Ginger, our Golden Retriever and the inspiration for the GingerLead Dog
Support Harness, began showing signs of arthritis shortly after she turned 10
years old. She had reconstructive hip surgery at 6 months old due to severe hip
dysplasia (Ginger’s Story), so we knew it was only a matter of time before
arthritis could become an issue. Surprisingly, the surgically repaired hip has not
been an issue. It’s the other leg she was often limping on. She also began to
struggle to lift herself off the floor, particularly our tile or wood floors. Even
with rest, it seemed to be getting worse. So we brought Ginger back to her
orthopedic surgeon, and he confirmed that she was suffering from arthritis in
her left hip.
Over the last year and a half, we have experimented with various supplements
and therapies in an effort to keep Ginger strong. Not only is she limping less,
she’s actually gotten stronger and now plays with her little brother Jake daily.
We’ve listed all the various therapies and supplements we’ve found to be helpful to keep our sweet Ginger
healthy and happy.
Overweight or obese dogs have additional stress on their aging joints that can cause mobility to deteriorate
at a more rapid pace than a dog that maintains a healthy weight. Fatty treats can be easily replaced with
carrots and kale. Our dogs can’t get enough of these healthy treats. Fat free yogurt frozen in a Kong makes
for a great treat for dogs with activity restrictions and provides great mental stimulation.
Studies show that aging dogs that get regular exercise can actually help reduce the pain caused by arthritis
and often improves mobility as well as quality of life. One of the worst things for a dog struggling with
arthritis besides obesity is atrophy, which is caused by lack of muscle movement.
For dogs already unsteady on their feet, the GingerLead can help rehabilitate their legs
by providing balance or support while you walk them. Even short walks around the
block or to fetch the mail can help your dog not only physically, but also keep their
Click here to read what people are saying about the GingerLead Dog Support & Rehabilitation Harness.
Laser is a non-invasive therapy that uses light to stimulate a targeted
area. It’s great to reduce pain and inflammation in your dog’s arthritic
knees, hips or back.
We’ve always heard success stories with laser therapy so it was the first
professional therapy we tried. After only 2 sessions (which included
laser therapy and some time in the underwater treadmill) at CRCG /
Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning Group, Ginger showed
improvement. She was limping less and even started to run some, and
was clearly in less pain. So we completed 5 session in 5 weeks and
then continued her therapy once per month for “maintenance”.
HYDROTHERAPY / PHYSICAL THERAPY
Hydrotherapy is another great activity for dogs suffering from arthritis or other debilitating conditions.
Swimming is great exercise for dogs since it’s low impact on their joints and the water provides resistance
creating a good workout. Use of an underwater treadmill at a rehabilitation clinic
can be very beneficial for building up strength and endurance.
Ginger gets her underwater treadmill along with her laser therapy at Canine
Rehabilitation and Conditioning Group in Denver and we couldn’t be more
pleased. Ginger loves the attention and her little brother Jake gets to swim in
their recreational pool. We also do some exercises at home that they taught us at
Ginger’s been going for physical therapy for a year and a half now, and she
continues to get stronger. She gets much more exercise now, is more playful and
limps less frequently. We do need to leave her GingerLead near the stairs for the
days she overdoes it.
Acupuncture uses needles inserted at specific points along a dog to stimulate
circulation and reduce inflammation.
We’ve also heard good experiences with acupuncture, so we considered
adding another therapy to Ginger’s routine. We visited our veterinarian Dr.
Chris Spears at Park Animal Hospital & Wellness Center to give it a try.
Ginger, who’s always been a high energy dog, was surprising calm through
most of it.
She was already doing pretty well with her mobility, so we were unable to
determine if there was any improvement. However, we did notice that the
acupuncture seemed to improve her overall well-being. She just seemed
happier, so we started going once a month, alternating with the laser &
After a few months, Dr. Chris thought it would be a good idea for Ginger to get
some chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic therapy is intended to restore a dog's range of motion
with slight adjustments. It’s known to alleviate pain and strengthen
We were reluctant to bring Ginger to a chiropractor. She always had a
unique gait after her hip surgery and it never seemed to slow her
down, so we had some reservations. After talking it over with several
resources, we decided to give it a try.
Ginger got to visit with Dr. Andi Harper at Harper’s Ridge Animal Care
who was highly recommended. She didn’t seem to mind the
adjustments and after a couple of visits, her posture was improved and she appeared to be walking more
comfortably. So now she sees Dr. Andi every other month.
Today, Ginger gets a “spa” day every 2 weeks. She gets laser and physical therapy once a month, acupuncture
every other month and chiropractic treatment every other month. We couldn’t be happier with how well
Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips are natural rubber cylinders that slide onto a dog’s
weight-bearing toenails, adhere by friction, and create the GripZone.
ToeGrips create contact with the ground at the GripZone, just behind the
bottom of the nail tip. The nonslip material grips the floor in a way your
dog’s hard toenails cannot. ToeGrips provide instant traction for dogs on
hard-surface floors and stairs, such as wood, tile, linoleum, marble, etc.
Here's Ginger showing off her ToeGrips, which we initially purchased
because she was beginning to struggle getting up in our kitchen, which
has tile floors. Her front legs would slip several times while trying to lift
herself up, so she needed a little assistance. We have rugs and runners
on most of our floors (which helps quite a bit) but she often likes to lie on
the tile floor since it's cooler. So we put on her ToeGrips and noticed an
immediate difference when she tried to get herself up. Her effort was at
least cut in half if not more.
Initially we couldn’t tell if they provided much traction when she walked on the slick surfaces. Then, one time
when we took off her old ToeGrips (to replace them with new ones) she slipped on our kitchen floor. It
became apparent that Ginger had become quite confident with her ToeGrips, so she was taking turns more
aggressively. This particular time she did not know her ToeGrips were off and down she went. To learn more
about Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips, visit their website www.toegrips.com.
There are various supplements that are used today to help dogs that are suffering from arthritis. Always
check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any new supplements to ensure proper dosage.
We had Ginger on Glucosamine/Chondroitin since her first surgery at 6 months old for hip dysplasia.
Glucosamine/Chondroitin is known for reducing pain and inflamation and can actually restore joint damage.
It worked great for years, but after Ginger began struggling when she was 10, our orthopedic surgeon
recommended we upgrade to Dasuquin. She also gets Fish Oil pills, which is a natural anti inflammatory.
Ginger also gets a fruit and vegetable antioxident stew that includes: pumpkin, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms,
strawberries, blueberries, carrots and green beans. We started this when her littermate Wilson had
adenocarcinoma in his nose, and have continued it for Ginger to keep her as healthy as we can for as long as
We are not veterinarians. This information is provided based on our own experiences. Always consult your
veterinarian about your dog’s particular condition and treatment options.
Feel free to contact us with any questions.
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January 2, 2015