How to Prevent Hip Dysplasia In Dogs? Symptoms, Reasons, and Treatment

Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects how the hip joint functions. It can be caused by an injury, obesity, or genetics. In this article we will talk about how to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs and how it can affect their quality of life. We will also discuss how to treat hip dysplasia in dogs with medication and surgery if necessary.

Here we will talk about how to prevent this from happening by educating you on what it is, how to diagnose it, and how to treat it!

What is hip dysplasia in dogs?

Hip dysplasia is a painful and often debilitating condition in dogs that affects the hip joint. It’s most common in large breeds, such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers, but it can affect any dog breed, including smaller or toy breeds like Poodles. Hip dysplasia typically happens when the ball of the femur (the thigh bone) doesn’t fit snugly into the socket of the pelvis (hip). The result is pain and stiffness on one or both sides of their hips while walking or running. Dogs with hip dysplasia are at an increased risk for osteoarthritis which will progress over time if not treated. 

There are three grades for hip dysplasia:

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe

Hip dysplasia is graded from mild to severe based on how much joint pain your dog has during his lifetime. The severity level affects the treatment plan which may include x-rays, supplements and medications to help with inflammation.

Dogs with hip dysplasia often have difficulty jumping up on furniture or climbing stairs because their hind legs cannot support their weight well enough. They may also exhibit an unusual gait when walking compared to other dogs who do not suffer from this condition. 

Reasons of hip dysplasia in dogs

Hip dysplasia is a condition that occurs when the hip joint becomes afflicted with arthritis, or when the ball of the femur (thighbone) slips out of place. This can happen for many reasons including injury, obesity and heredity. In this article we will explore 4 reasons why hip dysplasia happens in dogs. 

1. Hereditary 

Dogs who have parents with hip dysplasia are more likely to develop it themselves because they inherit genes that make them susceptible to developing it as well as other conditions such as osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism and back problems.

2. Obesity

Dogs who become obese are at risk for canine degenerative myelopathy which often leads to hind limb paralysis and hip dysplasia.

3. Poor muscle development 

Dogs who do not engage in enough activity to strengthen their leg muscles are at risk for hip dysplasia.

4. Environment 

Environmental factors like being overweight are also possible causes for how hip dysplasia develops as well as excessive jumping on hard surfaces or slippery floors which can lead to joint pain and inflammation.

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Treatment of hip dysplasia in dogs

There is no cure or standard treatment protocol that works on all dogs with hip dysplasia. In this article we will discuss how your veterinarian may use medication to reduce inflammation, how he or she may use surgery to repair the damage in your dog’s joints and how these treatments differ from one another.

The veterinarian will assess any other conditions that affect how your dog might behave such as arthritis, hypothyroidism or a back injury; this is because it can make hip dysplasia much worse.

The veterinarian will also assess how your dog is walking to see how severe the issue might be and if there are any restrictions on how they move. They may recommend putting a harness or sling around your dog’s chest area, so that their weight transfers from their hind legs onto their front paws instead. The vet may also provide an anti-inflammatory drug to relieve pain and inflammation.

Surgery is an option if the hip dysplasia continues to worsen or becomes more severe because it can repair how the ball of the femur moves within a damaged joint, as well as how your dog’s range of motion is affected by how their pelvis has shifted from its natural position. The veterinarian will take x-rays and do a physical exam to assess how severe the damage is before determining what type of surgery they think will be best.

The veterinarian may use one or more surgical procedures in order to repair your dog’s hip dysplasia, depending on how severe it is.

For example, if there isn’t much damage done but arthritis has set in, it may be enough to remove the damaged cartilage and install a prosthetic joint. But if your dog has limited range of mobility or is unstable on their feet, surgery might involve removing some bone from the hip socket as well as installing a new ball joint into its place.

From here there are two major ways to treat dogs with degenerative myelopathy. The first is pain management which can be achieved through medications, supplements and/or surgery.

The second is a stem cell transplant that replaces diseased cells in spinal cord lesions.

Surgical techniques used by vets for treating hip dysplasia in dogs

Hip dysplasia is a common condition that occurs when the ball-shaped head of the femur does not fit properly into its socket in the pelvic bone. It can affect any breed or size of dog, but large breeds are more likely to develop hip dysplasia than small dogs. Mild cases may be managed with medication and/or pain management, while severe cases may require surgery. There are many surgical techniques veterinarians use to treat hip dysplasia in dogs, including those listed below. 

Incisional Osteotomy (also called an incisional arthrodesis)

This procedure involves making an incision on one side of the joint capsule and cutting across one side of the pelvis to relieve pressure on the joint. The veterinarian will then install a bone graft taken from either the pelvis or Humerus of your dog to create space for the femur head, and fix it in place with pins.


This procedure involves making an incision into the joint capsule, flattening out any bony growths on the inside of the joint, and then closing it up with pins to stabilize the femur head in place.


A synovial membrane is removed from around your dog’s hip joint capsule to reduce inflammation or irritation of this tissue due to how close they are situated together.

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Cutting off one side of the pelvis and moving it to the other side of your dog’s hip joint, in order to increase how much space there is for the head of the femur.

Osteotomy with Arthrodesis 

This procedure involves cutting off one side of your dog’s pelvis and then fixing it back into place using a bone graft taken from either their pelvis or humerus.

Osteotomy with femoral head and neck ostectomy 

This technique involves cutting the ball-shaped end of your dog’s thigh bone (femur) off to reduce how much pressure is being put on their hip joint, as well that section of the bone will be removed from where it meets up with the ball in the socket of your dog’s hip joint.

Finally, how long recovery takes for each procedure depends on how severe the hip dysplasia was and how complicated the surgery was.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs

Hip dysplasia is a common condition that affects dogs and can be very painful. It’s important to know the symptoms of this disease so you can get your pup the help they need. 

Hip dysplasia can cause various symptoms which differ from dog to dog. Some of these symptoms include the inability to support weight, difficulty moving around and trouble getting up or down stairs. These are some of the most common ones that you will see with this condition.

The most common symptom of hip dysplasia is limping on one side of their body when they walk. Other symptoms include arthritis (swelling), stiffness, decreased range of motion, difficulty getting up from sitting or lying down, and reluctance to move.

You may also notice how their gait is considerably different than how other dogs walk.

When a veterinarian diagnoses your pup with hip dysplasia, they’ll usually recommend some sort of treatment plan depending on how bad their condition is.

How to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs

Not all types of hip dysplasia can be prevented. However you can follow some steps to reduce the chance of developing hip dysplasia in your dogs.

If it’s not due to some genetic reason, then following proper steps you can most likely reduce the chances of developing hip dysplasia in dogs.

In order to help alleviate symptoms of hip dysplasia, your veterinarian will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers as well as a diet that helps reduce weight loss for overweight pets. If surgery is necessary to repair the hip, a veterinary surgeon may recommend surgery.

The first step is prevention; there are many ways that you can do this and it all starts with your pet’s diet. If they are already showing symptoms, you should consult with your veterinarian as well to see how best to treat them.

The first thing which is very important is healthy well-balanced diet. A diet which will strengthen the skeletal system of your dogs.

Other than diet, there are some important points that you need to know. Those are mentioned below.


Exercise is important for any living creature but it is especially so for those with hip dysplasia. It is important to have a routine of how often your dog should be getting exercise, how long and what types of activities are good for their condition.

Proper weight

Keeping weight off will help reduce the stress on joints as it can cause further damage if they are constantly bearing too much pressure; this includes both diet but also exercise.

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Lack of activity

If your dog is not getting as much activity, you can take steps to get them more involved in playtime or outside activities such as walks; this will help keep their muscles strong and healthy which reduces how likely they are to have issues with hip dysplasia.

If there are other factors that are contributing to their lack of activity, such as how old they are or how many hours a day they spend inside the house alone with nothing to do, this should also be addressed.

Exercise restrictions

If your dog is on medication that restricts how much exercise they can get each day, it is important to stick within those guidelines and not push it too far.

Keep them warm

It is important to keep your dog warm in the colder months as this helps reduce how stiff their joints are and how much pain they may be feeling; hosing them off with cold water or putting ice on them can also help if you catch any issues before they get worse. 

In order to help alleviate symptoms of hip dysplasia, your veterinarian will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers as well as a diet that helps reduce weight loss for overweight pets. If surgery is necessary to repair the hip, a veterinary surgeon may recommend surgery.

Food and supplements required to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs

The most common cause of hip dysplasia in dogs is a lack of calcium and vitamin D for proper bone development. As a result, many dog owners are on the lookout for supplements to add to their pup’s diet.

Now we will go over some necessary food and supplements that can help prevent this ailment. 

Vitamin D

Studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation can significantly reduce the risk of developing hip dysplasia by up to 50%.


Calcium is also very important when it comes to skeletal health so it should be included as well. For those who want more options, there are other additives such as glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate which may provide additional benefits for joint health.


There are many types of food that can help provide your dog with the necessary amount of bone content, but it is important to note how they will react with other medications or treatments. For example, those who have undergone surgery may not be able to digest bones as well and should stick with softer options such as canned food or raw bones.

Good quality food the quality of your dog’s diet will also affect how likely they are to develop hip dysplasia; high protein, low calorie and other diets all help prevent this condition from developing.

Final thoughts

Our pets are family members, and we want to do everything in our capability to keep them happy. If your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia or is showing signs of pain when they walk, talk to your veterinarian about the different treatment options available as well as lifestyle changes that may help make life more comfortable for your pet. Whether you opt for surgery or a safer alternative – like joint supplements – find out what works best by talking directly to your vet!

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Immad Amir

Immad has a black Labrador who is his first child. With no prior experience of how to take care of his pooch, Immad started researching about what dogs love to eat. This blog is a journal of all the research Immad has done regarding a pet's diet.
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