7 Tips for Handling Your Dog’s Hips for a Long Healthy Life

Healthy hips are an integral part of helping your dog maintain a long, active and happy lifestyle throughout his later years.

Our pets are subject to the same conditions we are when it comes to aging, including arthritis and injury, which is why it’s important to take good care of this part of the body, even when they’re young.

Body Massage

Humans aren’t the only ones who can enjoy a good massage. Dogs can certainly benefit from this relaxing experience too; and performing regular massages on their hips can help keep them in great shape. Older, arthritic dogs especially can benefit from the extra blood flow to the muscles garnered by a good massage. There are certified canine massage therapists throughout the country or you can learn to do it at home.

Ramps and Gates

One of the worst adversaries of a dog’s hips are endless staircases around the house. You can’t exactly cut off the top floor if you live in a multi-level home, but you can make things safer by blocking off your dog’s access to certain areas. Place gates at the bottom of the steps leading upstairs and consider placing a ramp on any steps off the front porch to help him get around with less strain on his legs.

Warm the House

Cold weather can wreak havoc on a dog’s hips and other muscles in the body, so be sure to keep your home at a warm temperature throughout the chilly months. It’s especially important to keep his bedding area warm at night as that’s when the cold can really dig in deep inside his body. Use a heated pad or place his bed next to a heater to help him out.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is one of the most effective ways of combatting failing hips. Not only can you reduce stress on the joints by helping your dog maintain a healthy weight, but you can also help strengthen his hips by providing proper nutrition. Check the labels and ensure you’re feeding your pup a diet that’s high in easily digestible carbs and protein along with other necessary nutrients. Avoid the cheap stuff whenever possible.

dog hips

istockphoto/Goxy89

Supplement

If you don’t think your dog’s food is providing enough nutrition to promote healthy hips, have a chat with your veterinarian about adding supplements to his diet. There are numerous chews and treats available that give your dog the necessary nutrients to maintain healthy bones and joints so your dog can run with the best of them well into his elder years.

Exercise

Exercise is essential to maintaining healthy hips; if you don’t use them they’ll eventually begin to atrophy like any other part of the body. When your dog is young, consult with your veterinarian to make sure he’s getting the proper amount of exercise. Keep your dog from jumping so high that he might injure himself, and never push him further than his body can go.

If your dog is already suffering from hip problems like dysplasia, then you have to be exceptionally careful when it comes to playtime. Limit your dog’s activity to shorter walks and try to keep all of his feet on the ground. Swimming is a fantastic alternative for dogs who already have hip issues.

Safeguard Your House

If you live in a home with wood floors it might be a good idea to invest in carpeting or rugs. Slick floors are a big threat when it comes to hyperactive pets as they can easily slip and injure their hips and other body parts. Cover up slippery areas to the best of your ability and avoid playing in the house if there’s a risk of falling.

Meet the Author: Ben Kerns

Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible. This stuff gets expensive.

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