Hip Dysplasia in Dogs – What You Need to Know

Pet Health


June 24, 2021

If you own a giant dog breed such as a German Shepherd or a Golden Retriever, you have to understand that your dog is at an increased risk of developing hip dysplasia. However, there is a misconception with most people thinking that this problem can occur only among large dog breeds. That’s not true; hip dysplasia in dogs can occur regardless of the animal’s size.

However, by educating yourself about the problem, you can actually make matters easier. Not only will you be able to learn about potential health conditions, but it will also go a long way in making sure that your dog remains comfortable. Responsible dog ownership is important for this reason.

What Is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition that occurs in dogs. While it’s mostly prevalent among large dog breeds, many small dogs are also at a risk of developing this condition. To understand how this works, you need to first understand how the dog’s hip joints are supposed to work.

Like humans, the hip joints in dogs consist of a socket and a ball. Dogs who suffer from hip dysplasia simply do not have a properly developed ball and socket. If the ball and socket doesn’t fit properly it tends to grind around the joint instead of moving smoothly inside.

With the passage of time, the joint starts to deteriorate, until the dog eventually loses function of the joint in its entirety. Hip dysplasia leads to several problems for dogs, making it difficult for them to move around freely. They feel a lot of pain as a result of the displacement in the hip joint.

What Causes Hip Dysplasia?

There are several factors that can cause hip dysplasia in dogs. The first and most important factor is genetics. This condition is often hereditary, and is most commonly seen in large dog breeds, such as the Labrador Retriever, the Great Dane, or the Saint Bernard.

Due to the rapid growth rate of these animals and the excessive running and exercise, the hip joint tends to deteriorate much faster in these animals. There are other things that can amplify this condition, such as improper nutrition and an overweight dog. When your dog is a puppy, you need to know that it requires specially formulated food.

The kinds of foods you can give vary depending on the dog breed. If you own a large dog breed, you will want to give foods that are formulated to reduce excessive growth in these animals. Skimping out on quality food for your dog can lead to serious problems, including not just hip dysplasia, but also elbow display and a host of other joint-related problems.

Improper Diet

By giving the animal foods that reduce its growth, you will give the dog enough time to allow its joints to develop properly. More importantly, this is going to prevent the excessive strain on the dog’s joints, thus making sure that the animal is able to grow without having to worry about developing these problems down the line.

Improper nutrition and diet are a serious problem and can greatly increase the chances of developing hip dysplasia. If you feed your dog a random diet and give it whatever it asks for, you are simply accelerating the animal’s growth. As a result of that, your dog is going to grow at a much faster rate, and it’s going to prevent its joints from developing properly.

You might want to talk to your vet to figure out the best diet that you should give to your dog. Vets have considerable experience and will guide you about the best things to feed your dog.

Too Much Exercise

Dogs love to run around. Large dog breeds require endless amounts of exercise, but you have to understand that there’s such a thing as too much exercise as well. Creating a balance is critically important; you don’t want to give your dog too much or too little exercise.

For instance, if your dog gets too little exercise, it is likely to become obese. Obesity puts much more pressure on your dog’s joints, and this can eventually cause hip dysplasia, or if your dog already suffers from the condition, this could just make it worse.

Similarly, too much exercise can also be a problem. As a rule, large dogs generally need an hour or two of exercise during the day. You need to make sure that your dog gets enough rest as well, and it’s important for you to make sure that your dog has time to recover. This is going to ensure that your dog remains in the best possible shape.

Using Glucosamine

One of the most effective joint supplements that is used for treating this condition is glucosamine. In fact, much of the food for large dogs usually contains glucosamine in sufficient quantities. If your vet provides a diagnosis for hip dysplasia or arthritis, you should know that glucosamine is going to be an important part of the treatment plan.

There are also quite a few supplements available in the market that contain glucosamine. These are ideal for dogs that are at a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia or arthritis. Think of these as early intervention techniques that can help your dog. They are also quite safe for long-term usage.

You should know that research is still less in this field, but many vets believe that giving these supplements could prevent hip dysplasia, or it could at least delay the onset of the condition. Understanding the signs is important and will help you provide early treatment to your dog.

Common Symptoms

There are some common symptoms that indicate hip dysplasia. In some cases, the condition may become apparent as early as four months. Look for signs of reduced activity of limited range of motion. If your dog has difficulty in moving about or climbing stairs or jumping, it’s probably a sign.

You might want to take a look at the dog’s muscle mass around the thighs. A loss of muscle mass around the thighs is a clear indication that your dog is suffering from a painful condition. If you notice your dog suffering in pain, it might be a wise idea to take it to a vet right away. They will be able to diagnose the condition easily for you.