Dog hip dysplasia is a skeletal disease that is unfortunately very common, especially among large and fast-growing dogs, like the Bulldog, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, and Rottweiler breeds.
Whether you own one of the breeds above or not, your dog can be affected by canine hip dysplasia. Knowing the signs and symptoms to watch for can save your pup a world of pain later.
Dog hip dysplasia is a painful condition that affects how a dog’s hip bone fits into its socket and can lead to osteoarthritis and a slew of other health issues. A pup affected by this disease will experience a lot of pain and trouble walking.
Severe canine hip dysplasia needs to be treated with costly surgery, but you can introduce some natural remedies for hip dysplasia in dogs at home for more mild cases.
We’ve created this guide to help you understand the disease and incorporate our hip dysplasia dog treatment so that you can help your furry friend feel like himself again.
What is hip dysplasia in dogs?
Hip dysplasia is a malformation of a puppy’s skeleton. A dog’s hip is a ball-and-socket joint, just like ours. Dysplasia happens when the ball of a pup’s hip bone doesn’t fit appropriately inside its socket, making the joint unstable and loose.
The bones move irregularly and grind on each other, which in time causes osteoarthritis, inflammation, bone damage, and loss of cartilage.
The most extreme version of canine hip dysplasia usually happens during a puppy’s significant growth phase, at 4 to 9 months of age.
This issue can also happen chronically later in a dog’s life.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia
If you notice your pupper is experiencing any of the following, take them to a vet clinic to get a proper examination and diagnosis:
- Limping and stiffness, and decreased range of motion
- Pain during movement
- Wobbly, swaying, or bunny-hopping gait
- Difficulty standing, climbing steps, and sleeping
- Reluctance to exercise
- Loss of muscle mass in the thighs and over-development of shoulder muscles as they overcompensate
Causes of canine hip dysplasia
Many factors lead to the development of hip dysplasia. Genetics play a vastly important role, but they aren’t the only determining factor. Here are a few other causes of hip dysplasia:
- Poor nutrition and muscle development
- Repetitive strain
- Pelvic injuries
How to help a dog with hip dysplasia
First, if your dog has hip dysplasia, you should take them to the vet for a full examination.
If the dysplasia is severe, your vet may determine that surgery is necessary. They might perform a total hip replacement, femoral head osteotomy, or double/triple pelvic osteotomy. These surgeries cost from $1,700 to $4,700, and the outcomes are pretty bright - chances of a full recovery are good for a pup that gets hip dysplasia surgery.
For mild to moderate hip dysplasia cases, you probably won’t need to put your pup under the knife. In these cases, you can try at home any alternative treatments we’ve outlined below to improve your dog’s condition from the comfort of home.
Is there a cure?
As this is a skeletal malformation, there is no way to cure the disease. You can treat your pup to provide pain relief and prevent further damage, especially in puppies with bodies and skeletons that are still developing.
Home remedies for hip dysplasia in dogs
Although there is no way to cure hip dysplasia, you can introduce these treatments to your doggo to help relieve symptoms and give them an excellent quality of life.
There are positive outcomes for supplementing your pup with some vitamin C during their growth stages, strengthening the connective tissue around joints and holding them in place.
Glucosamine and Omega-3 fatty acids help to lubricate joints and reduce joint inflammation.
Colloidal silver regenerates bone and tissue, while colloidal gold reduces pain and swelling.
Include as many of these supplements into your dog’s diet daily as you can.
Pet ramps and beds
If your pup suffers from hip dysplasia, you want to prevent jumping and stressful movements as much as possible. Setting up your home to make things easier on your furball’s joints reduces strain and symptoms.
Get your pup a bed ramp so that they can get on the bed and the couch, or into the car without the need to jump. This helps your dog to keep their independence, even as their mobility is limited.
Your dog will benefit from a soft, supportive dog bed to relax on to relieve sore hips and legs. You can even find special orthopedic mattresses for pups suffering from hip dysplasia.
There is research backing the effectiveness of canine massage to treat hip dysplasia. It helps to prevent muscle tightness, relieves pain, reverses muscle atrophy, and increases blood circulation.
Massage also benefits a dog’s mental health - it reduces tension and anxiety and promotes relaxation!
You can take your pup to a professional canine massage therapist or learn some basic techniques to implement yourself at home.
Take your pup to a physiotherapist, who will create a care plan specialized for the dog’s specific issues. They can also build an exercise routine for you to implement with your dog at home.
Fill a tub with warm water and a cup of Epsom salts for your dog to relax in weekly. Epsom baths provide pain relief, relax muscles, and loosen stiff joints.
These baths are especially helpful for osteoarthritis and dysplasia pain that is triggered by cold weather or water.
A certified dog acupuncturist can treat your dog for a variety of health conditions. It is especially useful for treating degenerative joint treatments like dysplasia because the needles stimulate specific acupoints to release and move blocked energy while reducing pain.
A dog’s diet can help prevent hip dysplasia and reduce the symptoms for those dogs that have already developed the condition.
Studies show that feeding a pup 24% smaller portions from 8 weeks of age reduces their chances of developing canine hip dysplasia by almost half (46%).
Homemade dog food is the best diet your dog can have, as it’s full of nutrients and antioxidant-rich veggies and fruit. Some owners have seen considerable improvements in their dog’s symptoms by switching from manufactured dog food to whole foods. If you can manage a raw or cooked diet for your pup, we highly recommend that you do!
You’ll want to keep your pup exercising regularly so that their condition doesn’t worsen, but moderating the exercise routine will be helpful.
You can help reduce the odds of your pup developing hip dysplasia by keeping them from jumping exercise before they’re 12 months old.
Swimming exercise and hydrotherapy is a great way to keep your dog’s bones and muscles healthy while almost completely removing stress on their joints.
Head over to the grass whenever possible. Keep your dog from exercising on hard surfaces to reduce high-impact stress on a dog’s hips and legs.
Final notes: Natural treatment for hip dysplasia in dogs
Hip dysplasia often doesn’t need expensive surgeries. If your dog has received a hip dysplasia diagnosis, they can live a rich, happy life, mostly pain-free.
Although there is no cure for this genetic disorder, you can implement some of the above therapies to see a massive improvement in your pup’s symptoms.
Always look to your vet for their professional opinion on the best strategy to treat your dog’s hip dysplasia.
Best of luck in finding some great solutions for your little one!