What Is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition whereby a dog’s hip joint is not formed properly and tends to be too loose. Because of this, the leg bone has too much movement, resulting in daily wear and tear on the hip joint and unpleasant pain for your unfortunate friend. The extent of the condition varies from one dog to another with some dogs having very mild symptoms and others needing pain medication and other treatment. If you notice that your dog is particularly stiff when he gets up, tends to limp or bunny hop, or is hesitant about climbing stairs or exercising, then take him to your veterinarian to have him checked for hip dysplasia.

When Do Dogs Develop Hip Dysplasia and how is it Diagnosed?
Hip dysplasia can develop in dogs as young as five months or in dogs approaching their final years. Whilst there is no fixed rule and every dog is different, the majority of cases of hip dysplasia appear in dogs who are in the middle to later years. Diagnosis of hip dysplasia includes a physical examination by a veterinarian, which is then followed up with a radiograph and manual tests to verify the diagnosis.
All breeds are susceptible to this condition, but larger breeds of dogs are more prone to develop hip dysplasia. In particular, breeds such as Great Danes, St Bernards, German Shepherds, Retrievers, and Rottweilers are more prone than smaller breeds. However, any breed, including smaller poodle hybrids like Cockapoos, and especially larger hybrids like Labradoodles or Goldendoodles, can suffer from hip dysplasia. Do not let your guard down and ignore warning signs of hip dysplasia simply because it is less common in your dog’s breed. As with any disease, the earlier hip dysplasia is caught and treatment is begun, the better the outcome.
How Can Hip Dysplasia Be Treated?
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition and as such there is no preventative medication. There are options available for treating hip dysplasia, the most drastic being complete hip replacement. Other treatments include massage, pain-relieving medication, joint supplements and anti-inflammatory medication. Such measures should also be coupled with a balanced diet and a concerted effort to maintain your dog’s weight in a healthy range. If your dog is overweight it will add unnecessary stress to his joints, causing him additional pain. It is also good to make sure your dog’s sleeping area is always warm and dry so as not to aggravate his sensitive joint condition.
Should Dogs with Hip Dysplasia Exercise?
Moderate exercise can be part of your balanced treatment of your dog’s hip dysplasia because strong muscles around the hip joint will help to alleviate the condition. Avoid running for long distances or exercises which involve jumping, since these will put strain on the hip joints. Instead, include regular walking and a moderate amount of running as part of a daily and weekly routine. If possible, include swimming sessions in your dog’s routine, as it is an exercise which does not put too much strain on the joints.
What Else Can I Do To Ease My Dogs Pain?
Try massaging the muscles around the hip joint to see if it eases your dog’s aches. Rub gently with your fingers, using a slow, circular motion. See how your dog responds, and if he shows any display of pain or irritation then stop.
Make sure your dog’s environment is as hip-friendly as possible. Look into buying an orthopedic bed for your dog. Consider laying down alternative flooring on any slippery floors in the home. Your dog will find it much easier to walk on carpets, especially when he needs to climb stairs. Provide a carpeted ramp to enable him to climb up into the car. Pamper him with a warm water bottle, especially on cold or damp days.
Seek out more advice from your veterinarian about what you can do to alleviate your dog’s pain.