T Nation

Old Dog / Bad Hips


The big Boxer in my Avi is Dempsy. He is 12--old for a Boxer. He is and has been a great dog and a great friend.

He started having trouble on the hardwoods this year. His hips are narrow and he has arthritis. His hind legs just slip out from under him like he's doing the splits. We put down temporary carpet all over and that helped for a while. Now he can't really negotiate stairs anymore so I have to carry him up and down stairs. He is already on pain/arthritis meds.

I have him scheduled for a Vet appointment Saturday but I suspect I am going to hear nothing short of a full hip replacement will help. We are probably not prepared to do this at his age as he is already living on about 4 years of borrowed time for a Boxer. I think soon he isn't going to be able to be able to relieve himself properly or walk at all.

Anyone deal with something like this or have any thoughts or experiences to share?


I had a mutt for a long time whose hips did what you suggested. She managed alright but I would occasionally have to help her up. It got to the point that I was having to hold her to pee because she squatted outside a couple of times and couldn't get back up. She actually just slid down.

Finally she just got to where she couldn't get up really and went in her bed a couple times. As horrible as it sounds I fed her some old oxycodone pills and she just kind of went to sleep. She was suffering so much though that it was the best thing for her at 17.


Sorry to hear that, we just lost our 14 year old black lab a week ago. She was blind and displayed the same rear leg weakness. It had gotten to the point she would fall on hardwood or tile floors pretty regularly. I wish I had some good advice, knowing when to say goodbye is always the hardest part. She passed of natural causes but I was right in your spot, I wish you all my best.


No, that doesn't sound horrible, it sounds like the very hard but humane thing to do. I'm subtly prepping my wife for that inevitability. But I also have a 6-year-old boy and that is a little trickier.


Thanks, I appreciate the thoughts.


My family never had the problem with our dogs hips doing that, but we did have a golden that had arthritis so bad she was basically crying all the time. It was painful to watch and we collectively made the right decision to put her down because we thought she was suffering too much. It was a tough decision. Sorry to hear about your dog and I wish you guys the best.


Thank you.

I don't think he is in real pain yet but it is tough to gauge with him. He once snapped his front leg right in half in a storm drain and didn't so much as whimper.

The last dog we had to put down was also a Boxer and she had a brain tumor. Looking back we waited too long because of our own inability or unwillingness to make the hard decision and I don't want to do that again.


check mike mahler's (kettlebell guy) website. i remember reading that he used a supplement on his dog that alleviated hip pain and it wasn't glucosomine/chondritin. good luck


Do the have test/AAS for dogs? I wonder if that would help.


There is a possibility your dog is suffering from hip dysplasia http://www.boxer-dog.org/articles/health/hip-dysplasia-boxers

When I worked as a vet tech, I saw some dogs do quite well with using cosequin or another glucosomine/condroitin products. Unfortunately, highly quality products can get expensive over time.


Thanks. We already supplement with those.

The last time we were in they said he didn't have hip displasia but he's a lot worse now and the symptoms sound pretty close.


My rottweiler had same issues, he's twelve. I was at the point of starting the putting him down talks as his walking was really going down hill. One thing that was screwing him up was a cocktail of antibiotics and other meds. He popped back up after discontinuing, so I'm living on borrowed time. You didn't mention other meds, but just in case. Good luck.


The wife supplements his food with joint stuff and he gets a daily pain med for arthritis. That's it as far as meds go.


I had a boxer pit bull he lived to around 15 we lost track of how old he was because he lived so long. We gave him glucosamine when his hips started to go at the age of 14. When he started to spread eagle on the wood floors my mom said enough is enough , he couldn't stand anymore. That is harder to see than anything. What about a dog wheelchair? I'm assuming you could jerry rig him some wheels to take the load off his hips?


I am looking into those, but frankly, that is going to be tough at my house. It isn't exactly ADA compliant. 3 stories and stairs everywhere including going in an out of the house.


All the joint medicine in the world won't really help w/out exercise every day. I understand your pup is old, but he must move to lubricate the joints along w/the meds. My dog is only 2 & has been diagnosed w/the hip dysplasia. Knock on wood, I haven't hadn't 1 flare up in over a yr due to running her constantly along w/the meds.

Key is walking, walking, walking, walking & then more walking.


Does he have a saggy belly and a saddle like dip from the hips into the back?

Similar to people with an anterior rotation of the pelvis, dogs can get problems with neural impingement from poor spinal/hip alignment.

My dog started to get this and I put her on a diet. It helped a good bit.


No. No dip. And he actually looks pretty lean and strong at first glance.


My regards, this is a tough predicament; I've faced it numerous times with small pets (young & old), livestock, and recently with an elderly relative. With the old timers, it's tough because you've created a very personal bond with them over the years, but on the other hand you know that, at their age, their quality of life is very likely going to deteriorate. Is their life worth a few more months or another year just for them to suffer and have a very poor quality of life? That's a personal call.

For me, depending on what ailment the animal was suffering from, I'd kill them right away or give them a short window of time to improve. No or minimal improvement equals euthanasia. For the relative, obviously there was some input from her personally, but we put her on a morphine drip which knocked her out and shut down her respiratory system, and she passed while unconscious. Again, my regards to you.


This is a bit leftfield, but if it's arthritis have you tried changing his diet? Supposedly some essential oils can help.
I hope your doggie doesn't suffer, or have to be put down :frowning: