Everything You Need to Know About Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia is not something that you want to mess around with. There are many dogs that are more prone to this health issue than others. It is very painful and can decrease a dog’s quality of life in so many ways. This is part of the reason why it is so important to learn all you can about hip dysplasia in dogs today.

Hip Dysplasia Causes

There are different factors that could cause hip dysplasia. Genetics is one of those factors. Generally, larger dogs are more prone to this condition than smaller dogs. Other factors might include being overweight, not eating well enough, certain kinds of exercise, and growing too fast.

Hip Dysplasia Symptoms

If you have a dog in your household and you think they could have hip dysplasia, there are some symptoms that you should be looking out for. These include decreased movement and range of motion and lameness in their backend. Another symptom you might notice is your dog having trouble getting up or down the stairs, running, jumping, or standing up. A dog with hip dysplasia may also have grating noises in their joints when moving, sway their hips when walking, or experience pain when moving.

Hip Dysplasia Diagnosis

If your dog does have hip dysplasia, it is important to have it diagnosed as soon as possible. Your dog should be getting regular veterinarian checkups. If you think your dog has this condition, mention it to the veterinarian. The veterinarian can do tests and assessments to see if your dog has hip dysplasia. Your dog may need to get an x-ray or radiograph, as well. This can help to determine the severity of hip dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia Treatments

If your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, there are different treatments the veterinarian might prescribe or recommend. Depending on the severity of your dog’s hip dysplasia, they may need to lose weight, be restricted from doing certain exercises, attend physical therapy, take supplements for their joints, or take anti-inflammatory medicine. In some cases, the veterinarian may recommend your dog for surgery. There are multiple types of surgery that can be done for a dog with hip dysplasia. The type of surgery that your dog gets will be based on various factors including the severity of their condition. Hip dysplasia is a very painful condition. If you think that your dog has hip dysplasia, it is important to take them to the veterinarian’s office. They can assess your dog and perform tests to see if your dog has this condition.

If your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, there are some treatments that can be given to help them feel better and to be in less pain. Not every dog is treated the same way. It may depend on how severe your dog’s condition is at the time. If a treatment isn’t working well to manage your dog’s pain, the veterinarian can always try something else.

One thing that dog owners should be worried about if they aren't already is the risk of their dog experiencing hip dysplasia. Typically owners of larger dogs are concerned about this, but unfortunately, it can happen in any size dog. That being said, all dog owners should be aware of this disease, how it works, and what can be done about it. 

What is Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

Dog hip joints function similarly to humans, where they have a ball and socket that rotates to allow for movement of the legs. With hip dysplasia, this ball and socket joint are malformed and now cause friction by rubbing together incorrectly when the dog is moving. Over time this wears down the joint leading to a decrease or eventually a total loss of joint function. 

Genetics play a strong role in the development of hip dysplasia in certain breeds of dog. As stated earlier, this can happen in any size dog. However, it is seen more commonly in larger breeds such as Great Danes and German Shepards. It's believed that this is related to how fast larger breeds tend to grow compared to the smaller ones. Facts like the dog's weight and amount of exercise they get regularly are also relevant.

What Symptoms Will My Dog Show if They Have Hip Dysplasia?

Sometimes the signs of this will begin to show up when your dog is still young. Puppies are typically hyperactive and full of energy, but with this condition, you may notice a significant decrease in your puppy's amount of physical activity as well as their range of motion. You may also notice them begin to walk funny, which is often referred to as a "bunny hopping" gait. If you begin to notice any of these signs in your dog its best that you make your vet aware of them. 

What Can I Do to Prevent Hip Dysplasia in My Dog?

Unfortunately, sometimes there isn't much that can be done to combat this genetic deformity. Often, veterinarians can start a puppy who is at high risk for this on a special diet that is meant for large breeds of dogs to help avoid this issue in the long run. The purpose of this diet is to try and inhibit the overall excessive growth that occurs in larger breeds when they are young. 

Poor diet and exercise habits are also significant factors that can contribute to the development or avoidance of hip dysplasia in your dog. Being overweight or exercising too much can do a number on your dog's joints over time. Talk to your vet if you have concerns about your dog developing hip dysplasia, and surely they can advise you on the best diet and exercise regimen for your dog's joint health. 


Don't let this information frighten you, as a dog can live a long and fulfilling life with this condition. Especially with the correct treatment regimen in place. Your vet will be able to guide you on what treatment options would be best for your canine companion, to give him a long and happy life with you. 

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