When you have a young dog, hip arthritis is probably the least of your concerns, but when you have older dogs, their hip area may not be the same as it once was. In the United States alone, the overall prevalence of canine hip dysplasia (CHD) was 15.56%, making it one of the most common diseases in elderly dogs. If you have an aging dog, you may want to consider getting a dog hip brace, and this article can help you decide when it’s the right time.
What is a Dog Hip Brace?
A hip brace is a perfect product that can help and support your dog’s hip to provide it with a better quality of life. Such hip support devices can stabilize and warm a dog’s hip articulation, boost muscle activity, reduce pain to avoid atrophy, and increase the bond between the acetabulum and femoral head. A hip support brace is two-sided and is made to be worn over the hips — some will come with a custom-size harness to provide a complete hip support system.
Some dogs may come with anatomically dropped hips, which may result in the upper strap of the knee brace falling backward. To combat this, some custom braces can be outfitted with a connection belt that experts recommend to go along with hip braces. Having these tools and constant use of the brace can help combat a part of the effects of dysplasia.
How Does a Dog Hip Brace Work?
A hip support harness or a hip brace works to stabilize a dog’s hips and provides support to the hip joint. Made from neoprene panels, hip braces are used to snuggly wrap around the hind legs to give bilateral compression around your dog’s leg and joint. Because it also wraps around your dog’s lower back area, it’s a great solution for dogs who wish to walk without joint pain.
Moreover, a hip dysplasia brace is an ideal product for dogs suffering from the early to moderate stages of hip dysplasia, but it’s not realistic to expect results right away. Even with innovative orthopaedic brace technology, healing from hip dysplasia should be a continuing journey. Curing hip dysplasia will need a personalized treatment plan, which will include physical therapy, joint supplements, positive reinforcement, ortho dog brace, and adequate support from a wide range of veterinarians.
Signs that Your Dog Needs an Orthodog Hip Brace
Hip dislocation is a serious condition that will need to be treated quickly — similarly, an injured knee should also be addressed quickly to prevent further damage. Pain from the knee joint, along with stiffness around the back legs and the hips may result in physical changes in the way they move. When in pain, doing simple activities such as standing up after taking a nap or walking can put a lot of weight on your dog’s hind and front legs.
If your dog is suffering from a knee mobility issue, it will likely move slower and may have an impact on your pup’s activity level. Some symptoms that point to joint pain in canines include the following:
- Decreased activity levels or slowing down
- Limited motion around the hind legs
- Struggling to stand up if it’s been lying down for a while
- Reluctance to jump on furniture or climb the stairs
- Stiffness around the legs
- Showing pain while moving around
- Noticeably weaker hind legs
- Limping of the hind legs
- Muscle atrophy (loss of muscle mass), especially around the thighs
Selecting the Right Hip Brace for Your Dog
When you want to choose the best hip brace for your pooch, you first need to understand the diagnosis it was given. Be sure to talk to a rehab specialist or a vet to discuss the right treatment for your pet — you’ll also need to do long research on how you can help your dog combat this debilitating condition. There are two kinds of hip support products available; custom hip braces and a support system made from neoprene.
The latter option is the best option for dogs struggling with early-stage to moderate hip dysplasia, where pets are still active but may be starting to slow down. Apart from getting a new brace, hydrotherapy, structured exercises, and physical activity are often used for treatment. They provide an affordable option that can be bought off the shelf and may come with fast and free shipping to ensure that your dog quickly gets the help it needs.
Custom order braces are hand-fabricated using the casted mold from your dog’s hind legs. Every brace is made specifically for your dog, and should perfectly fit its hip but will be made on a case basis and it can take a few weeks to make. To get the best results, additional adjustments need to be made after getting your dog knee brace — they will also be more suitable for correcting rigid disks to give optimal support.
When You Shouldn’t Use a Hip Brace
Unfortunately, dogs that can’t walk or stand without assistance won’t be able to benefit from any kind of hip support, such as a Walkin’ Hip-Eez. When a dog reaches this form of mobility loss, your pet will need more support compared to what a hip brace can provide. Dogs that experience weakness in their hind legs or struggle to stand and walk will need as much mobility support as possible to help them live their best life.
Pets with such severe hip dysplasia won’t be able to bear weight on their legs and will require dog wheelchairs to stay mobile. While wheelchairs will often be used to help support dogs with hip dysplasia, there are other options such as mobility carts for paralyzed dogs.
Hip Brace Alternatives
As a pet parent, it’s vital to understand that hip braces aren’t the only option for your pooch, and most times, they’re only beneficial during the early stages of hip dysplasia. When your dog’s mobility has been compromised by hip dysplasia, they will need more than hip braces. Other alternatives include a hip support harness and dog wheelchairs, which are both designed to help dogs walk with assistance.
Hip support harnesses are great for quick outdoor trips or to help your dog get into a car or when it’s going upstairs. If you want to keep your dog independent and active, then opt for a dog wheelchair to support it through its hip dysplasia. Luckily, these solutions can also help with arthritis and osteoarthritis apart from hip dysplasia, which helps to improve your dog’s life tremendously.
Hip pain is a serious condition in dogs that can greatly affect their quality of life and when left untreated, it can lead to many more hip conditions along with low back pain. Unfortunately, the German Shepherd is most at risk when it comes to this condition, and a homemade knee brace might not be the best solution. It’s a good idea to invest in heating therapy braces that will help them with mobility issues and may heal knee injuries, helping in many different ways.