How to Care for a Dog with Hip Dysplasia

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Care for a Dog with Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a disease caused by a defect in the joint hip and femur. This disease is typically found in large dog breeds, such as the German Shepherd, although it can affect smaller breeds too.

If proper treatment is not given, the dog may suffer from chronic pain and limping. If you want to know how to care for a dog with hip dysplasia, read this informative article for all the key points.

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Quality food is very important in dogs with joint disease.

It is advisable to give animals suffering from joint problems specific feed tailored to their needs, containing necessary nutrients (vitamins and antioxidants) to strengthen the joints and prevent their deterioration.

You'll find this type of dog food in veterinary practices and specialty pet stores.

Keeping your pet within its recommended weight is also extremely important, since excess weight puts more stress on the joints.

To do this, measure the amount of food and don't provide more than what is recommended by the manufacturer. On the back or side of the dog food, there are normally instructions.

Medical treatment

Regardless of the degree of dysplasia, preventing injuries to the femur cartilage and bone caused by a bad hip joint is essential. This is achieved with products called chondroprotective preparations, which are able to nurture and strengthen the cartilage.

Besides protecting the cartilage, you should also prevent inflammation and pain associated with the disease, by using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) prescribed by your vet.

Currently there is a medicinal product that contains a type of NSAID called mavacoxib. Just one tablet of this medicine a month can improve this condition considerably.


Only surgery can cure the problem and prevent it from deteriorating further. The right treatment for your pet will depend on the degree of dysplasia it suffers from, as well as their weight.

In small dogs weighing less than 20 kilos, excision (amputation) of the femoral head is recommended, regardless of the degree of the disease. This cures the problem almost completely. In the area from which the defective joint that has been removed, the dog's body produces a 'pseudoarticulation' with fibrous tissue capable of supporting its weight and enables it to live a normal life.

In heavier dogs , more complicated techniques are required such as hip replacements. In milder cases medical treatment alone might be sufficient.

Whatever the case, it is the vet who should prescribe the treatment. If your dog has hip dysplasia, we recommend visiting a vet, one specializing in traumatology if possible.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Care for a Dog with Hip Dysplasia, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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How to Care for a Dog with Hip Dysplasia
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