Ask The Dog Guide: Oil Supplements and Hip Dysplasia

August 27th, 2007 by Dan

We’ve gotten a little backed up on questions over here (but keep ‘em coming!), so here’s a double.

Question: My dog – a 13 yr old Yellow Lab/Sheperd Mix has always had a beautiful coat that she loved having brushed. This year, however, she doens’t want anything to do with being brushed so she still has a lot of hair coming off from her. Our neighbor suggested that we add some regular vegetable oil to her dry dog food and that this would take care of the shedding issue. Is there any truth to that, and if so, is any kind of oil better than another?? I generally use olive oil for my cooking here.

Answer: Olive oil is, in fact good for dogs’ coats. Salmon oil is also very good for a healthy coat, and has other health benefits (as does olive oil). This salmon oil made especially for dogs is one example of an oil supplement.

Question: We have a Norwegian Elkhound that is 5 years old and is neutered. He has been diagnoised with hip dysplasia. My question is, how do I find a safe but effective way to get Meeko to lose some weight? He likes to walk, but he gets sore after a few minutes and lies down wherever we are. My girls even try to play ball with him in the yard and he won’t move. Our vet recommends to feed him only 2 cups of weight managment dog food a day, but after a couple of months now it doesn’t seem to be working.

Answer: Diet is important, but it’s true that diet alone won’t be enough in many cases. Make sure the food he is eating is high-protein, high-fiber, low-fat, and definitely moderate amounts. Dietary restriction also means no scraps from you plate and very limited treat intake (choose treats based on the same guidelines as you choose food).

Exercise is also important, and it’s definitely a different ball-game with a dog with hip problems. Try walking only on softer ground (grass, trails, sand, etc.). Swimming is a great way for dogs with joint pain to get exercise, so if you can find a place nearby that welcomes dogs and is safe, try to take him there regularly. It’s important that whatever forms of exercise he can and will engage in happen consistently, not just on weekends. If there is too much time between workouts, he’ll be sore but will not build up any stamina or new muscle.

If you’re able, look into some canine massage therapy for him on occasion, which will help his body recover from exercise and handle the stresses of hip dysplasia. Though you’d have to look locally for this service, this site gives you a little more info about massage and its benefits.

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