The Best Prevention For Hip Dysplasia In Dogs

No dog owner wants to hear words like hip dysplasia, right? Or you might encounter terms like developmental dysplasia of the hip or DDH. They mean the same. 

This is a common condition affecting many dogs. In fact, nearly 16% of all canines suffer from hip dysplasia, particularly giant breeds. 

Unfortunately some dogs can’t avoid this condition. Hopefully, not everything is lost, and instead of treating hip dysplasia, you can prevent this condition. This will ensure your pet has an active and happy life, even if they manage to develop this bone disorder. 

Let’s take a closer look at how hip dysplasia happens and what are your prevention and treatment options.  

What is hip dysplasia in dogs? 

This condition affects hip joints, making it painful and challenging for dogs to walk. The hip consists of a ball and socket and these two need to fit perfectly. But when canines develop hip dysplasia, the ball and socket don’t grow at equal rates.

Either the ball is too big to fit the socket or the socket becomes too deep while the ball remains small. This results in a loose hip joint, accelerating tear and wear and pain. 

In some cases, the canine’s body will try to repair this malformation by creating a hard body material but this makes things even worse and might lead to more unevenness. 

The common symptoms include: 

  • Abnormal gait with limited motions
  • Hesitation when lying or sitting down
  • Won’t climb the stairs 
  • Unstable on legs
  • Thigh muscle mass decreases while shoulder muscle mass increases, trying to compensate for the loss in the legs
  • Clear signs of pain when walking
Hip Dysplasia In Dogs

What causes hip dysplasia in dogs? 


Genetics is the number one factor causing this condition to appear. A canine carrying this gene may pass it down to their young ones. In some cases they might develop DDH within two years of life. Large-sized breeds are more prone to this condition than smaller ones.  


Pet’s obesity and a particular diet type might contribute to hip dysplasia. Excessive weight will pressure your dog’s joints, resulting in more friction and eventually worsening this condition. 


Lifestyle patterns play a crucial role when it comes to DDH. For instance, if you own a house with many stairs and your pup is forced to go up and down then maybe you should avoid activities like Frisbee. 

High impact exercises and jumping aren’t recommended for canines with hip dysplasia. Regular, low-intensity exercises play a crucial role when treating this condition. Check with your vet which type of exercise to apply. 


Ligaments, tendons or muscle injury may cause ball and socket deterioration because they affect the supporting structures around the hip joint. 

Fortunately, most of them are preventable. You can take preventive measures that will significantly minimise the chances of your pet developing DDH.  

How to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs?

In some cases, it’s not possible to prevent hip dysplasia. Pet parents can employ several techniques to combat this condition, especially if they own giant breeds.

Keep their bones healthy 

This is especially important for puppies. Ensure your furry companion has proper and sufficient nutrition, this will strengthen their bones and help joints develop properly. Maintaining optimal body weight is equally important as it can help to take the pressure off the joints. 

Select a breeder who focuses on the hip health of canines they breed

We already mentioned that genetics could determine whether your pup will develop DDH or not. Breeders who take this matter very seriously will work on prevention. 

Nowadays it’s possible to check several generations of canines before you make your pick. This ensures there are no potential carriers of the gene in the bloodline. 

Establish a proper diet for your pooch 

Many studies have confirmed that maintaining a healthy body weight doesn’t only delay hip dysplasia but also decreases clinical signs linked to this bone disorder. Keeping your pet’s body weight under control will give their joints plenty of time to develop properly.

If you are dealing with an obese dog now might be the right time to adopt these measures. 

Don’t over-work your pup

Dog owners will often impose a lot of activities on their furry companions like running on the beach, jumping or taking long walks. You must fight the temptation to play catch for hours if you want to keep their joints healthy. 

Start giving them hip and joint supplements 

These are a great way to minimise the risk of DDH in canines. You can either choose food that already contains necessary vitamins and minerals or get supplements in the form of a powder. It’s a good idea to consult your vet for the appropriate dosage. 

Don’t neuter your pet when they are young

Some researchers have discovered that canines neutered in their first years are more likely to develop hip dysplasia than sexually intact pups. Neutering is connected to excessive body weight so this is something to consider, especially if your pooch is more prone to hip dysplasia. 

Perform early tests

Don’t neglect the importance of a regular physical exam. If your furry companion has already developed DDH, it’s crucial to determine the severity. Early radiography tests will either confirm or rule out the signs of hip dysplasia. 

Depending on test results, your vet will decide how to proceed further. 

The best treatment for hip dysplasia in dogs

For canines who aren’t lucky enough to avoid this bone disorder, it’s not the end of the road. Hip dysplasia is not a fatal condition and several treatments are available. 

Every time someone mentions these three words, “hip dysplasia dogs”, the first thing that comes to our mind is discomfort and pain. However, not everything is lost because there are therapeutic management options you can apply to minimise symptoms. 

Anti-inflammatory drugs are probably the first option for many pet parents. They are specifically designed for dogs with severe pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs work by reducing joint inflammation and boosting overall mobility. 

Many canine food supplements are able to promote joint health. They usually contain active components like glucosamine and chondroitin, MSM, vitamin C, L-Glutathione, grape seed extract, etc. 

Some dog owners apply alternative methods like acupuncture to ease the pain. The results will vary and depend on the pup’s overall condition. While some dogs may experience improvement, there will be no change with others.

Physical therapy is another thing you can employ to make your pet feel better. It mostly targets the pain but it’s not a permanent solution. The same goes for cold therapy, which reduces discomfort and inflammation. 

The final stage of this disease includes either getting your dog a hip brace or submitting them to surgery. 

How to choose the best hip and joint supplement for dogs

When buying these types of products, it’s essential to check the label to see what’s inside. As we mentioned previously, the two most important components are glucosamine and chondroitin. It is believed they are most effective when used together. 

While glucosamine works on repairing canines’ joints, chondroitin supports the thickness and elasticity of joint cartilage. We need to mention MSM as well, a Sulphur compound that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, helping the body repair cartilage. 

Breeds that tend to develop hip dysplasia 

Labrador Retriever

A combination of weight distribution, genetic predisposition and large body means that lovable Labs are more likely to develop DDH. Symptoms include limping, lack of interest in everyday activities and clicking sound when walking. The hip dysplasia Labrador tends to experience can be severe. 


German Shepherd

Next on our list are German Shepherds. This is another breed prone to DDH. German Shepherd hips tend to be affected later in life at around the age of seven. 

Saint Bernard

Unfortunately, this gentle giant is susceptible to a wide range of degenerative disorders due to their size. Keeping their weight in check will help you combat many diseases, including hip dysplasia. 

Golden Ret



Golden Retrievers tend to experience hip issues as well. Some dogs show signs as they age, while others have no problem until they are much older. 


This is a chondrodysplastic breed, meaning they have an unusual body shape. This puts extra strain on their joints, resulting in DDH or a severe case of osteoarthritis. 


English and French Bulldogs

Short-faced dogs or brachycephalics usually have poorly fitting joints, including hips, knees and elbows. The first symptoms can appear early in life, like limping or switching from one side to another. 

Hip dysplasia can be a challenging condition to combat. But applying preventive measures is the best way to help your pup lead a life free of pain. Whatever treatment you decide to apply, always consult a licensed vet because they know which method will generate the best results for your pooch.