5 Tips for preventing neck injuries to your dog
Last year nearly 1/3 of our patients were imaged for some form of cervical spine disease. There are many breeds that are naturally predisposed to neck disease or injury but that doesn't guarantee that they will develop a problem or that genetics is the only factor. Keeping these five things in mind can help your pet live it's best life.
Using a harness: Collars are great for hanging i.d. tags on but aren't always the best option to attach a leash to. Especially if your dog likes to pull or randomly lunge when it gets excited. There are many different kinds of harnesses on the market, several of which you can purchase right here at the VSCAN. Ask us about getting a harness when you come in and we will be happy to size and fit your friend for the perfect one.
Using the stairs: I know that some dogs are way too big to carry everywhere but they weren't designed to climb stairs either. The angle of forces exerted on their joints and neck when going up and down the stairs can cause significant issues over time. If you can't carry them consider supporting them and at the very least adding some traction to the steps. Even a minor slip on the stairs can cause a serious injury.
Managing their weight: Keeping your dogs weight on the lean side can make a big difference for many obvious reasons. Every bit of excess weight puts an exponentially greater amount of force on your dogs spine and joints often resulting in disc herniations at the curvatures of the neck and spine.
Jumping off the furniture: For the same reasons as the stairs this is a big problem for a lot of dogs. Jumping off of a sofa sends a tremendous amount of force through their front legs and into the base of their neck. When a dog jumps down their neck strains to stabilize them putting it at a critical angle for an ergonomic injury.
Raising their bowls: Their is an optimum height for a dog to eat out of a bowl. Measure your dog while standing from the floor to the top of their shoulders. Subtract 6 to 7 inches from that number and you should be right in the sweet spot. That is the height of the bottom of the bowl. Your dog should not have to raise or lower their neck in order to reach the bottom of the bowl.
*These tips aren't just good for dogs. Though not as common, cats can also be affected by these same things. It's a good idea to be mindful of that when they decide to play super hero and bounce all around the house.