Rehabilitation for Canine Total Hip Replacement

After your dog's Total Hip Replacement surgery, post-operative rehabilitation and therapy is an important part of your pet recovering as quickly and successfully as possible.

During your discharge consultation after your dog's total hip replacement surgery, you will receive a packet of information with detailed home care instructions for your pet. Those instructions will include step by step directions that include appropriate dosages and frequency of giving medication, icing sequence, massage techniques and how to perform gentle range of motion exercises during the first 1-2 weeks following surgery. Additionally, you will receive information on initial activity restrictions for your pet. The purpose of these instructions is to minimize the swelling and stiffness in the joint that follows a surgical procedure. Furthermore, during the first few days after an operation, the surgeon wants to limit the pet’s activities in order to allow for healing of the tissue. During that time frame, your pet may experience swelling and bruising at the joint, hesitation to put weight on their involved leg, and difficulties with mobility like getting up from the floor. You can help your pet get around by using a large sling wrapped under their belly and assisting them with walking, pottying and getting up off the floor. After the first few days, your pet’s joint swelling, stiffness and soreness should be steadily improving. You will want to continue to limit the dog’s activities to controlled leash walking for about 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times a day.


At the two week mark, your pet can begin post total hip replacement rehabilitation, where they will receive an in-depth examination to look at the strength, flexibility and soreness level of the surgical leg as well as the whole body. At your initial evaluation at Canine Rehabilitation and Arthritis Center, your therapist will develop an individualized therapeutic program designed to meet the dog’s specific needs. Your pet’s therapy can include massage and stretching for the stiff joints, underwater treadmill session for strengthening and gait retraining, Laser treatments for tissue healing and pain reduction and tailored home exercise program strengthening and stretching exercises. After surgery, your pet may experience weakness in the surgery leg. By practicing specific strengthening exercises, your pet will be able to regain both muscle mass and strength in eight to twelve weeks.