Signs of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Signs of Hip Dyslpasia in Dogs
Signs of Hip Dyslpasia in Dogs

The hip joint is one of the most important joints in your dog’s pelvis to allow movement. Hip dysplasia is a serious and fairly common problem in some dog breeds as they age.

Whenever your dogs play, walk or run, their hip joints bear heavy pressure.

It happens with the load of the body during their movement.

Therefore, sound functioning of the hip joint is essential for your dog’s painless, perfect movement.

In this guide you will learn:

  • how canine hip dysplasia develops
  • 12 signs and symptoms to look out for 
  • 5 dog breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia
  • if hip dysplasia is painful for dogs
  • 5 ways to ease the hip joint pain
  • gentle exercises to help keep your dog’s joints mobile
  • if you can walk a dog with hip dysplasia
  • 7 things to reduce the chance of getting hip dysplasia

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Sometimes, the hip joint, formed between the femur and pelvic bone, undergoes abnormal growth.

The socket and ball of the hip joint start to grow improperly and cause significant pain. This condition is known as hip dysplasia. 

Being a dog owner, it is vital to have information about it.

In this article, we will provide a complete guide on canine hip dysplasia.

What are the signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs?

Whether you have young dogs or seniors, both have chances to fall prey to canine hip dysplasia. 

Moreover, it develops with the combination of osteoarthritis.

Dogs show symptoms at the age of four months mostly. You can identify this degenerative joint disease by following signs.

  1. Decreased activity
  2. Abnormal sitting postures
  3. Difficulty in rising, jumping, running, or climbing stairs
  4. Limping in both or one leg
  5. Skinny hips
  6. Bunny Hopping (especially going down a set of stairs)
  7. Reluctance to walk
  8. Reduced thigh muscle mass
  9. Considerable enlargement of the shoulder muscles for compensating for the hind end
  10. Chronic Hip Pain
  11. Stiffness or Lameness
  12. Cracking or popping sound in dog’s hip joint

What Dog Breeds Have A Higher Than Average Rate Of Hip Dysplasia Developing?

Hip dysplasia in dogs is quite common.

Some larger dogs have a higher risk of suffering from this problem either genetically or through arthritis.

The following breeds are more prone to suffer from severe hip dysplasia than others. 

German Shepherd

German shepherds are most likely to suffer from canine hip dysplasia.

This large breed dog faces mobility issues more often than others due to its unique physique.

If you own a german shepherd, you should be careful about hip problems from the beginning. 

You can keep your German shepherds safe from this problem by giving them a healthy diet and adequate exercise. 


Most of the time, the problem starts when your Rottweilers begin to walk oddly.

This abnormal gait leads to damage to the hind leg and hip socket of dogs.

It is the best time to get an appointment with your Veterinarian.

Early diagnosis of hip dysplasia leads to better chances of recovery.

Golden Retriever 

symptoms of hip dysplasia

Golden retrievers are vulnerable to developing dog hip dysplasia.

The risk enhances over time.

You should pay appropriate attention to your older dogs’ gait.

Take timely measures if you notice one or more signs of hip dysplasia.

French Bulldog 

French bulldogs have poor joints from their early ages, including the knee, hip, and elbow.

Therefore, a variety of physical complications, including hip dysplasia, are found in French bulldogs.

You should watch your dog for signs of canine hip dysplasia to avoid any problematic circumstances regarding hip laxity.


Mobility problems can arise in boxers at any age of life.

You must be careful when playing with boxers, making sure you don’t exert any pressure on his joints. 

Is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs Painful?

Hip dysplasia is a serious problem that creates chronic pain in dogs.

Dogs are unable to walk due to pain in their hips and show lameness. 

Increased bone friction leads to inflammation that becomes a cause of pain in dogs.

Sometimes, their hip joints swell, and arthritis also develops in their later life. 

All the above-mentioned situations are very painful and can reduce your four-legged friends’ lives.

How do I make my dog comfortable with hip dysplasia?

From dog lifestyle modification to surgical procedures, you should do everything to give comfort to your dogs.

If hip dysplasia is not severe in your dog and does not require surgical treatment, some of the following techniques can be used.  

  • Help your dog lose weight to reduce pressure on the hips
  • Physical Therapy
  • Use a Joint Supplement 
  • Moderate Exercise
  • Joint Fluid Modifier

These are equally beneficial for dogs having osteoarthritis. 

On the other hand, if your dog is strong enough to bear hip dysplasia surgery and it is necessary, your veterinarian can consider one of the three most common surgical treatments.

  • Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (dpo and tpo surgery)
  • Femoral head ostectomy (fho surgery)
  • Total hip replacement (thr surgery)

Gentle Exercises For Dogs With Hip Dysplasia

hip dysplasia dog

For the physical therapy of dogs, you should know the best exercises which assist in circulating joint fluid to keep joints active.

Exercise helps your dog recover from hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. 

First of all, try to provide swimming opportunities for your dog because this is excellent joint exercise.

Your dog will be able to enjoy this exercise without any pain.

Utilize an underwater treadmill if a canine rehabilitation facility exits in your area.

Aside from gentle exercise and motion, warm water also gives calm to their joints. 

After giving an anti-inflammatory medication, try plain old walking with your dog. 

For developing more placement ability, explore uneven surfaces with soft touch-ups.

Besides the walk, don’t encourage your dog to jump or run for a long distance. 

Should you walk a dog with hip dysplasia?

Normally it is advised that you should take your dog for a walk for at least twenty minutes on a daily basis.

Their joints will get strength from this mild exercise plan.

This advice is not applicable to all dogs as the severity of the problem varies in individual dogs. 

Avoid taking your dog out for a walk if lameness is severe. 

You should consult your vet for advice related to hip dysplasia. He may recommend you the best exercise plan for your dogs. 

Is there a way to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs?


Proper care in feeding and exercise results in a longer and healthier life for your dog.

This not only results in improved quality of life but also helps your dog avoid some serious problems like hip dysplasia.

First of all, select a breed that has a lesser predisposition to hip dysplasia.

Below are some measures that you can take to help your dog avoid hip dysplasia. 

  1. Provide a healthy diet to your dogs. It will help them develop strong joints and bones. 
  2. Try to eliminate obesity in your dogs.
  3. You can take your dog for a daily walk or exercise.
  4. This will reduce the risk of your dog developing other health problems.
  5. As a responsible dog owner, you should get a dog from a reputable breeder.
  6. Make sure they conduct screening tests such as radiographs to rule out any deformity and congenital defects. 
  7. When you have a senior dog, take him to the vet for regular check-ups.

More Reading: Dog Food Nutrition: What to Give and What to Avoid?

People Also Ask:

Is there a genetic test for hip dysplasia when buying a puppy?

A genetic test is used to evaluate the risk of hip dysplasia, but it lacks validation currently.

Experimental results have been encouraging, but they haven’t been used by vets and breeders.

If you want to rule out hip dysplasia when buying a young dog, you should go for screening tests.

Many screening tests are available to recognize this problem at an early age.

Radiographic examination is the best way to confirm or rule out hip dysplasia in a young dog. 

Is CBD oil good for hip dysplasia in dogs?

CBD oil is one of the best options to for improving dog joint and dog pelvis health.

If your dog has hip dysplasia, CBD can prove beneficial.

Chronic joint pain, hip pain, and inflammatory pain are also alleviated with CBD oil.

The major advantage of CBD over conventional treatments is that it has the least adverse effects, even if it is used over a long period. 

Final Thoughts:

Unfortunately, I have had the experience of seeing my childhood dog, a labrador named Sam, suffer from this condition when he became a senior dog. Every night he had to bunny hop down the stairs to get to his bed. He still enjoyed his daily walk with my mum but he was always a little stiff in the mornings.

It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs.

If your dog displays any of these 12, you should take him or her to a veterinarian for an evaluation as soon as possible.

The sooner they are treated, the better their chances for recovery.

One way that can help with joint pain caused by canine hip dysplasia is regular exercise; gentle exercises like swimming will keep joints mobile which reduces swelling and inflammation while also easing soreness.



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