Exercises For Canine Arthritis And Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia Prone BreedsDogs with mobility problems due to hip dysplasia should engage in moderate, low contact activities. It is very important that a dog with Hip Dysplasia keeps moving. Exercising with Hip Dysplasia is a balancing act; too much can cause pain and too little makes the condition worse. Exercise is not only beneficial for a dog with this condition to aid with joint mobility – it also helps to rebuild and maintain muscle to support the joint, improves circulation to the area and contributes to weight management.

Dogs with severe mobility problems will benefit from forms of physical therapy that help to strengthen the muscles of the hind legs and the back, these muscles help support the hips and legs. Examples include sit-to-stand exercises (have the dog sit, then have him rise–this is similar to a human performing squats) and walking under obstacles such as chairs that require the dog to lower and raise his body.

Other forms of physical therapy include tissue massage and range of motion exercises that help to keep the joints in the legs fluid.

The 6 Common Signs Of Canine Hip Dysplasia

Any veterinarian will tell you that the most difficult and frustrating dog diseases are “Canine hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia or CHD is a condition in which the dog’s femur does not fit properly with the hip socket. In this scenario, the cartilage is damaged, the joint is slowly destroyed and the dog experiences pain and swelling in the affected area. Hip dysplasia in dogs is not the same as hip arthritis. However, dog hip dysplasia is one of the causes of hip arthritis in dogs.

Canine Hip Dysplasia is an inherited disease that affects mainly large breed dogs. The word “dysplasia” means inappropriate growth. Hip dysplasia can be defined as abnormal or a faulty development of the hip. In this case, the hip becomes wobbly and loose, ultimately leading to a kind of arthritis commonly referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). The degree of lameness that takes place is usually dependent upon the level of arthritic changes in the hip joint. And also the environmental conditions such as the amount of physical exercise and weight gain contribute to the disease and bring out the following signs.

Decreased activity: Dogs with this illness usually become less active. Dog owners may notice that their pet sleeps or rests more, showing less enthusiasm to go for walk, less stamina or interest to play. It is important to mention your pet low activity to your veterinarian. Unfortunately, a lot of people attribute their dog’s inactive nature to effects of aging, while the dog may actually be suffering from pain associated with hip dysplasia.

Decreased ability to jump or climb stairs: For dogs, hind legs play a vital role in their ability to jump or climb stairs. When inflammation develops due to hip dysplasia, the dogs experience pain and finally suffer a decreased kind of motion inside the joint. Dog owners might initially notice dog’s hesitance to jump into a car or climb stairs. In the end, the dog can simply refuse these activities and become dependent on help.

Difficulty in Rising: As the pains of hip dysplasia increase, dog owners may notice that their dogs have trouble standing up from lying position. The sluggishness way the dog stands up is often associated with the length of time he was lying down. Trouble rising up is frequently the most obvious first thing in the morning after the dog sleeps through the night. With activity during waking hours, dogs can “warm out” from stiffness.

The surface on which the pet rests can also affect the ease with which he can get up. Carpets provide much better traction than hardwood, linoleum or tiles surface. You can take steps to improve your pet footing to avoid slips or falls. Carpet runners on wooden stairs can increase the mobility of a dog with hip dysplasia. Area carpet with no slip backing should be used in the areas often passed by the dog throughout the house.

Bunny Hopping: This is the abnormal change in walk sometimes exhibited by a dog with hip dysplasia. This is called Bunny Hopping because dogs are seen raising both hind legs simultaneously like jumping a rabbit. You can notice Bunny hopping when dogs are running, jumping, walking or climbing stairs. According to a specialist, the characteristic of Bunny hopping walk is believed to be an attempt to reduce the pain in the coxofemoral joints by sharing the forces on each hip in half during propulsion and weight-bearing.  It is important to distinguish bunny hopping from jumping that can be related to hunting behavior or play.

Persistent Hind Lameness: This depends on the harshness of the dog’s hip dysplasia and its level of activity, dog owners may notice recurrent or continuous lameness in the hind legs. Over time, abnormal wear or tear of the joint can causes bone proliferation. The “C-shaped” socket usually becomes shallow and flattened, while the femoral head loses its smooth appearance in the shape of the ball and begins to look like a mushroom. The subsequent pain and inflammation may result in mild favoring or a non-weight lameness of a rear limb.

Hip Pain and Sensitivity: Canines with hip dysplasia may show discomfort when a family member or veterinarian touching the hips. In the early stages, when the ball pops out of the socket, tiny fractures occur at the edge of the socket and the soft tissue surrounding the hip joint become stretched. These changes can result in pain in dogs as young as four months of age.

As the pup age, hip dysplasia causes the collapse of the cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber for the joints. The bone underneath the damaged cartilage is also subject to changes. These structural changes cause inflammation and a condition known as osteoarthritis. While early X-rays shows a normal ball shape and socket that are misaligned, future X-rays reveal a significant bone remodeling of both structures.

Management of hip dysplasia

Identify the initial signs of hip dysplasia and taking steps to reduce the progression of the irreversible joint disease is very important. Studies have shown that maintaining a healthy weight of dogs can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of arthritis. Exercise adjustment is also important with moderate to light movement recommended instead of strenuous activity.

In addition to asking your veterinarian about medications to relieve the discomfort caused by hip dysplasia, owners can also make adjustments to maintain the dog quality of life. As stated earlier, household alterations such as carpet runners on stairs and slippery surfaces can greatly improve the movement and safety of the dog. Ramps should be available to help dogs get to cars. Ramps can also be built to enable the dog to avoid stairs when leaving the house. Well-cushioned bedding should be provided throughout the house.

Low Cost Treatment Options For Canine Hip Dysplasia

A suitable diagnosis can only be made using X-rays of the pelvis and hips. One of the main problems about X-ray is that the dog will be under intense anesthesia, which entails its own set of risks. If you choose to perform the test, the X-rays will allow your veterinarian to evaluate the severity of your dog hip dysplasia, which varies from moderate to severe. The diagnosis depends on placing the femur on the right position (the acetabulum). Once the situation is serious, it cannot be reversed. Lameness is erratic and may be present or unnoticeable.

There are some actions that can help your dog rest from the pain. These include chiropractic adjustments, massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and, if necessary, pain medication.

Acupressure: This has to do with the use of hands, elbows, and knees instead of needles by the practitioners to maintain light pressure on the same meridian point used in the acupuncture. This method is easier for those that wish to perform at home treatment for their sick dog. Just be sure to consult your veterinarian before beginning to try your own treatment.

Chiropractic care: When the hips are in poor condition, the rest of the body is often overcompensating to let go of the damaged joint. After a period of time, this uneven distribution of weight can cause an interruption of your dog’s spine. This is the reason why regular visits to a chiropractor are a good idea for your dog to correct and avoid more problems along the way.

Massage: A qualified massage therapist can help improve your dog’s aching and stiff limbs and reduce the discomfort of hip dysplasia. Many people also use massage therapy to help those suffering from muscle stress and arthritis.

Hydrotherapy: when your dog injured his hip, one of the most significant things to regulate is the dog body weight. Excess weight on the dog will increase the pressure on his hips and cause excessive pain. This often causes your dog to become more inactive, which only stimulates the condition. Hydrotherapy offers your dog a low form of exercises, which helps promote movement and weight loss, as well as reduce muscle and joint stiffness.

What Do Good Breeders Do To Help Ensure Their Puppies Are Hip Dysplasia Free?

There are two main opportunities for a certified breeder to make sure that a puppy does not have hip dysplasia. The first opportunity begins before birth. The second begins when you bring the pup home.

For this section, we will deal with what a breeder can do before the birth of a puppy to ensure the dogs do not have hip dysplasia. As a licensed breeder, make sure that all dog used for the breeding purpose is tested for hip dysplasia, especially your puppy’s father, and mother. There are no exemptions

If there is no genetic test available, you can have your dog hip x-ray, and this X-ray can be evaluated and given scores by a group of professional veterinarians. Breeders can then eliminate dogs with affected hip from their breeding programs. All good breeders have their pup hip scored through these methods; learn more about hip scoring and how to check it.

It is important to check the health test certificates of both parents of any puppy you consider breeding. Remember, Kennel club will not protect your puppy from having a parent with affected hips. Stay away from breeders who make excuses that it is not necessary to test a puppy mother because his father has been tested. This is absolutely false. Good dog breeders are aware of this condition and are doing everything possible to breed only those without any signs of hip dysplasia; regardless of the diets, they have been fed.

The Leading Causes Of Hip Dysplasia In Puppies

Mainly in large breed dogs, the beginning of hip dysplasia is usually associated with periods of rapid growth, around 3 and 9 months of age. Therefore, it is better to understand the reasons for this faster growth rate.

Feeding your dog with a high-calorie diet full of carbohydrates and artificial nutrients can worsen the tendency for hip dysplasia because rapid weight gain puts more pressure on the hips, excess weight during this period boil down to a very deteriorating change in large dogs. The excess weight greatly increases the large dog’s genetic potential for hip dysplasia.

Dogs that can eat everything they want at the time they want, otherwise known as a free-feeding also grow much faster than dogs fed limited amounts of food. This increased rate of growth during the puppy stage can cause the body to develop erratically and make the dog more vulnerable to hip dysplasia.

bull dog hip dysplasiaAlso, supplementation of some types of nutrients can reverse the important calcium/phosphorus balance in the dog body, which also contributes to the skeletal formation process. This specifically talks about calcium supplements.

A lot of professional breeders encourage new dog owners to regularly supplement their dog diet with calcium during the first year of life for the prophylactic measure. While they may mean well, this can actually create skeletal problems in your dog and produce defects in other nutrients. In this case, the risk of adding supplementation calcium is greater than the benefits.

Another factor that affects the condition is improper exercise. During the period of rapid growth, puppies should be prevented from jumping up and down (like jumping to catch the ball) and standing on their hind legs. And also running on pavement should be prevented.

The 3 Dog Breeds Most Prone To Develop Hip Dysplasia And Why

Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition that in most cases is passed on from one generation to another where the hips of a dog are improperly formed. Hip dysplasia is aggravated by specific environmental factors such as weight gain, injury, age and more. The condition is more prevalent in some dog breeds and is characterized by painful joints, impaired mobility as well as arthritis.

The following are the top three dog breeds that are susceptible to hip dysplasia.

great dane hip dysplasiaGreat Danes

Also nicknamed the ‘Apollo of dogs’ the Great Dane is from Germany and is famous for its big size. They have a clam lifestyle but as quite susceptible to hip dysplasia due to its massive statures. The fact that it carries a heavy load in the form of its body around has proven to have an adverse effect on their joints.

bull dog hip dysplasiaBulldogs and Pugs

Bulldogs and Pugs are frequently referred to as the English bulldog because of the long time it has with the British Culture as well as nationalism. Research shows that about 71.8% of pugs and Bulldogs have hips dysplasia. These breeds have a passive nature that makes them very susceptible to the diseases. With exercise, however, the health of the joints is bound to improve.

German shepherd

The German Shepherd originates from Germany that is classified as working and as a herding dog mainly because of its intelligence and excellent trainability. The German shepherd is susceptible to hip dysplasia because of the heavy workload the breed has. Research also shows that the leading cause of ailments the German shepherd is mainly because of the long history of inbreeding that took place early in the breed’s history.

When it comes to the health of your dog, it is never too early to start. Put you dog on a proper diet, enough exercise, and supplements that can help them live a happy and comfortable life.

Alternatives To Surgery For Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia Signs and SymptomsCanine Hip Dysplasia is an unnatural formation of the hip socket that can be quite painful for a dog. It is a form of arthritis and just like most forms of arthritis that affect humans it has no definite cure. There are several ways to improve the dogs quality of life, reduce the pain considerably and wipe out most of the clinical signs. However, it is important to note that this condition is a degenerative one so it naturally gets worse. Treatments are designed to counter the degeneration and not to cure the condition. Due to the varying degrees of Canine hip dysplasia, some dogs do not need intensive care but rather medications to assist the dog deal with the condition better.

In intense conditions, surgery is usually the first option but for those who cannot afford surgery or choose not to go with that option usually, use one of the following.

Medication – The medication for more severe conditions would not be the same for the minor degree. These medications are designed to reduce the damage, pain and possible swelling. The usual drug recommended is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is very important to consult a veterinarian before purchasing any NSAID because the drug type varies in different species. This drug combats arthritis that has occurred because of the hip dysplasia. The veterinarian may also try glucosamine-based nutritional supplements which may help with the joint repair. The usual testing time for these supplements is three to five weeks. Your dog will probably have to try several anti-inflammatory drugs in order to find the perfect fit. This trial period lasts two to four weeks for each brand of the drug. This trial is conducted alongside the glucosamine-based supplements and if the dog doesn’t respond to treatment, medication may be ruled out.

Weight loss – An overweight dog who suffers from this condition would be placed on a strict diet in order to reduce the weight placed on the hip bone. Weight loss may reveal the hip dysplasia to be minor instead of severe. Reducing the dog’s weight is a surefire way to fight all forms of arthritis.

Exercise – Canine Hip Dysplasia can be caused by jogging with a dog under one year and repeatedly placing weight on the bones which are not fully grown yet. Thus, increasing or reducing the dog’s exercise is a great way to curb the symptoms of dysplasia. A healthy exercise system can encourage the growth of cartilage and reduce the degeneration reasonably. Long, relaxing walks are also well recommended for your dog during the early stages of canine hip dysplasia or for mild dysplasia. This will help to fight the degeneration of muscle mass.

Canine Massages – Canine massages are said to reduce the pain in the affected area. The massage reduces the discomfort and pain whilst encouraging the movement of nutrients as well as lymph in the system.

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy – Another form of non-surgical treatment which has been proven to increase the dog’s range of motion, reduce the crippling and alleviate discomfort.

Why Do Dogs Develop Hip Dysplasia

If you have a pet, the chances that you are very attached to them are high. Most dog owners love their furry friends to a fault and they want only the best for their pets. Dogs on an average live for thirteen years and in order to optimize the time you will be spending with them you must be well educated on dogs. This article will be discussing Canine hip dysplasia. This is a condition that affects dogs and makes movement very painful for them. It is an unnatural development of the hip bone that could end up crippling your dog or causing them to suffer from painful arthritis. It is important to note that it is a genetic trait and it is very common in larger breeds. For working dogs it is the most common source of hip arthritis. Here is a list of the top 100 breeds most susceptible to canine hip dysplasia. It is maintained by Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. There are several causes of this condition. Some of which are:

Poor Development – It can be caused by a bad formation of muscles in the pelvic area whilst the dog was growing. This can be caused by a number of things. The first is injury at a young age (12 months and below), stressing or putting pressure at a young age which could also lead to a ligament tear. It is advised not to run or jog with a dog that is less than a year because the repetitive and straining motions might damage the developing muscles.

Canine Hip Dysplasia Treatment OptionsOverweight – It can be quite hard to resist giving your dog a treat especially when they are still puppies but discipline must be enforced. The chances your dog would ever reject a bowl of their favorite food or treats are very slim. Even if they do not deal particularly hungry they will still rush to eat it up. Your dog must be well exercised and healthily fed.

Neutering and Spaying – These are great ways to avoid your dog fathering or giving birth to little puppies that you won’t be able to take care of. There are several dogs being euthanized daily because they do not have a home. Neutering your male dog and spaying your female dog help to reduce that statistic as well as other benefits. However, neutering your male dog before they have reached sexual maturity can cause canine hip dysplasia. Some veterinarians recommend neutering your dog eight weeks after they are born while some strongly insist on six months. It is preferable to go with the latter and if you want to be extra sure, ask your vet what is best suited for your dog.

If your dog has difficulty moving, walks stiffly, lethargic behavior, reluctant to walk up stairs they eagerly climbed before, walking without putting pressure on the rear legs and is constantly chewing, licking or even biting at the hip joint, then there is a chance your dog may suffer from canine hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia can only reflect on an x-ray by the time the dog is 18 months old which is also the time the condition usually appears.

Signs Of Canine Hip Dysplasia

When a dog develops hip dysplasia, the snugness of the ball and socket that form their hip become looser due to degeneration of the tissues and begins grinding of the two hard surfaces. As hip dysplasia worsens, joint tissues and vital joint lubricants deteriorate, leading to painful arthritis that will worsen and can completely debilitate a dog if not treated properly.

A dog developing, or having developed hip dysplasia shows the relatively same general signs with more or less emphasis on certain symptoms based on the dog at hand. You have to remember, some dogs have had the issue since birth and develop a much higher tolerance for the pain and discomfort and learn to live with it better than a mature dog beginning to develop hip dysplasia making diagnosis unique for each dog.

If your puppy or young dog is showing even small signs of any of the symptoms below, it is probably best to get them checked out before it is too late.

Sing of Hip Dysplasia In Puppies

As a puppy, signs of canine hip dysplasia are generally a discomfort of the hind hips and can occur as early as 5 months. Your dog might resemble a rabbit, by hopping the back legs forward instead of an extended gate with the separate motion of the legs and hesitation getting up after prolonged periods of rest. Your dog might also extend his legs straight forward or backward while resting; Some people describe it as chicken legs–or frog legs.

  • Worsening trouble getting up after sleeping
  • Whining and a general unwillingness to get up
  • Change in the way your dog walks–resembling a bunny hopping
  • Anxiety or displeasure toward people rubbing their hips
  • Signs disappear once the dog is on their feet and active

Signs of Hip Dysplasia In Mature Dogs

Hip Dysplasia Supplement InfoDevelopment of hip dysplasia in mature dogs usually happens around 4 or 5 years of age for the degeneration to be advanced enough and the pain and discomfort become more obvious. 

Pain usually is worst after exercise or in the morning but works out once the dog is up and moving. It is important to bring your dog to your vet when any signs of discomfort in their legs are present, dogs are built to run–pain is not in their blood.

The most important part is to take your dog to the vet even if you are unsure there is an actual issue. Examining any dog (or human) and treating an issue before it develops is the number one way to ensure your dog won’t live in pain the rest of his life if they do indeed have hip dysplasia. Treatments range from anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers to surgery depending on the dog and severity of the case to further develop.

Detection Of Canine Hip Dysplasia

The detection of canine hip dysplasia often varies on the amount of background knowledge you have of dysplasia and dog arthritis in general. Detection Of Canine Hip Dysplasia is relatively the same in puppies and fully grown dogs. Overall, your dog or puppy will have increased issues getting up, especially after prolonged laying or exercise and you may notice a change in posture and how your dog walks.

Clinical Diagnosis:

  • Tests to eliminate other possible reasons for the change in your dog.
  • Veterinary Detections (physical and neurological exam and x-rays).
  • Final Results are determined by the vet. Some dogs will need anti-inflammatory and pain medications and other will need surgery and post-operative treatment.

Canine Hip Dysplasia Prone BreedsDetecting early signs of hip dysplasia in your dog can be difficult as signs and symptoms don’t usually show until the condition is moderate to severe.

Typically when hip dysplasia symptoms begin, your dog will have worse days and seem perfectly fine and willing to play, and jump, and beg for treats the next. This is the number one sign that something is physically wrong with your dog, especially if you have noticed consistent off days. Typically, and especially in puppies—dogs don’t have off days. They’re built to run and anytime your dog shows trouble getting up after laying or general discomfort in their legs should be taken seriously.


To begin, if you have a puppy that’s showing signs of dysplasia you should immediately bring your dog to your vet, especially if you don’t know anything about the parents or bought them in a puppy store. You should not be running the dog on hard surfaces for long periods of time or do any repetitively damaging or stressful activities to their legs while they are developing.

If you have been allowing your puppy to eat out of a bowl of food whenever they want, you should be careful not to overfeed. Studies have linked a large number of hip dysplasia diagnosed dogs to an over-growth spurt caused by excessive nutrition in puppies dog food and is made worse by giving additional growth supplements.

Most puppy foods have 25% more fat and carbohydrates then typical adult doggy food. Instead of a daily feeding of puppy food, a regimen of three times (morning, lunch, and dinner) a day should be started. Typically, thyroid issues in puppies are not prevalent, but can have some of the same symptoms of hip dysplasia and can be very dangerous to change their diet, so please consult your vet before making any large changes to your puppy’s diet if signs of dysplasia are occurring.

As hip dysplasia continues to affect your dog, their hips will gradually become more and more inflamed and damaged and a change in the dogs walk (or gait) will worsen, including their trouble getting up every morning (instead of some mornings), and if this hasn’t already, should ring a definite alarm that something is wrong with your puppy. Once hip dysplasia has become mild, puppies will whine and show an obvious discomfort toward their hips.

When the unfortunate event occurs that you think your puppy has hip dysplasia, the veterinary is first going to run a complete physical and neurological examination of the dog. Afterward, if no diagnosis has been found, a number of x-rays of your dog’s hips will be taken and observed by doctors.

Adult Dogs

The majority of adult dogs that begin showing signs of hip dysplasia have had abnormalities in their joints for a long time, and just now have symptoms become severe enough to be noticed. Unfortunately, these are usually the worst cases because the degeneration of tissues and promotion of abnormal growth of your dog’s hips has probably already reached a point where surgery is necessary to keep the dog from reaching a point of debilitating arthritis.

Vitamins and Supplements

If you haven’t been giving your dog additional vitamins and supplements, it is a great idea to do so. Vitamins and supplements that promote joint laxity and other beneficial minerals are important. Just like humans, dogs can be lacking certain vitamins and minerals. Introducing and maintaining extra vitamins not offered in typical dog food can drastically increase the health over your dog on both a short and long-term basis. Vitamins and supplements also have very little negative side effects, after reaching adulthood.

If a dog experiences itching, diarrhea or vomiting decrease the number of supplements given, and if the problems continue it may be necessary to get your dog checked for food allergies or thyroid issues.

Exercise Options For Hip Dysplasia

Exercise is also very important. Older dogs need to continue a daily exercise regimen or deterioration of the bones and muscles will significantly increase. Just like humans, if you remain inactive for long periods of time your body will be negatively affected and muscle mass will disappear.