The Hipster Harness Is Here to Help Heal Your Dog’s Hip Dysplasia
If you have a dog, you’re probably all too familiar with the prevalence of hip dysplasia. Did you know it can affect up to 50 percent of large breeds, such as Bloodhounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs and St. Bernards? The affliction can also impact smaller pooches, though in lower numbers.
Just what is hip dysplasia, exactly? Basically, it occurs when a dog’s hip develops abnormally. In healthy pups, the head of the femur bone fits in the hip joint socket almost like a glove, so any stress or pressure is dispersed evenly throughout the socket. With dysplasia, the joint develops abnormally, causing the socket to be looser. This allows the femur head to pop in and out of place (Ouch! Poor poochies…)
Related: What Is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?
Because hip dysplasia develops as the dog grows, it can’t be fully reversed; mild cases can be uncomfortable and severe ones can literally immobilize your dog. The good news is there are proven ways to treat dysplasia to increase a pup’s comfort and mobility. There are proven types of physical therapy that can be performed under that care of a trained veterinarian, but what all the time in between when your pooch is just going about their daily life?
That’s the question industrial designer Galia Weiss believes she’s found the answer to with the Hipster Harness, which she designed in consultation with a vet who specializes in physiotherapy for dogs.
Dogs with hip dysplasia usually rely on their front legs for strength, which means their back legs lose muscle. The Hipster Harness (which incidentally also looks super cool and futuristic) helps prevent the joints from disconnecting by pulling up and strengthening the hip muscles, which keeps the femur in the correct position. It also has a rigid frame built in to avoid any additional burden on the pup’s bottom.
The Hipster will be adjustable with Velcro straps depending on the dogs’ size: adjusting the straps so they’re snug is one of the mechanisms that forces (gently, of course) the dog to use its hind legs instead of its front legs. The fabric used in the harness is also machine washable, which any pet parent will agree is a huge bonus!
Weiss is quick to point out that this isn’t the only treatment for hip dysplasia, but it is meant to supplement the time between physiotherapy sessions. This way, the dog is working on building joint strength all day long. She is hopeful that the Hipster could help accelerate recovery to as little as a month.
Right now, the Hipster is still in the prototype phase, but Weiss hopes to change that soon and begin officially testing it on pups with dysplasia. We’re sure she’ll have pet parents lining up around the block to volunteer their pooches and help them heal all the faster!
We’ll be keeping an eye on the Hipster harness as it continues to make its way through development, and will let you know when it becomes available to dogs everywhere. Anything that improves a dog’s life gets an A+ in our books!
If you’d like to learn a bit more about hip dysplasia in dogs and see the Hipster Harness in action, check out the video below.
Christina Peden is a lifelong animal lover and avid wordsmith. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Ryan where they are proud pet parents to puppy, Matilda and cat, Oscar. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying Toronto, Canada's all-too-short patio season, taking advantage of the city's numerous parks or curled up with a good book.
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