I have my own tale of my dog's hip dysplasia, natural remedies, and years of extra love.
The hip pain in my dog was starting to get bad. I could see it little by little, especially as the winter began to set in. After a good nap, she would start to sit up, and I could see her pulling and arching to get her hind end working. And those first couple limping steps broke my heart.
Dolly was a big dog, a German shepherd mix, and I knew they were prone to hip dysplasia, but she was only nine, far too young... and there were squirrels to chase.
That's when I started to look for alternatives.
Hip Dysplasia vs. Arthritis
Large dogs tend towards hip dysplasia, a common condition where the hip's ball and socket joint does not fit together correctly. It can cause the bones to rub and grind against each other, causing deterioration over time.
Your dog can make it worse for themselves by laying on their hip, especially if they favor laying on one side over the other.
Hip dysplasia can manifest into arthritis, which is degeneration of the joint. It's often painful and can be debilitating. Hip dysplasia will only happen in the hips, but arthritis can occur throughout the whole body.
Many times, as your dog gets up and moves around, they will start to feel better as the joint becomes more lubricated. But, that should not be mistaken for them feeling better as pain may persist. This is where more people start to look for arthritis and hip dysplasia natural remedies.
Of the various home treatments you can try, many help you bond with your dog and make them feel better. Of course, some are easier to work with than others.
Most dogs love to be touched, and a massage is a beautiful way to help keep the blood flowing in the joint and work out the stiffness. Dozens of YouTube videos can show you how to massage a dog properly, but if you want to get started right away, just be gentle. Manipulate the muscles and help them stretch out.
You can do this several times a day, practically anytime you want to. If you are going to look into this as a proper therapy for your pet, you will want to search out a massage therapist trained in animal massage and take the appropriate class.
The cold is hard on joints, ask anyone who has arthritis themselves. Heat is a great way to help loosen up muscles and keep blood flowing into your dog's joints. There are multiple different ways you can provide consistent and safe heat for your dog.
You could use hot water bottles or heated towels to place on your pet's body. Because these tend to be loose materials, you need to stay with your pet, so they don't hurt themselves.
The second passive method deals with heating pads. Never use a regular, therapeutic heating pad for your dog. They get too hot and cause burns.
The first type of safe heating pad is a reflective pad made of a material that reflects body heat, so it will never become warmer than your dog is. It's good for placing in crates or on the floor for your dog to lay on. Secondly, are specific heating pads designed to produce heat for your pet. Generally, these pads rarely go above 90° in temperature, providing gentle warmth. And because they are designed for pets, the materials are tougher to avoid tearing.
Some vets may recommend physical therapy, which often occurs at the vet's office. Many of these techniques involve manipulating the joints, swimming pool therapy, or specifically designed treadmills. Your vet may also give you specific exercises to do at home, so be sure to follow the recommendation in this case.
Herbs & Oils
Herbs and oils are the oldest types of medicines and work exceptionally well for your pets. You want to make sure the formulation you get is specifically designed for pets and at a concentration appropriate for their species and weight. Also, make sure you do independent research to verify that any recommendation you read is safe for your pet. For example, cats can be poisoned rapidly, sometimes from the first dose, from essential oils (they lack a critical enzyme to eliminate it). And dogs are fatally allergic to xylitol- (Read Blog "Sugar Weakens Your Immune System, But These Three Things Boost Immunity).
One of the best supplements for joint pain in both people and dogs is MSM. Comprised of highly bioavailable sulfur, this supplement helps the body repair itself. In the joints, specific proteins help cushion the cartilage and reduce pain, and the primary component of this protein is sulfur.
MSM partners well with glucosamine and chondroitin, which both focus on helping to restore joints. All three of these supplements are safe for long-term use and are well-studied to help reduce joint pain.
Turmeric is also a popular supplement, as many studies show it's an excellent anti-inflammatory for dogs. Combining turmeric, with the active ingredient of curcumin, with omega-3 fatty acids can help lubricate the joints and reduce the inflammation. It can also help reduce memory problems in older dogs.
Many people are also using CBD oil to help relieve pain. We agree that this does work and can help your pet be healthier and more active (quality supplements also contain a fair amount of sulfur). The biggest problem at the moment is consistency and quality. The market has been flooded with many different types of oils that may not have proper testing. Be sure to stick with the oils that only contain CBD and not the THC, as it can be fatal to your beloved pet.
The MSM and turmeric made a considerable difference in my Dolly. Within a month, she was running around again. And those squirrels are no longer eating my birdseed.
Some of these techniques you can start early on your pets help prolong their healthy and active years.
And, even if your pet has begun to experience some pain, getting started can help reduce the pain, and in some cases, even reverse it. MSM is one of the ones we recommend to get started early for both people and pets to help avoid problems.