How to Prevent Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

How to Prevent Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Your Complete Guide

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Natalie H Ragland, DVM
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Is There a Way to Prevent Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

Is-There-a-Way-to-Prevent-Hip-Dysplasia-in-Dogs

Yes, if wondering how to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs, the answer is yes. The best way to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs is acquiring your dog from a reputable breeder who is certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Doing your research by checking the database of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is warranted to ensure proper and accurate selection. 

Canine hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, meaning if the parents have it, the offspring is very likely to have it too. A reputable breeder will take a radiograph ( x-ray) of the parents’ hips and have them evaluated for hip dysplasia. Young dogs displaying signs of hip dysplasia need to be excluded from breeding programs. 

Although not a life-threatening condition, hip dysplasia affects the dog‘s quality of life. As the issue progresses into osteoarthritis, the dog develops hip joint laxity or looseness, lameness, bunny hopping gait, and intermittent or persistent limping

There are different treatment options for dogs with hip dysplasia. They can be classified as medical and surgical options. The medical treatment includes pain medications (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDs), physical therapy (acupuncture, hydrotherapy), and joint supplements.  

In terms of surgical procedures, there are several options including triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), femoral head ostectomy (FHO), and total hip replacement (THR). Each surgery has different indications. Which is best depends on the case. 

How to Prevent Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

How-do-You-Prevent-Dysplasia-in-Dogs

The best way of preventing dog hip dysplasia is to remove affected individuals from breeding programs. Sadly, not all breeders are equally responsible, and pups with dysplastic hips are born daily. 

It is comforting for dog owners to know that there are several things they can do to minimize their pets’ risk of developing hip dysplasia and degeneration. Here are some at-home ways of preventing or delaying the onset of symptoms related to canine hip dysplasia.   

Avoid Over-Exercising Puppies. Compared to adult dogs, puppies have softer hind legs and bones. Therefore, over-exercising makes them at a high risk of sustaining injuries. Keep a certain time limit for their playtime and bring them to a safe space once that time is over. 

If you are not sure how much playtime and physical activity your puppy needs, consult your trusted veterinarian. The length depends on the puppy’s breed and age. 

Create a Dog Appropriate Exercise Routine. Exercise is paramount for breeds of dogs prone to hip dysplasia and degenerative joint disease. In such a case, physical activity comes with several health benefits. 

Namely, exercise strengthens bones and muscle mass, improves the joints’ range of motion, maintains a healthy weight, and provides significant pain relief; all of which collectively results in improved quality of life. 

Maintain Your Dog on a Healthy Diet. A healthy diet can be very effective when preventing canine hip dysplasia. Making the right dietary choices keeps your dog at a healthy weight. 

A lean, healthy weight is vital for dogs with a predisposition to hip dysplasia. Obesity is an aggravating factor – the extra weight adds pressure to the hip joints causing more intense symptoms of hip dysplasia. 

Therefore, a healthy diet and weight management will prevent the condition’s onset and, if already developed, ease the clinical signs of hip dysplasia.  

Support Your Dog’s Skeletal System. Whether your dog has a predisposition to hip dysplasia or not, as a pet owner, you need to ensure proper nutrition for your pet. 

Proper nutrition is the foundation of keeping the bones strong and healthy. Dogs, especially large breed dogs, need high amounts of calcium to maintain a healthy skeletal system. 

The skeletal system is not all bones – it also includes soft tissues like muscle mass, tendons, and ligaments that keep the dog’s joints and bones together. These structures are best kept healthy through nutritionally rich dog foods and proper exercise regimens. 

Test Early for Hip Dysplasia. If you are the pet parent of a large breed or giant breed dog, you need to test early for hip dysplasia. An early diagnosis is the best chance for delaying or, ideally, preventing the development of hip dysplasia in dogs. 

Giant and large dogs that benefit from early testing include Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Great Danes, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Saint Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Weimaraners, Mastiffs, Newfoundland dogs, etc. 

Start Your Dog on Mobility Supplements. Joint supplements are one of the best and most natural ways of preventing hip dysplasia. We highly recommend the Honest Paws Mobility Collection – CBD Oil, CBD Soft Chews, and Green Lipped Mussels Powder

The CBD Oil and Soft Chews are made with full-spectrum hemp and joint-friendly ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, etc. The CBD oil and CBD treats are tasty and easy to dose and use. 

The Mobility Powder features glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), Boswellia serrata, fish oil, vitamin C, manganese gluconate, hyaluronic acid, and green lipped mussels as the most potent nutrient for joint health. Plus, it has a bacon popcorn flavor that dogs love. 

Mobility - Green Lipped Mussel Joint Powder
  • This bacon popcorn flavored Honest Paws Joint Powder uses a blend of ingredients that focus on all-encompassing joint health and support.
  • It works to maintain joint mobility, improve cartilage development, and enhance overall bone and joint health.
  • Green lipped mussel extract contains a nutrient-rich blend of natural proteins, minerals and omega fatty acids.
HP Mobility Soft Chews
  • Formulated for Joint Pain and Inflammation
  • Made with Full Spectrum CBD Oil
  • Third Party Tested

What Foods Prevent Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

What-Foods-Prevent-Hip-Dysplasia-in-Dogs

From vitamins and minerals to fatty acids and joint supplements – many foods can help prevent hip dysplasia in dogs. So, if you want to know how to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs, use these foods: 

  • Calcium. As mentioned, calcium is essential for strong bones and healthy joints. The best dietary source of calcium is yogurt. Yogurt is a dog-friendly human food with many health benefits. Additionally, even dogs that are fussy eaters love the taste of yogurt. 
  • Iron. Anemia is a frequent autoimmune issue in dogs with hip dysplasia. The best way of combating low iron levels is by adding iron-rich foods to the menu with your veterinary direction and recommendations. Meat (beef, chicken, turkey), fish, and leafy greens are exceptionally high in iron. Plus, they are easy to feed. 
  • Vitamin C. The osteoarthritis following hip dysplasia destroys cartilage and connective tissues. Vitamin C helps these tissues rebuild. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are loaded with vitamin C and perfectly safe for dogs. 
  • Omega Fatty Acids. Omega fatty acids have natural anti-inflammatory features helpful to dogs with hip dysplasia. Some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil and flaxseed oil. Solid foods like chia seeds and salmon are also rich in omega fatty acids. 
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Glucosamine and chondroitin help build cartilage and are easily sourced. Both nutrients are present in foods like cartilage, bone broth, and ground bone. Glucosamine and chondroitin work synergistically, meaning they boost each other’s effects. 
  • Natural Anti-Inflammatories. While certain foods support inflammation, others combat it. A dog with hip dysplasia benefits from foods with anti-inflammatory features. Such foods are spirulina, ginger, turmeric, licorice, Devil’s claw root, horsetail, green-lipped mussels, alfalfa, comfrey, meadowsweet, yucca, etc. 

Finally, in addition to choosing the right foods, pet owners need to be mindful of portion size. Portion control is vital for managing hip dysplasia in dogs as it keeps body weight under control. 

How can I Strengthen My Dog’s Hips?

How-can-I-Strengthen-My-Dogs-Hips

You can strengthen your dog’s hips by practicing regular walking or moderate running. In general, vets recommend frequent yet short sessions of up to 20 minutes. However, you should consult precisely how much exercise your dog needs per day. 

Low-impact, high-resistance exercises strengthen the hips as well. The perfect example of such an exercise is swimming – it builds muscle mass to support the ball and socket joint without burdening the hips. The underwater treadmill is a helpful hydrotherapy form too. 

Sit-stands are also excellent for managing hip dysplasia in dogs. Sit-stands are easy to practice – just use treats to make your dog sit and stand. The motion opens and closes the hip joints, thus keeping them well-lubricated. 

Finally, it is also helpful to invest time and effort into agility training. Navigating obstacles and tunnels on a flat surface will strengthen the dog’s hip joints. Plus, agility training is mentally stimulating and keeps the brain sharp.