Tips to Avoid Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Welcoming a dog into your house can be a fascinating experience and can bring a lot of joy into your life. However, owning a dog is not all about laughter and fun, and is a very serious responsibility. When you let a dog into your house, you are committing to fulfill all his needs in all situations. Neglecting the seriousness of your responsibility could hurt your dog. Therefore it is imperative to assure that you are not ignoring your dog's needs.

​Dogs are sensitive animals and are prone to a lot of health issues. Different health problems are more common in different dog breeds but hip dysplasia, displacement disorder with the dog’s hip joint, is common in almost all of the dog breeds. Hip dysplasia refers to a disease in which the end of the ball-shaped high bone does not adjust into the hip socket the way it should.

Several factors may contribute to the development of hip dysplasia. Some of the common factors causing hip dysplasia in dogs are:

  • In most of the dog breeds such as Great Dane, German shepherd, and Labrador Retriever, hip dysplasia is hereditary.
  • Some of the environmental factors such as the dog's weight, excessive growth and exercise, and the dog's nutrition may amplify the development of hip dysplasia in dog breeds where this disorder is hereditary.
  • Excessive growth which may result from an improper diet can lead to hip dysplasia in large breeds because their joints are under a lot of strain.
  • Obesity also makes one of the leading causes of hip dysplasia as the dog's excessive weight may tire out his joints.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Developing Hip Dysplasia?

Although it is hard to prevent hip dysplasia, but there are some steps that you can take to reduce your dog's chances of developing hip dysplasia:

​Excessive Growth:

​Make sure that you pay particular attention to keeping your dog's skeletal system healthy. If you own a large dog breed, the chances of your dog developing hip dysplasia are greater. So make sure that your dog has strong bones and joints, and the growth of your dog does not quickly wear out his bones.

​Excessive Weight or Obesity:

​We all know that chubby dogs look adorable and are fun to cuddle to with, but the chubbiness isn't all fun for the dog. The excessive weight puts a lot of strain on the joints of the dog which can lead to early development of hip dysplasia. Make sure that you don't over feed your dog and provide him with regular exercise and proper diet to keep his weight in check.

​Glucosamine:

​Large dog breeds mostly thrive on joint supplements, most commonly glucosamine. If you own a large dog breed with higher chances of developing this disorder due to hereditary factors, you can buy extra supplements of glucosamine for him. Some of the dog health researchers believe that these supplements can be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of hip dysplasia.

​Good Breeding Practices:

​The good breeding practices include careful selection of the breeding dogs. The breeders should always screen the breeding dogs for any signs of any disease. An organization known as Orthopedic Foundation for Animals provide health testing for judging the condition of the dog’s hips. Breeders can go for these tests to make sure that they only breed those dogs who are not carrying any severe health conditions like hip dysplasia.

How to Know if Your Dog Has Hip Dysplasia?

You can take all the precautionary measures mentioned above to try to prevent the development of hip dysplasia in your dog. In case this dangerous disease still victimizes your dog, following are the symptoms that you should look out for:

  • Your dog has difficulty in jumping, climbing stairs or running.
  • Your dog doesn’t participate in a lot of physical activities anymore.
  • Your dog’s joints have become loose.
  • Your dog has developed a lot of thigh muscle mass.
  • Your dog has a visible enlargement of shoulder muscle.
  • Pain and stiffness of your dog’s joints.

​How to Treat Hip Dysplasia?

​The treatment options for hip dysplasia are limited, and they may range from lifestyle changes to expensive surgeries.

If your dog has a mild version of hip dysplasia and the doctor has not recommended surgery for him, there are several steps that you can take on your end to make sure that your dog recovers from this painful illness soon:

  • Help your dog in losing weight so that some of the strain on his hips will reduce.
  • Don’t let your dog exercise on hard surfaces or under unfavorable conditions.
  • Consider physical therapy for your dog with the help of a good therapist who has expertise in hip dysplasia therapy.
  • Consider anti-inflammatory prescriptions for your dog such as aspirin to ease your dog’s pain.
  • Make use of joint fluid modifiers.

If the vet has suggested surgery for your dog, then you should communicate with your dog's vet to figure out the best surgical strategy for your dog. The standard operations for hip dysplasia are Total Hip Replacement (THR), Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO) and Double or Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (DPO/TPO). The vet will suggest the most suitable surgery depending upon the condition of your dog.