Hip dysplasia in dogs can lead to crippling and painful canine arthritis. Although genetics appears to play an important factor in determining whether your dog will or won’t be effected, experts are in agreement that careful management and therapy can help alleviate the severity, and therefore the pain and disability that your dog may encounter. Read on for the latest information on hip dysplasia in dogs.

Dog breeds susceptible to hip dysplasia.

Although it is possible for any dog to have hip dysplasia, there is no doubt that large and giant sized dogs are the breeds most genetically susceptible.

Following are the list of dog breeds susceptible to hip dysplasia:

  • Labradors and Golden Retrievers.
  • Rottweilers.
  • Saint Bernards.
  • German shepherds.
  • Great Danes.
  • Dobermans.
  • Mastiffs.

Interestingly enough, even though the disease is more prevalent in pure bred dogs, mixed breed dogs can suffer from hip dysplasia as well. Two dog breeds that are famous for having a much lower incidence of canine dysplasia are Borzois and Greyhounds.


Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs.

It can be terribly easy to assume that your dog is just starting to get old, but if your Rover starts showing any of the following signs it is probably a great idea to get him checked over by the vet. It is also important to note that hip dysplasia can show up in puppies as young as 5 months. Obviously the younger dogs will need careful monitoring to ensure that the hip dysplasia does not become severe canine arthritis while the dog is still young.

The following are all signs of hip dysplasia:

  • early morning stiffness.
  • unusual or stiff gait.
  • reluctance or difficulty with steps.
  • reluctance or refusal to jump in the car.
  • change in personality.
  • unable to sustain usual walking distance.
  • not so keen to retrieve anymore.
  • has taken to sleeping away from family members, or disappearing.
  • problems in getting up from lying or sitting.
  • favoring one or both rear legs.
  • displays distress at having rear leg extended.
  • displays sensitivity or pain with pressure over lower spine or hips.

Minimizing Canine Hip Arthritis.

Your dog may be susceptible to hip dysplasia, but research has proven that the severity of the disease can be dramatically reduced by practicing many of the following:


Exercise has been shown to be effective in helping to reduce the severity of arthritis in the hips of dogs with hip dysplasia. Regular exercise not only helps to keep the pounds down, but will also keep your dog’s muscle mass up. It would appear that dogs with strong muscle mass around their lower backs and hips seem to suffer less than dogs with weaker muscles.

Weight management

The link between canine arthritis and obesity is well established. The more excess pounds your dog has to lug around, the more stressed his hips are becoming and the worse his arthritis will be. This does not mean you have to starve your dog, but you are ultimately responsible for how much pain and suffering your dog will go through. Ignore the pleading eyes and feed your dog responsibly.

Check ups

Having a regular visit to the vet can ensure that your dog can start receiving early treatments if he needs it. By the time your dog starts displaying symptoms to you he is already in pain. Your vet will also be able to ensure that your dog is in a healthy weight range.

Treatments for dog arthritis.

Once Rover has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia or canine arthritis, all is not lost. There are many treatments, supplements, and aids that you can utilize to ensure that he is still having a good and comfortable quality of life.

Water exercise

For those dog breeds who love the water, like the Labradors and Golden Retrievers, water exercise can be a win-win situation. Your dog is able to continue exercising, maintaining muscle mass, and burning up calories, while participating in an enjoyable activity. Not only that, the water will act as a buffer for those sore joints taking some off the load off, and will also act as resistance for a bit of a muscle work out. Aqua aerobics for your pooch!


Dogs with sore joints deserve a comfortable dog bed. Well made orthopedic dog beds are designed to take the stress off your dog’s lower back and hips. Make sure that your dog does not have to sleep in a draft and that he is nice and warm. The cold and damp make every one’s inflamed joints hurt more, including Rover’s. See these examples of dog beds.


A good quality diet that is low in calories will be important in keeping Rover’s weight in the healthy range. If your dog is a little porky try cutting out the snacks first. It can be amazing how many additional calories all those tasty little treats can contain.


Your dog will be much more comfortable if he is kept warm and out of the damp. You may need to invest in a dog jumper if you live somewhere cold, or let him sleep by the fire or a heater in the cooler months. Any dog owners out there with arthritis themselves will know already how much more painful your joints can become in winter. Rover is no different.


Once Rover can no longer master the steps, or jumping into your vehicle, you may want to think about a portable dog ramp. These will allow your dog to still get around independently without you having to lift him. This can be an important factor if you have a medium to large sized dog when saving your own lower back from strain and injury.



Glucosamine for dogs has become a popular and well used hip dysplasia treatment. Dog supplements containing the combination of glucosamine chondroitin seem to work best.  These are natural ingredients that seem to have no ill effects and have been used for many years with great success on humans. The glucosamine actually helps to restore the cartilage in your dog’s joints, which helps increase mobility and decrease pain.

Two things of importance to note about glucosamine. Firstly, it does not seem to work so well if it is heated up. If Rover has a hot dinner, wait until it cools or alternatively feed it to Rover straight off the dispenser. The fishy smell seems to make it more tasty for your dog. Secondly, you need to ensure that the supplement you are purchasing has a high quality of glucosamine in it. Many products out there do not have a high percentage of glucosamine in them. Also, your supplement should last you at least 1 month. Try this page for starters and read up on Glucosamine.

Other drugs. Glucosamine is generally the first treatment for dog arthritis. However, more severe cases may need additional dog medicines. Glucosamine can take up to 6 weeks to work, so if Rover is still in pain after this then you may need to revisit the vet for something a little stronger. Much like humans, there are NSAID’s and corticosteroids that can also be utilized for the more serious cases. If your dog needs these treatments be sure to discuss the correct dosages, methods of administration, and possible complications.


Many breeds of dog are susceptible to hip dysplasia. By following a few simple rules you can ensure that your dog may only suffer from a mild case of canine arthritis. If your dog should be displaying any signs of hip dysplasia there are many dog supplements, dog medicines, and dog aids to make your best friend’s life more comfortable and less painful.