How to Prevent Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

How to Prevent Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

There are several ailments that the average dog suffers from. Some are common, others, are not so common. One of the many common ailments that dogs suffer from is Hip Dysplasia. This ailment affects various types of dogs and affects about 15% of dogs. Although all breeds of dogs are affected by hip dysplasia, bigger breeds seem more affected.

Beyond the fact that hip dysplasia affects larger dog breeds, it is also an ailment that is hereditary. Since this ailment is hereditary, one would naturally expect it to affect every dog that has it as a part of its genetic makeup. Well, it really does not always work this way. With the right actions, the progression of this disease can always be shortened. That’s not all. Its symptoms can be managed. Additionally, it is possible to delay its onset.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a problem of the hip joint. In this ailment, the hip joint begins to malfunction which goes a long way in making movement painful and difficult.

Based on general anatomy, there should be the perfect symmetry between the ball and socket of a dog’s hip joint. In as much as this is usually the case, with hip dysplasia, there is an anomaly. This is generally caused by the unequal growth rate of the ball and socket. Although many of the parts could grow faster, more often than not, the growth of the socket is slower.

Since the ball might be growing faster than the socket, in a fairly short while, it might be difficult for the ball to fit into the socket. Additionally, if the socket grows faster than the ball, the ball might become too small to fit into the socket. Regardless of what the exact cause of the issue might be, the hip joint becomes loose.

When there is a lack of balance between the ball and socket, the body makes some attempts at fixing this lack of symmetry. This way, it forms a hard bony material in the joint. Although the aim of this material is to remedy the deformity, it could end up making things worse.

What are the Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia?

There is a lot to look out for before concluding that a dog has hip dysphasia. Some symptoms of hip dysplasia are;

  • Weakness in the back limps and hips. It is easy to spot this when the dog sways while standing or moving.
  • The expression of pain by your dog during movement.
  • A decrease in thigh muscle mass and an increase in shoulder muscles. This increase in shoulder muscles occurs because the shoulder actually attempts to make up for the inefficiency associated with the hind limbs.
  • Dogs with hip dysplasia are known to have a wobbly movements. This movement is usually accompanied by a click. This sound can be traced to the clicking of joints.
  • The dog begins to exhibit an abnormal gait. Also, its range of motion reduces.

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Causes of Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is not an ailment that can be attributed to one causative factor. It has quite a number of causes. Below are some of the causes of hip dysplasia in dogs


If a dog gets injured in the tendons, muscles, or ligaments of its hip joint, there could be a misalignment in the joint. Also, the ball and socket of the joint could also degenerate.

Why is this so?

An injury to any part of your dog’s hip will bring about damage in its hips’ support structure and this will make it difficult for it to move.

In as much as this is a major reason dogs could have hip dysplasia, it is one of the reasons that are mostly avoidable. You can easily prevent hip dysplasia from injuries by ensuring that your dog does not get injured. So, if you know of activities that could get your dog injured in the hips, you will need to ensure that your dog does not take part in them.

Environmental Issues

Hip dysplasia can be caused by frequent movements and tough lifestyle patterns. A simple example of this is dogs were not built to always climb up the stairs. So, if you have a puppy that always has to climb up the stairs, it just could get injured in the hips.

If you suspect your dog is already slightly injured in the hips, ensure it does not take part in activities like Frisbee. Additionally, you should ensure a dog with slightly bad hips does not take part in jumping, as well as lots of high impact exercises.

The Wrong Nutrition

The food that a dog is given goes a long way in helping it lead a healthy lifestyle. It could also play a major role in making it affected by hip dysplasia. Certain foods help a dog stay fit. In the same vein, some foods make a dog obese and these foods could contribute significantly towards hip dysplasia.

Dogs that are overweight usually have excess pressure on their hip joint. This extreme pressure brings about an increase in friction in the ball of the femur.

Hip Dysplasia is Genetic

There are various factors that could lead to hip dysplasia in dogs. Genetics is the most significant of these factors. If a dog already has the gene of hip dysplasia, it could easily pass it on to its offspring. So, regardless of how careful you are with your dog, if it has this ailment in its gene, it could develop hip dysplasia in about a year or two.

Furthermore, hip dysplasia is more prominent in large breeds as compared to smaller breeds.

Read also: How to Stop Dog from Digging under Fence – Well-Detailed

How Can Hip Dysplasia be prevented?

Now that you know the various causes of hip dysplasia in dogs, the next step is preventing issues of hip dysplasia. While a lot of causes of hip dysplasia in dogs can be prevented, it is important to note that not every cause of hip dysplasia in dogs can be prevented. Regardless of the fact that you cannot prevent every single cause of hip dysplasia in dogs, the right actions can go a long way in reducing the effect of hip dysplasia on your dog.

That being said, below are some actions that can help you prevent hip dysplasia in your dog.

Carry Out Tests for Hip Dysplasia Early

If you do not form the habit of examining your dog early enough, you just might find out that it has issues with hip dysplasia late. To ensure you are not blown away by any issues of hip dysplasia in your dog, you will need to carry out frequent tests.

With regular tests, you will easily be able to decipher if your dog has issues with hip dysplasia. In as much as frequent tests can go a long way in helping you discover your dog’s likelihood of being affected with hip dysplasia, you will need to carry out additional tests to decipher how bad its issue of hip dysplasia is.

If you have a dog that does not seem to be at risk of being affected with hip dysplasia, it really might not seem like you need to test it. On the other hand, if you have a dog breed that is at risk of being affected by hip dysplasia, you will be doing yourself and your dog a major favour by testing for hip dysplasia.

Once your test result is out, you can consult your vet and come up with a suitable lifestyle for your dog.

Try Not to Neuter your Dog Too Early

Neutering a dog a little too early can go a long way in making it develop hip dysplasia. According to a series of researches, when dogs get neutered in their first year, their likelihood of developing hip dysplasia is two times more than that of those that remain intact sexually. There could be several reasons for this. However, one major reason is after neutering, dogs seem to experience a growth sprout that makes them increase in weight.

So, if you are looking to avoid issues of hip dysplasia in a dog, you might want to avoid neutering it. Also, if you must neuter it, you might want to delay this a bit.

Give Your Dog the right Supplements for a Healthy Joint

When dogs are given the right supplements for their joints daily, the likelihood that they will be affected with hip dysplasia reduces significantly. Since this is the case, when giving your dog its regular meals, you will need to add mineral and vitamin supplements to its meal. Vitamin C and E can go a long way in strengthening your dog’s joints.

When looking to add supplements to your dog’s meals, you should not just go ahead and add any supplements. To ensure things turn out perfectly, you will need to get in touch with your vet. This way, you can get the right dosage. As soon as you are sure of the right dosage, do not hesitate to make supplements available to your dog daily.

Ensure You Puppies do Not Exercise Excessively

Excessive exercise in older dogs might not be much of a problem. However, it can be a major issue in puppies. Lots of dog owners might be of the notion that getting their puppies to exercise frequently will make them stronger and less destructive. Well, the fact is if puppies exercise too frequently, there could be some damage to their hip joint

So, to ensure your puppy does not develop issues with its hips, you might want to stay careful when making it exercise.

Give Your Dog the Right Meals

Giving your dog the right supplements can go a long way in keeping its various joints healthy. However, the right supplements just are not good enough. In addition to giving your dog the right supplements, you should also give it the right diet.

It is common knowledge that dogs that have a healthy weight and body mass will have delayed issues with hip dysplasia. Since the right meals can go a long way in helping your dog have a healthy weight, you will be able to significantly prevent hip dysplasia if it is properly fed.

Choose the Right Breeder

There are various dog breeders that you can get a dig from. Also, these different breeders have different priorities. Some dog breeders give a lot of attention to a dog’s health. Others might not care so much about how healthy a dog’s joints are.

Dog breeders that give attention to a dog’s hips and joints make it a habit to look back into there to four generations of a dog. This way, it is possible to tell if a dog has a huge tendency of developing hip dysplasia. When this is discovered, the right steps can be taken to delay this occurrence or prevent it totally.

Ensure You Dog’s Skeletal System Stays Healthy

The most important step in preventing hip dysplasia in dogs is by ensuring your dog’s skeletal system is healthy. This can be achieved by giving your dog the right and adequate nutrition.

When a dog feeds right, its bones stay strong and healthy. Also, issues of obesity can be avoided.

Treating Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Although hip dysphasia can be prevented in dogs, there are times, it just might be impossible to prevent one. In this situation, you will need to opt for treatments.

There are quite a number of ways to treat hip dysplasia in dogs. Popular among them are;

  • Surgical interventions
  • Hip braces
  • Therapeutic management.


Issues of hip dysplasia in dogs can make them quite handicapped. If this happens to a dog that is more than just a pet but can be considered a part of the family, then, you might almost feel like a member of your family is handicapped. To avoid such a situation, you will have to go the extra mile to ensure that your dog maintains a very healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Rebecca Black

Dr. Rebecca Black is an absolute gem of a Veterinarian. She brings decades of experience to Handy Pets Guide and has overflowing talent and passion for breeding and caring for pets, their people, and the team around her. Dr. Sophia was born and raised in Columbiana, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After earning her DVM from The Ohio State University in 1980. She has experience of over 3 decades and is very happy to share them. Her goal is to give pets all over the world a better life and to recommend the best tips, advice, and also recommend the best product for every pet owner.

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