Dogs are designed to carry about 2/3 of their body weight on the front end and only 1/3 on their back legs. They are jokingly described as "60/40 front wheel drive." But these old dogs I am referring to are usually carrying 75% or more of their weight on the front in order to reduce pain in the back end. I've even seen a few dogs that were closer to 90%, and while walking on the front legs is a nice party trick, its not something your dog should do on a regular basis! These dogs shift weight away from the pain in the back end and use their rear legs less. This results in a loss of hind limb strength. This forces your dog to shift more weight forward as now there is not only pain but also weakness. This cycle continues until your dog is using his front end almost entirely to rise into a standing position. He stops jumping completely. He doesn't want to go for walks anymore. And then, his front end starts to break down. His elbow starts to hurt, he develops chronically sore upper back muscles, and now he just doesn't want to move at all. Sound familiar? That's how they end up with a skinny backside. Sometimes, it becomes a life or death situation.
So now what? Can we stop the cycle? Can we reverse it or is your dog too far gone? Could it be prevented? Yes, to all the above!! Unless your dog is paralyzed those muscules still have the capacity to function! They must be retrained and rebuilt with the proper nutrition and the proper exercises to do so. Chronic pain must be managed. Old dogs can learn new tricks (and its actually really good mental stimulation too!) Got an old dog with a skinny backside? Call me. Got a young dog just diagnosed with hip dysplasia? Call me. Its never too late, or too soon, to do something about it!