It is also believed to supply a lot of glycine, which could facilitate detoxification.
There are other commercially available supplements able to similarly benefit bone and joint health. Hyaluronic supplements, like Trixsyn, trace minerals, like Trace Animinerals, and vitamins, like Nutriflex, may help reduce symptoms of hip dysplasia. Antiox, a grape seed extract, may protect against chemical damage (oxidative stress) around joints.
Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care May Stimulate Self Healing
Acupuncture and chiropractic care are natural methods that can improve joint health. They seek to enhance the body’s natural healing ability by stimulating cells and nerves. When performed correctly, they promote a general sense of well-being that may also ease away pain and discomfort felt by dogs.
For dogs with hip dysplasia, acupuncture centers on stimulating bone and joints, as well as their surrounding blood vessels and nerves. Extreme care should always be taken with acupuncture, as improper technique can accidentally cause secondary problems.