Tips to Cope with Senior Dog Hind Leg Weakness
If you have a senior dog, you may have noticed that he or she is starting to have shaky or trembling legs. These are signs of hind leg weakness. Hind leg weakness is common in senior dogs and a reality that most pet parents will face. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help strengthen an older dog’s legs to help make the golden years more comfortable.
In this blog, you will learn about the causes of senior dog hind leg weakness and get some exercise and mobility assistance tips.
WHAT IS SENIOR DOG HIND LEG WEAKNESS?
As dogs age, their whole body will naturally weaken. Hind leg weakness, in particular, is usually due to arthritis, hip dysplasia or loss of muscle. Deterioration and stress placed on the joints (by age or obesity) are also contributing factors.
The hips are not the only cause of hind leg weakness. It can also be due to spinal and vertebral conditions. Some dogs are also genetically prone to age-related weakness.
WHAT ARE SOME EXERCISES TO HELP HIND LEG WEAKNESS IN SENIOR DOGS?
Although it might seem like your senior dog would rather sleep than go for a walk, this is no excuse to stop exercising! By keeping your senior dog mobile and active you’re helping to strengthen the hind legs. When determining what kind of exercise is ideal for senior dog, you’ll want to find activities that are gentle so as to prevent overexertion.
- Go For a Walk on the Beach! Now that it’s spring, there’s no better time than to take advantage of the sunshine and sand. Walking on the varying levels of sand is great for strengthening your dog’s muscles. It will encourage your dog to lift his legs higher than normal and provide a distraction. Not near a beach? You can also try walking your dog through tall grass or elbow-level water.
- Hill Work- This is a great way to help build strength in your senior dog’s hind legs. To help focus strictly on the hind legs, choose hills with a higher incline up and a path with a lower incline back down. Depending on the physical ability of your senior dog, you may choose to walk or run up these hills. You can check out more of this on SlimDoggy.com.
- Squat- Just like squats for humans, this exercise has your dog repeating the action of sitting and standing. SlimDoggy.com suggests doing this 2-3 times per week for 1-2 sets of 5-10 reps. Use treats and practice their “sit”!
- Water Therapy- Water provides resistance and buoyancy and helps to build muscle strength, without putting too much stress on the hind legs. It is recommended that you do this under the supervision of a specialist, and not on your own.
MASSAGE FOR SENIOR DOG HIND LEG WEAKNESS
Massage has many benefits and can help relieve sore muscles and joints of an aging dog. Your vet can teach you how to do this correctly or visit an animal massage specialist.
ASSISTED MOBILITY FOR A SENIOR DOG’S WEAK HIND LEGS
- Easy Access- If your senior dog is having trouble getting in or out of a vehicle, a dog ramp can make for easier accessibility. You may also want to consider a dog stairs if your senior dog likes to jump on or off the bed or couch. Jumping puts a lot of impact on the joints, but a dog stairs can help prevent an injury from occurring.
- Dog Lifting Aid- This handheld device helps reduce stress on your dog’s hind legs by lifting the hips and abdomen together. A quick search of dog mobility carrier will show you many options.
- Gripping Socks- For senior dogs with weak hind legs, tile or wooden floors can be slippery and can often result in an injury. Gripping socks will help prevent your senior dog from slipping.
- Doggie Wheelchairs- If your dog can’t move at all, this is another device that will help to support your senior dog by eliminating the pressure on the hind legs.
- Keep Them on a Single Level- If your dog’s pain is severe, set up dog gates so this they do not attempt to go up and down stairs unattended.
- Orthopedic Beds- These can help provide comfort to achy joints. Just make sure there isn’t too much cushioning, which makes it hard to get up and down.
Add a High Quality Bone and Joint Supplement
While a supplement is not a treatment or cure for any bone and joint disorder, supplementation can be helpful in providing nutrients that support a senior dog’s bone and joints.
As far as bone health options go, Boneo Canine is definitely a good option to consider for your dog. Boneo Canine is the only supplement on the market that helps strengthen the bones by promoting healthy bone turnover. In contrast, traditional glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM supplements only address the joints. Boneo Canine is all natural and based on the power of lactoferrin.