5 Things You Need to Know About Dog Hip Braces

1. How a canine hip support harness works

Labradoodle-Hip-EEZ

A canine brace stabilizes a dog’s hips while supporting the hip joint. The neoprene panels of the hip brace wrap snuggly around the upper hind leg to provide compression around the pet’s joint. This compression helps reduce swelling and promote healing. 

Since the hip support wraps over the dog’s lower back, it makes it easier for a dog to walk pain-free. A hip brace is ideal for a pet dealing with early stage to moderate hip dysplasia. However, don’t expect to see a difference right away. Be patient. It takes time to see the benefits of your dog wearing a brace. Also, don’t expect a hip brace alone to cure your dog, as a multi-modal approach is ideal for the best results.  In addition to providing hip support, regular exercise, joint supplements, and working with a rehabilitation specialist are all highly recommended. 

2. Signs your dog needs a hip brace

A dog that is dealing with joint pain and stiffness, especially in their hips and back legs, will show physical changes in how they move. Simple daily activities like walking or standing up after a nap place a lot of weight on a dog’s hind legs. If that dog is also dealing with joint pain, its movements will likely become slower and also impact the dog’s activity level. Dogs aren’t the only animal that suffers from hip problems. Hip dysplasia also occurs in cats. Felines are experts at hiding hide, and the hip dysplasia signs may be harder to spot. 

Symptoms of hip joint pain in dogs include:

  • “Slowing down” or decreased activity levels
  • Limited range of motion in the hind legs
  • Pet struggles to stand up after laying down for an extended period
  • Dog seems unsure or reluctant to climb the stairs or jump onto furniture
  • Leg stiffness
  • Shows signs of pain while moving
  • Noticeable change in hind leg strength
  • Hind leg limping 
  • Muscle atrophy, especially in the thighs

3. Why a dog may use a hip support harness

small dog hip brace

Hip dysplasia is the most common reason why a dog would use a hip brace. In addition, many pets with arthritis pain will use a canine hip brace to relieve their hip pain and allow them to stay active. A hip brace is best for pets that are still active, can stand and walk on their own, and are dealing with mild to moderate hip dysplasia. A hip dysplasia brace is beneficial for active pets of any age. It may also be worn for post-surgical support during the recovery process. 

When not to use a hip brace: a dog who can not walk or stand without assistance will not benefit from hip support. At this stage of mobility loss, the pet requires more support than a hip brace can offer.  Any pet with severe hip dysplasia who can not bear any weight on its back leg will need a dog wheelchair to stay active. Additionally, a dog can use a  hip support harness can be used to lift the dog’s hind legs and support its back legs. 

4. How to select the right hip brace for your pet

When choosing the right hip brace for your dog, you need to understand its diagnosis. Then, talk to your veterinarian or rehab specialist and discuss your pet’s treatment plan. There are two styles of hip support available: a neoprene hip support system and a custom hip brace.

The neoprene-style hip wrap is best for dogs with early to mid-stage hip dysplasia. Pets at this stage may be slowing down but are still active. Physical activity, hydrotherapy, and structured exercises are often recommended in conjunction with the brace. These are an off-the-shelf and affordable option that typically ships quickly, so your pet gets the help they need as soon as possible.

A custom hip brace is hand-fabricated from a casted mold of a dog’s hind legs. Each brace is custom-fitted to your pet and should perfectly fit your dog’s hip. The fabrication process takes up to a few weeks, with additional adjustments possible once the brace is received. The hip orthosis is more rigid to provide optimal support for a dog’s hip joint. 

5. Customized hip support options are available

No one solution will work for every pet, so choosing a hip support that will adapt to fit your dog’s diagnosis is vital. The Walkin’ Hip-EEZ hip support system is the ideal solution for dogs who need to customize the type of support they receive. The Hip-EEZ is the only canine hip support with various attachments to treat and support different joint conditions, including:

  • Hip Subluxation
  • Hind leg crossing
  • Supporting the remaining healthy hip of an amputee pet
  • Pressure sore treatment and prevention 

Pet parents can purchase the Hip-EEZ attachments separately as needed. Each one offers a simple, non-surgical option to treat common canine hip conditions and was designed by a rehab practitioner based on actual patients that she treated. 

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