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Monday, March 30, 2009

Healthy Hips in Large Breed Dogs

© photo copyright Carrie Boyko
Tanner Shows Us His Flexible
and Healthy Hips

While not exactly Breed standard, Tanner is a healthy Golden Retriever, at least so far. He is a good bit taller, leaner and has extremely short fur for the breed standard, but I love him all the same.
My veterinarian tells me that his flexible hips are often a good sign of healthy hips. If you have ever owned a large breed dog, you may be aware of their tendency to have hip problems. Vets often encourage large breed dog owners to keep their dogs active and lean. Tanner is certainly that.
Sometimes I worry that he should have a bit more weight on him, especially when people ask what his mix is. I just laugh and tell them he's on weight watchers. To be honest, though, he runs 1-1/2 miles most mornings, plays fetch in the pool most afternoons, visits the dog park a couple of times each week for an hour or two of running, and takes his weekly agility class on top of all that. 

Wouldn't we all be slender if we had this much activity in our schedules?

I've talked with lots of people who use products like this to aid in their biking:

Although I go along for the morning run, I am on a bike. Tanner's job is a bit more tiring than mine. Of course, after I finish Tanner's run, I have to give equal time to Oliver and Xena. Although Xena doesn't run, she does still enjoy her walk, and continues to keep a good pace for a 12 year old. She, too, has healthy hips, and her walks help to keep them that way. Oliver's biking pace is more like a greyhound. He outruns Tanner for longer runs, which surprises everyone who sees us, since Oliver is a mere 8.2 pounds. Perhaps as he grows out of the puppy stage he'll slow down, just as Tanner has. 

We'll see.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to keep Tanner's hips healthy by maintaining a lower weight and a good activity level. We'll keep tabs on this with the vet's advice, and lessen his activity when his age warrants a little less vigorous exercise. For now, though, Tanner is all about a good run. And I'm all about his healthy hips. Thankfully, we're both happy.


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