Exercising a Dog with Elbow Dysplasia: Effective Treatments to Maintain Good Health

Elbow dysplasia is a condition causing swelling and pain, and eventually, it may cause arthritis as well. This is a common condition in certain dog breeds, with symptoms beginning when your dog reaches 5-18 months old. It can be very painful and uncomfortable for dogs, but there are treatment options and medications to follow.

Furthermore, you’ll need to learn how to begin exercising a dog with elbow dysplasia to keep strengthening their joints. This can also help alleviate pain and pressure compared to them staying immobile.

If you’re unsure of how to begin exercising your dog, read on!

Quick Guide to Exercising a Dog with Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is common in larger dog breeds, an orthopedic condition occurring in both puppies and dogs. This condition can be caused by arthritis, injury, birth abnormalities, or degenerative joint diseases, and over time, it will cause serious issues with their range of motion.

That is why it’s important to have the condition treated with medication and therapy. Besides this, it’s also just as crucial to keep them in proper weight to avoid too much pressure on their joints and to help keep their range of motion. This is where a healthy diet and exercise comes along.

But what kind of exercises should you do if your dog has elbow dysplasia? Here are the most common tips to follow:

1. What to Do

You’ll need a customized home exercise program, which a veterinarian will work out for you after your dog’s initial evaluation. This will allow you to continue therapy at home daily, so your dog can progress. This is in addition to any medication and rehabilitation programs your dog will enter for elbow dysplasia.

The exercises your dog should do will focus on building muscle strength and stability, as well as improve their motor control and maximize the joints’ ranges of motion.

Such exercises include walks on various up and downhill inclines, which can maintain your dog’s joints and reduce any inflammation experienced. Walking is better than runs or sprints, which places too much painful pressure on the joints.

Another great exercise is swimming, a low-impact exercise that allows your dog to move its joints without the stress that walking or running causes. Make sure that your dog is geared up with safety wear and that he is comfortable in the waters already. If not, introduce him to the waters gradually until he finds the fun in the pool or beach!

When performing such exercises, it should last for a short period, based on the vet’s recommendations. Usually, you should start with 10 minutes of exercise daily, increasing the time by 5-10 minutes every week. Or, you can increase the intensity gradually by varying the inclines as you walk.

2. Other forms of exercise include:

  • Agility training on flat surfaces, which helps with physical and mental stimulation
  • Low-impact games will keep your dog busy, such as playing search at home. This strengthens your relationship together
  • Continue your training and teaching him tricks as well. Introduce simple active exercises like ‘shaking hands’ or ‘sit and stay’. Repeating these exercises daily for 10-15 minutes helps increase their range of motion and joint control.
X-ray film of dog lateral view with red highlight in hip dysplasia dog
X-ray film of dog lateral view with red highlight in hip dysplasia dog.

3. What to Avoid

Now that you know what exercises you should do, what should you avoid? Prevent your furbaby from doing intense activities, such as chasing and sprinting, racing around, jumping, or skidding. It’s also best to avoid walking, running, or exercising them for long periods.

If you would like to extend their exercise time, do so gradually and keep it less than an hour-long, focusing on low-impact exercise with no weight and pressure involved. If you see that they are feeling pain and discomfort while they exercise, stop the exercise and allow them to take a break, or to discontinue it for the day.

Also, make sure that your dog can access his bed, food, and water, and have access to relieve himself outside. Avoid placing his necessities in far areas, or where he has to climb up the stairs or jump on platforms, which can tire him out further or cause pain that could have been avoided.

4. Therapies Included

Besides exercises, there are also therapy and rehabilitation programs your dog should go through for proper treatment and recovery. Trained professionals will perform such treatments, including exercise therapies, massage, and medication.

There is hydrotherapy, underwater treadmill walks or runs, along with manual therapies, electrotherapy, and even having a chiropractor to treat your dog. All these options are used as an alternative to surgery or will help your dog recover from surgery done to treat elbow dysplasia.

Wrapping It Up

Elbow dysplasia is quite uncomfortable and can cause a lot of pain to dogs, which is why treatment and changes in their lifestyle are required. This includes exercising, as they require regular exercise but different from the usual intense jumps and runs. With proper exercise and treatment, they can maintain better health with less pain and discomfort for years to come.

I hope that this article taught you more about exercising a dog with elbow dysplasia! Don’t wait any longer and utilize these tips if you have a dog with this condition today. Good luck!

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