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Canine Hip Pain and Hip Dysplasia

One of the most common causes of canine hip pain is Hip Dysplasia, an inherited condition where the hip joint is improperly formed. This allows the hip joint to sit loosely in the socket, and as the dog’s leg bone shifts around it causes painful wear and tear on the joint.

Causes of Hip Pain in Dogs

A dog’s hip pain can be a chronic and constant pain. Chronic hip pain is usually attributed to canine arthritis or hip dysplasia. Acute hip pain is usually short term pain caused by an injury. Most dogs with hip pain suffer from chronic pain.


Often caused by the natural wear and tear on a dog’s hip joints, osteoarthritis is a common cause of canine hip pain. Common areas affected by osteoarthritis include:

  • Elbow
  • Shoulder
  • Knee
  • Back
  • Hips

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disease that can occur at any age. Although, commonly found in large breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Great Danes or Saint Bernard’s, hip dysplasia affects small breeds as well. Luckily, it is easy to treat and manage, if you know what signs to look for.

Signs of Hip Dysplasia

Hip pain from dysplasia will impact the way a dog walks first. Pet parents should look for a change in their gait, which may appear awkward or favors one side over the other. Other signs of hip pain in dogs include the following:

  • Stiffness or soreness in the hips
  • Hesitancy to exercise
  • Difficulty standing for extended periods
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Favoring one leg over the other
  • Inability to climb stairs
  • Limping or “bunny hopping”

In young dogs, Dr. Jonathan Roberts, BVSC recommends that “if a pet parent suspects hip dysplasia in their puppy, the only way to diagnose and monitor the disease is through x-rays.  In large and giant breed dogs, x-rays can be taken as early as 4 months old and repeated every few months to monitor growth of the hip joints.  If you are concerned, rather have x-rays done early as there are highly successful surgeries that can be performed but need to be performed before your puppy reaches a certain age.”

4 Ways to Ease Canine Hip Pain

1. Joint Health:

Improve your pet’s overall joint health by adding a daily supplement with Glucosamine and chondroitin into your dog’s daily routine. Glucosamine helps to rebuild cartilage and helps to ease the pain caused by arthritis. Chondroitin helps to relieve joint pain and increase overall mobility in the joint.

2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Life jacket for pets

Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can greatly reduce their joint pain. An overweight or obese pet puts more strain on their joints. Maintaining a healthy diet and keeping fit are key to your dog’s overall health.

A low impact exercise like swimming is ideal for dogs suffering from joint pain. Hydrotherapy can deliver excellent results for dogs with hip dysplasia. Swimming increases strength in their rear legs. Allowing your pet to work their muscles, helping them to stay fit without placing any additional stress on their hips.

3. Create a Dog Friendly Space

Make it easy for your dog to navigate around your home. Give them a clear, obstacle free path to move around the house. Traveling across slippery floors can be a challenge for pets with bad hips. Wearing pet boots or traction socks with a non-slip grip will help your dog grip the floor and keep their feet underneath them. Helping them to avoid further injury caused by a slip and fall.

Dogs with weak hips may struggle going up and down the stairs. A simple rear lifting harness allows you to give them the boost the need to get up the stairs.

4. Mobility Support for Dog’s With Bad Hips

Dog Wheelchairs for Hip Pain

walkin' wheels dog wheelchair for siberian husky

Your dog may have trouble keeping their balance or standing for longer periods of time. With the help of a lifting harness you can gently support the center of your dog’s body on days when its needed. If your dog’s hip pain had progressed to the point where they require assistance on a more consistent basis, they may benefit from using a wheelchair.

A Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair will help to support their weight, relieve pressure on the hips, and help to give them back their independence. If your pet is in the early stages of hip dysplasia, a dog wheelchair can be used as a part of their rehabilitation therapy or for short walks when their hip aches. As their hip dysplasia worsens, your pet can slowly transition to using the wheelchair on a regular basis when needed.

Mobility Support for Dog Hips

corgi wheelchair
Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
German Shepherd DM harness
Buddy Up Harness

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