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Can Dogs Live with Hip Dysplasia?

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Dogs are a unique kind of best friend, one that never says a word to you, yet life without them feels incomplete. A dog is probably the only soul on earth who loves you more than himself. For any pet owner, any medical condition that can affect their pet’s life is the greatest fear; in case of a dog, hip dysplasia is one such condition. Hip dysplasia is a common inherited skeletal condition that drastically alters a dog’s quality of life quality.

Sometimes, due to genetic conditions, the ball and the hip joint’s socket do not develop as they should, which causes them to scrape instead of sliding smoothly. This causes the bone to deteriorate over time, thus bringing great pain and discomfort for your beloved pet. Although this skeletal disorder is genetic and difficult to avoid, there are some precautions and treatment plans you could follow to enable your dog to live an active, happy, and healthy life.

Causes of hip dysplasia in dogs

Although a genetically inherent condition, hip dysplasia can also be caused due to improper nutrition, environmental factors, or obesity in dogs. Unfortunately, this clinical condition cannot be prevented. But, it can be controlled and managed through proper care and treatment.

How to identify hip dysplasia in your dog?

Some dogs can develop hip dysplasia at an early age of three to four months. In older dogs, this condition might arise with age. Dog owners need to know the symptoms of hip dysplasia to take steps for its recovery. Common symptoms of hip dysplasia include:

  • Reduced activity
  • Reluctance for walking, jumping, etc.
  • Sound of rubbing of joints while walking or climbing stairs
  • Difficulty in rising after lying down
  • Diminishing thigh muscle
  • Stiffness
  • Pain or sensitivity around the hip and hind limbs
  • Limping, swaying, or bunny hopping

How to manage hip dysplasia in your dogs?

If the worst has happened and your dog has been declared suffering from hip dysplasia, do not be depressed, it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean that your dog cannot still lead an everyday, natural life. Just follow the tips to help manage hip dysplasia in your dog, and it will bring joy to your pet’s life for many more years.

It would help if you took your pup to a vet who could examine it for the severity of the disease. He may perform a physical examination or an X-ray before setting up a good regime for you and your dog.

Manage a good diet for your dog

Managing your dog’s diet is very important. You need to feed your dog the right nutrients that would help rebuild the damaged bone tissues. High iron and mineral content in the diet is also recommended. Supplements and dog food rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help your dog recover from this ailment.

Your dog’s food has to be specially formulated to meet its nutritional requirements. Since the condition may cause severe pain or inflammation, your dog’s supplements should be enriched with ingredients to relieve the pain. You will find popular joint supplements in the market, including chondroitin, green-lipped mussel, glucosamine, and various others.

Restricted Diet for weight management

Ensure that your dog does not gain more weight. Increased weight may lead to the severity of the problem. Studies show that restricted-fed dogs are 35% less prone to severe Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD). Less weight means less agony for your dog as there will be less strain on the hip joint. Restricting your dog’s diet for decreased body mass is a smart way to curb hip dysplasia.

Manage a good exercise regime

Consult your vet and set up a careful exercise routine. Low-impact short walks are highly favorable. Moreover, swimming and other hydrotherapy exercises are beneficial for dogs with hip dysplasia. Regular low-impact exercise helps your dog to regain his strength and stay active. 

Managing a regular massage regime

Although massages do not cure dogs with hip dysplasia, it provides relief to the hip joint by loosening the damaged muscles. Along with providing temporary relief, it also improves the range of motion.

Prescribed pain control medication 

Your vet can prescribe medication to your dog to help cope up with the pain and discomfort. Veterinary-approved chondroitin, glucosamine drugs always help. Besides, regular injections of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan also benefit greatly. 

Prescribed Surgical Procedure

Sometimes surgery is a feasible option in curing hip dysplasia. There are various likely alternative courses of action. Most commonly, for improved bone and joint function, either a double or triple pelvic osteotomy procedure is recommended. You also have the option of Femoral Head osteotomy, where the dog’s hip joint ball is cut off to reduce pain. Implants are also done; however, your vet will prescribe the best procedure for your dog depending upon its age, condition, breed, weight, etc. 


To sum up, hip dysplasia would not shorten the life of your pet if treated with caution. If you follow your vet’s instructions and care for your dog, there is no reason it could be robbed of a happy, active, and healthy life. So cheer-up as your bundle of joy can still fill your life with sunshine and be there for you.

Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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