Hip problems are extremely common in dogs. Even though larger dogs are affected more, hip problems such as hip dysplasia can impact any dog.
Most dogs will start to see hip problems as they get older. This is why taking care of your dog at that age is super important. Hip problems in dogs can reduce their quality of life. And it can be extremely demoralizing and painful to watch your pet suffer.
Some cases are mild, but other more serious cases need to be addressed. With the right education and taking the proper actions, you can prevent your pup from suffering from hip pain. Use this source as a guide to preventing pain from taking over your dog’s life.
What is Hip Dysplasia?
The most common hip problem found in dogs is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition that can affect any size dog but is more common in larger breeds. Think of your dog’s hip joint like a ball and socket, if it doesn’t fit properly due to lack of development or injury, it can cause the loose joint to move around too much, causing irritation and pain. Your dog could even suffer from loss of function over time from deteriorating.
What Causes Hip Problems in Dogs
There are many factors that come into play causing hip problems in dogs. Unfortunately, some dogs are prone to hip problems due to their genetics as it is a hereditary issue. Excessive growth weight, lack of proper nutrition, and lack of exercise are also causes. Weight plays a big role. Obesity causes many health problems and can cause extra stress on your dog’s joints.
Breeds Prone to Hip Problems
Larger dog breeds such as Great Danes, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, Boxers, and Labrador Retrievers are known to deal with hip problems. These large and active dogs tend to have a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia later on in life.
Smaller breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs also commonly suffer from hip problems.
- German Shepherds – These strong and active pups tend to see hip problems as they are, usually around the age of 7.
- Rottweilers – Rottweilers are also strong dogs, so when they suffer from hip problems, it is very noticeable as they will walk oddly and lean in one direction.
- Golden Retrievers – Hip problems are a heredity issue for Golden Retrievers and the risk increases as they age. This is why this breed needs to be monitored at all stages of their life.
- Saint Bernards – Saint Bernards are known to easily become obese, so this breed needs their weight to be monitor very closely.
- Boxers – Boxers are very active so long-term issues with their hips can cause additional issues.
- Pugs – Pugs are at high risk for developing hip problems earlier in life.
- French Bulldogs – These dogs have a unique shape, which can sometimes cause hip problems. Make sure to be on the lookout for symptoms early on.
How to Prevent Hip Problems in Dogs
Since hip dysplasia can’t often be a hereditary issue, it can’t always be prevented. And if the issue is serious enough, surgical options will need to be considered such as a complete hip replacement. This is actually a great and safe option for healthy and younger pups.
Even though it is not preventable, a healthy diet, a consistent exercise routine, and supplements can help relieve the pain and manage the condition for your pet.
Dog Treats for Hips
Nutrition is important for a healthy dog! There is a special food that is formulated for breeds who suffer from hip dysplasia and prevent excessive growth.
Also, be mindful of what you are feeding your pup and how much you are feeding them. Remember, extra weight puts extra stress on your dog’s joints, magnifying the issue.
Glucosamine is a joint supplement safe for dogs. It comes in a delicious and convenient treat form that your dog will love!
Best Dog Exercises for Healthy Hips
An active dog is a happy dog. Talk with your veterinarian about creating a customized exercise program for your dog as every breed is different. Certain breeds will need to strengthen the muscles around the hip joint to eliminate pain.
Start with a 20-minute walk, twice a day. Make sure your dog avoids jumping and running long distances. And always avoid exercising on hard surfaces.
Swimming is actually a great exercise for your dog and can help with hip problems as well. Like a form of physical therapy.
Other Preventative Treatments
On top of a healthy diet and exercise, there are other things you can do to help your dog find comfort.
- Apply a warm water bottle for 15 minutes twice a day to the area.
- Massage the muscles around the joint in a circular motion.
- Avoid damp and chilly weather as it can make symptoms worse.
- Apply traction on slippery floors and use carpet around the house.
- Help them in and out of the car.
- Get them an orthopedic bed.
- Anything you can do to help them find comfort!
Dog Hip Pain Symptoms
Some symptoms of hip problems in dogs are mild and some don’t even show symptoms. But some dogs experience severe symptoms.
Hip dysplasia can develop at any time, sometimes even puppies suffer from it. But most of the time, hip problems worsen as dog’s age. Some dogs start to experience symptoms in the middle years of their life, but it is most common to see it in their later years. It is also common for hip problems to up with osteoarthritis.
Signs of Hip Problems in Dogs
Most signs of hip problems are pretty noticeable, especially with active dogs. Some breeds are more prone to hip problems such as Boxers. If you are thinking of getting a Boxer, make sure you know what to expect for first time Boxer owners.
If your dog shows decreased activity, is having a hard time getting up, or even resisting to jump or run, they most likely are suffering from pain in their hips.
Other symptoms include limping, stiffness, decreased range of motion, loss of thigh muscle mass, and enlargement of shoulders.
Always pay attention to the way your dog moves, the way they walk, and the way they get up. If your dog has an issue, you will need to develop a lifelong mobility health strategy.
At the first sign of these symptoms, always visit a veterinarian to get diagnosed and start a plan. With a physical exam, radiographs, and other tests on the hips, your veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose your dog’s hip problems.
Surgery may be the only option, but always try other things such as a healthy diet, exercise, and physical therapy.
Your dog is your best friend and you want to make sure you are doing everything in your power to make sure they are living their best life!