Meet Hershey - a globe-trotting Maltipoo known for sharing his dog-friendly adventures on Instagram. Even though Hershey is only two, he’s already boarded his fair share of flights and travelled to countless bucket list destinations, such as Tromsø (Norway), Venice (Italy), and more!
When Hershey isn’t out exploring, he calls New York City home and he’s even been known to star in a runway show or two.
Hershey also enjoys sharing his favorite small dog finds with his community as despite being a young pup, he’s already had to deal with the challenges that come with a luxating patella diagnosis.
For this post, we’ve teamed up with Hershey’s paw-rent, Jill, to share the young Maltipoo’s journey with this knee condition. By sharing Hershey’s story, we hope to raise awareness about luxating patella in small dogs and how dog ramps can help.
Luxating patella is a common knee condition among small breeds. While a dog of any size can develop it, many small and toy breeds have a genetic predisposition, such as Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Toy Poodles, and Chihuahuas.
Patellar luxation occurs when a dog’s kneecap (patella) repeatedly slides out of place. This typically happens because there’s an abnormality with the groove a pup’s kneecap should sit in. This can be the result of genetics or injury.
Dogs with luxating patella can often be seen skipping or kicking their legs while walking in order to try to shift their kneecap(s) back and the condition can affect one or both of a dog’s hind legs.
It’s also important to note that there are 4 grades of patellar luxation. Some veterinarians may recommend treating lower grades with physical therapy, adjustments to daily routines, and medication, while more severe cases may require surgical correction.
If left untreated, a luxating patella can cause a dog to experience pain, inflammation, decreased mobility, further joint damage, and may make a pup more susceptible to other issues such as ligament tears and arthritis.
Hershey was diagnosed with a luxating patella in August 2022 at the age of 1.
One summer day, he was running around the hallway in his home when he accidentally slipped. He let out a sudden yelp and his paw-rent, Jill, immediately went to check on her pup.
She quickly noticed that he was unable to move and it appeared that he had injured his leg. Jill took Hershey to the vet right away where the vet determined that Hershey’s kneecap had slipped out of place and that the pup had a luxating patella.
Even after the vet repositioned Hershey’s kneecap, he was still visibly in pain and he had a difficult time walking. The pup was administered an injection to help with inflammation and prescribed medication, but it still took Hershey a few weeks to recover and walk normally again.
Since the accident, Hershey’s owner has noticed that her pup’s leg is more susceptible to injury. As a result, Jill and Hershey are taking several precautions to decrease the chances of Hershey sustaining a future injury or worsening his current condition.
As a mostly hereditary condition, luxating patella can’t necessarily be prevented in small breeds.
Fortunately, there are actions that dog owners can take to reduce the amount of stress an affected dog’s kneecaps experience and help improve their dog’s quality of life.
A paw-rent should always consult with their dog’s veterinarian to determine the most appropriate plan for their pup. However, if a dog enjoys spending time on the couch, bed, or other pieces of furniture, dog ramps tend to be a frequent recommendation.
As an impact-free alternative to jumping, ramps can provide dogs with a safer and easier way of enjoying their favorite places around the house. This is important for dogs with luxating patella as jumping from high places can exacerbate the condition and lead to further pain, discomfort, and even injury.
In order for Hershey to continue joining his hoomans on the couch, Hershey’s vet advised the pup’s owners to introduce him to an indoor ramp. They opted for a ramp over pet stairs too as stairs still cause dogs to experience small, repeated impacts over time. This may not be ideal for a dog dealing with a joint condition.
When it comes to their DoggoRamps Couch Ramp, Jill and Hershey love the durability of the hardwood design and how the ramp has 4 different height settings - allowing it to work with virtually any couch and a variety of other pieces of indoor furniture as well.
Hershey proudly posing with his Couch Ramp. The Coastal Grey finish is the perfect fit for the pup's neutral toned space.
Jill also shared that the traction provided by the anti-slip surface makes the ramp easy for Hershey to use at both the lower and higher height settings, and she loves how the coastal grey finish matches the rest of their furniture too!
Hershey the Ramp Champ!
In addition to introducing Hershey to an indoor ramp, his paw-rents have brought more rugs into their home in order to reduce the amount of exposed hardwood flooring. (Flooring can prove to be slippery for many dogs.)
As well, they remain vigilant and mindful to not overly stress Hershey’s joints when they go on walks and hikes or even during play sessions.
Moving forward, Jill and Hershey plan on continuing to share their travel tips, dog-friendly destinations, and finds to help other dog owners create lifelong memories with their pups and help them enjoy a higher quality of life at home and beyond.
Hershey the Maltipoo on a snowmobile in Tromsø, Norway - March 2023
The DoggoRamps Team would like to extend a special thank you to Jill, Hershey’s paw-rent, for giving us the opportunity to share Hershey’s story.
To follow Hershey the Maltipoo’s adventures, make sure to check out his Instagram profile.
And to learn more about finding the right indoor ramp for your dog and setup, check out:
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