Dog Hip Dysplasia 101: Most asked questions on the Internet answered - Salt Lake Animal Physical Therapy
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Dog Hip Dysplasia 101: Most asked questions on the Internet answered

If you have recently discovered that your dog has Dog hip dysplasia and it’s making you lose your sleep with a flurry of questions clouding your mind, then you are in the right place!

If that makes you feel any better, you are not alone and there are many people like you, searching for answers on the internet. So to save you the hassle and from bouncing around on the internet, I have compiled a list of questions about Hip Dysplasia and answered them to the best of my abilities.

About me – I am Dr. Joshua Hall, one the trusted animal physical therapist in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I have been helping injured and aging animals, especially dogs live their best lives with their owners, without pain meds or surgery. You may contact me here.

So without further delay, let’s start.

1.    What is Dog Hip Dysplasia?

So, Dog hip dysplasia is a common orthopedic condition that affects many canine companions. It is characterized by an abnormal formation of the hip joint, leading to discomfort, pain, and limited mobility. It is a genetic condition where the hip joint does not develop properly.

It occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit together correctly, causing instability and eventual degeneration. Large and medium-sized dog breeds are more susceptible to hip dysplasia, although it can affect any dog. The condition can lead to various symptoms and impact the dog’s overall well-being.

1.    What are the Symptoms of Dog Hip Dysplasia?

Recognizing the symptoms of dog hip dysplasia is crucial for early detection and intervention. Some common signs include:

  • Difficulty rising,
  • Reluctance to exercise,
  • Lameness,
  • Decreased range of motion,
  • Bunny hopping,
  • and a swaying gait.

Dogs with hip dysplasia may also display signs of pain or discomfort, such as yelping when touched around the hips or exhibiting aggression.

2.    Does Hip Dysplasia Hurt Dogs?

Unfortunately Yes. Hip dysplasia can cause significant pain and discomfort in dogs. The abnormal structure of the hip joint leads to increased friction and wear, resulting in inflammation and pain.

Dogs with hip dysplasia may experience discomfort during normal activities such as walking, running, or even lying down. Managing their pain and improving their quality of life is a primary concern for pet owners.

3.    What Makes Hip Dysplasia Worse in Dogs?

There are several factors that can exacerbate hip dysplasia in dogs. First, excessive weight and obesity can strain the hip joints, accelerating the degeneration process.

But it does not mean you over exercise your dog desperately trying to make them shed some weight. Even high-impact activities or over exercising dogs can worsen the condition.

The hands that they are dealt; you cannot do much about that. Genetics plays a significant role, as hip dysplasia can be inherited. Lastly, environmental factors, such as poor nutrition during growth stages, may contribute as well.

4.    How to Treat Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

Well, in my years of practice, I have witnessed some miracles.  Especially in the case of hip dysplasia. That said, animal physical therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment of hip dysplasia in dogs as It helps improve joint mobility, strengthen muscles, and reduce pain. 

Therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, massage, and electrotherapy are common components of a comprehensive physical therapy plan. Additionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and joint supplements may be prescribed by your Vet to alleviate pain and inflammation.

But since there are different stages of the condition, the treatment may need to be tailored to the situation. So, it is best that you consult an Animal physical therapist before taking the next steps.

5.    Can a Dog Live a Normal Life with Hip Dysplasia?

Yes, with proper management and care, dogs with hip dysplasia can lead relatively normal lives. Physical therapy can help improve joint function, alleviate pain, and enhance the overall quality of life. Adapting the dog’s environment to reduce stress on the hips, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing a balanced diet can also contribute to a fulfilling life for dogs with hip dysplasia.

6.    How Long Can a Dog Live with Hip Dysplasia Without Surgery?

The lifespan of a dog with hip dysplasia can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of non-surgical treatments.

With appropriate care, including physical therapy, pain management, and lifestyle modifications, dogs can live for many years without requiring surgical intervention.

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor the progression of the disease and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.

7.    Dog Hip Dysplasia Home Treatment?

While professional veterinary guidance is crucial for the management of dog hip dysplasia, there are certain home treatments that can complement the overall care. These include:

a) Weight Management: Maintaining ideal body weight is essential for dogs with hip dysplasia. Excess weight places additional strain on the joints, exacerbating the condition. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet and portion sizes for your dog, ensuring they receive a balanced and nutritious diet.

b) Low-Impact Exercise: Engaging in low-impact exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the hip joint without placing excessive stress on it. Activities like swimming or controlled leash walks on soft surfaces can be beneficial. Avoid high-impact exercises, jumping, or rough play that could worsen the symptoms.

c) Joint Supplements: Certain joint supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, may support joint health and alleviate some symptoms of hip dysplasia. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable supplements for your dog’s specific needs.

d) Comfortable Environment: Create a comfortable living environment for your dog by providing supportive bedding, ramps or stairs to access elevated surfaces, and non-slip flooring to prevent falls and injuries. Minimizing the need for excessive jumping or climbing can help reduce strain on the hip joints.

8.    Is There a Dog Hip Pain Home Remedy?

Well, there are no specific home remedies as such for dog hip pain that can replace professional care, but yes there are certain measures you can take to help alleviate discomfort. Let’s take a look at those, here:

a) Heat or Cold Therapy: Applying a warm compress or cold pack (wrapped in a towel) to the affected hip joint can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief. Consult with your veterinarian to determine which therapy is most suitable for your dog’s condition.

b) Massage: Gentle massage around the hip area can help relax the muscles, improve blood circulation, and provide some relief from pain. Use light pressure and consult with a professional animal massage therapist for guidance on appropriate techniques.

c) Environmental Modifications: Ensure that your dog’s environment is free from obstacles or hazards that could potentially cause further discomfort or pain. Soft bedding and orthopedic dog beds can provide extra support and cushioning.

9.    Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery Cost?

The cost of dog hip dysplasia surgery can vary depending on several factors, including the geographic location, the severity of the condition, the chosen surgical procedure, and the veterinarian’s fees.

On average, hip dysplasia surgeries can range from a few thousand to several thousand dollars. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to discuss the specific surgical options available and associated costs.

10.   What Does End-stage Hip Dysplasia in Dogs Look Like?

End-stage hip dysplasia in dogs is characterized by severe joint degeneration, extensive pain, and limited mobility. Dogs in this stage may exhibit significant lameness, difficulty standing or walking, muscle atrophy, and a reluctance to engage in physical activity.

They may also display signs of chronic pain and discomfort, even while at rest. At this stage, surgical intervention may be necessary to alleviate the dog’s suffering. But again – consult your Vet and check with your local canine rehab therapist. 

11.    What Dogs Are Most Common with Hip Dysplasia?

Although hip dysplasia can affect dogs of any breed or size, certain breeds are more prone to developing this condition.

Large and giant breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Rottweilers are commonly associated with a higher risk of hip dysplasia.

However, it is important to note that hip dysplasia can occur in any dog, regardless of breed.


12.  My Dog Has Hip Dysplasia. Should I Put Him Down?

The decision to euthanize a dog with hip dysplasia is a deeply personal one and should be based on a thorough evaluation of your dog’s quality of life, pain levels, and overall well-being.

It is crucial to consult someone, a professional Veterinarian, who can provide valuable guidance and support during this difficult decision-making process.

But In many cases, dogs with hip dysplasia can still enjoy a good quality of life with appropriate management strategies in place.

Physical therapy, pain management, weight control, and environmental modifications can significantly improve their comfort and mobility. It is important to assess the severity of your dog’s condition, their response to treatment, and their ability to engage in daily activities.


To conclude it all, by combining professional veterinary guidance, physical therapy, pain management, and a supportive home environment, dogs with hip dysplasia can lead fulfilling lives and enjoy the activities they love.

And while surgical intervention is often necessary for severe cases of hip dysplasia, physical therapy can play a vital role in managing the condition and improving the quality of life for dogs.

By focusing on non-invasive approaches and addressing the specific needs of each dog, physical therapy offers numerous benefits, including improved mobility, reduced pain, and increased muscle strength.

Moreover, understanding the symptoms, treatment options, and lifestyle implications of hip dysplasia allows pet owners to make informed decisions and provide the best possible care for their furry companions.

And with that, if you have any more concerns or questions about your dog’s hip dysplasia or treatment options, consult me, a trusted Animal physical therapist, or your veterinarian, who can provide tailored advice and develop a comprehensive plan to meet your dog’s specific needs.