How To Exercising A Dog With Elbow Dyaplasia?

Large breed dogs that frequently suffer from leg lameness may be suffering from elbow dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is considered an orthopedic condition. Elbow and hip dysplasia are developmental conditions that affect dogs and are often diagnosed in dogs younger than 18 months old. It means their joints have failed to develop normally, which leads to osteoarthritis.


The elbow in a canine is made up of three bones, the fibula, humerus, and tibia. The bones join and form a hinge. The hinge allows the leg below to extend and flex. When an abnormal formation of the joint develops, it is known as a dysplasia. The dysplasia can be caused by birth abnormalities, arthritis, injury, or degenerative joint diseases. Over time, a canine that suffers from elbow dysplasia will suffer a variety of serious range of motion problems. There are activities which can improve elbow dysplasia and reduce the canine’s discomfort.

When you know your dog has a joint problem that causes stiffness or limping, it’s tempting to want to protect him, to avoid setting off another flare-up. However, no exercise is as bad as too much exercise. This is because pets that aren’t exercising as much as they should can gain weight, and this can put pressure on the joints. There are plenty of activities you can do to keep them in shape and leading a full happy healthy life.


Warm-Up Your Dog Before Exercise

Dogs that have arthritis should actually not engage in high impact sports such as agility or fly ball, but they should remain active. Arthritis is often accompanied by tight, weak, and sore muscles, so the warm-up and cool-down are extremely important for dogs with arthritis in order to prevent further injury.

Some common warm-up methods:


A Short Walk

Take a nice walk with your dog on a loose leash.



Stretching With Massage

Step 1

Hip stretch have your dog stand beside you. Gently grasp the back leg just above the knee. Move the leg back until it is straight with your dog’s back. Hold the leg in the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat the process on the other back leg. If your dog does not object, then you can do this exercise two or three times.

Step 2

Shoulder stretches Grasp your dog’s front leg just above the elbow. Use your other hand to support and stabilize the elbow. Now move the leg forward. Remember, you are not moving his sore elbow but instead moving his shoulders. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat the process on the dog’s other side.

Step 3

Chest stretch Lay your dog down on their back. Grasp the dog’s front legs near the wrists and gently spread them out to the side. Hold the position for several seconds. Remember, you are not bending the dog’s elbows, only flexing the chest and shoulder muscles. The elbows should suffer no discomfort.


Heat Therapy

Applying heat therapy for taking preventative measures for strained muscles before exercise helps increase the elasticity of joint connective tissues and increases blood flow to the affected area. Devoting time to heat therapy for just 15 minutes before begin the workout will help relax tight muscles and muscles spasms and future reduce pain and swelling.


Related Article:  Why using heat therapy for dogs?


Some Activities for Dogs with Elbow Dysplasia



Swimming in a pool is a wonderful activity for any canine suffering from elbow dysplasia. In the water, your dog floats which alleviates the weight on your canine’s elbows. Your dog can freely move and feel less discomfort.  It is important that the swimming take place in a pool or lake where there is no current to fight. If your dog starts to show signs of slowing or discomfort, it is time to let your dog leave the water. Remember not to exercise too much.


Put a life jacket on your dog. If your dog is not used to life jackets, feeding a treat will convince your dog that wearing a life jacket is not a bad thing.


Water time Slowly lower your dog into the water and gradually walk from the shallow area into the deep water.


Treading water Hold your dog’s collar while they tread water.

Low-impact and high-resistance exercises such as swimming are really well suited to dogs with joint conditions like dysplasia. This is because they help build up the larger buttock muscles, which help support the ball and socket hip joint. Likewise, low-impact exercise is easier on the elbow joints.

Water Treadmill


As the dog walks on the treadmill, the box slowly fills with water. The water helps lift and float the dog as they walk across the treadmill. It is a superb exercise activity that a dog with elbow dysplasia can easily undergo without suffering excessive pain.


Getting your dog used to the treadmill and let them simply get used to walking the treadmill.


Water activation at this stage it is time for the water to start filling the treadmill box. Your dog will naturally feel a dramatic decrease in pressure on the joints as the water lifts and soothes. The workout will become considerably easier in the water treadmill.

Agility training


Agility training on flat surfaces is a good option for dogs with joint conditions. Weaving around obstacles and going through tunnels will provide both physical and mental stimulation.



Games that are relatively low impact, but which keep your dog busy, are a good idea too. Playing search and find is a good way to encourage your dog to move without overdoing it. And, if you’re interacting with your dog and playing together, you both get a lot out of it.



Elbow dysplasia rarely gets better on its own, even with exercise. Often an owner must seek surgical intervention to relieve the pet’s discomfort. Luckily, surgery is a viable option for treating the condition. After the surgery, many dogs will need to undergo rehabilitation. The above activities are great for a canine who suffers from elbow dysplasia pre or post surgery.

Dogs are just like people and do not like to be in pain all the time. They can start feeling depressed and lethargic. Planning fun and fulfilling activities may only moderately help your canine’s physical problems but they will definitely improve your dog’s disposition and outlook on life.