How to make a dog comfortable with hip dysplasia

You may come to a point where you notice discomfort in your dog whilst he (or she) undertakes basic tasks.

As unfortunate as it may seem, you may find that your dog could be suffering from canine hip dysplasia. Whilst this can be a terrifying experience, you can manage this problem by taking the right steps.

One of the most important steps is knowing how to make a dog comfortable with hip dysplasia. 


Today, I will take you through how to spot early symptoms, what to do if you find them, surgery, equipment, and much more. Keep reading to find out how…

What is Hip dysplasia in dogs?

hip dysplasia in dogs is when a dog’s femur bone does not correctly fit into the hip socket, resulting in a lot of pain and discomfort around the hip area. In a healthy dog, you will find that the hip socket will comfortably house the head of the femur bone which allows a hip joint to be formed.

A dog with hip dysplasia will also have cartilage and fluids between the joint may be also damaged. This will then prevent normal motions & movement in the joint and result in a lot of pain when attempting to do so.

Image result for hip dysplasia in dogs

What to do if you see symptoms

When these symptoms are found it’s also an indication that ligaments between the joint may be damaged. When this happens your dog’s bones will grow apart instead of being held together which will cause their bones to rub whilst walking. As you can tell this all sounds very horrible and can place your dog under a lot of stress and discomfort. 

So it’s super important for you to learn as much as you can about this topic in order to provide the best possible help to them. I have seen many dogs over the years with hip dysplasia, and unfortunately, it’s a very common occurrence in the breed.

Causes behind hip dysplasia

Throughout my years of research, I have found that this is usually a hereditary disease that is commonly found in golden retrievers. As dogs get older you will notice that the problems only get worse when dealing with hip dysplasia. Veterinarians say that most dogs who suffer from this are usually born with normal hip joints. 

It develops from two bones growing apart from each other, which then results in an abnormal joint causing hip dysplasia. Bad breeding has also been found as a common cause of this, which is something that is almost impossible to avoid.

How to spot symptoms of hip dysplasia

Because this is a progressive disease that worsens over time. It’s something that can defensibly be identified in the early stages of your dog’s life. 

A great indicator that can raise your awareness around this problem early on is by knowing your dog’s history.

By knowing of the parents and grandparents of your dog, you will then be able to know if any other family members have suffered this is the past. If so then you will need to pay close attention to your dog’s growth and consistently make accurate checks to spot signs of any abnormal growth.

  • Pain or signs of discomfort while exercising or playing
  • Walking with stiff back legs
  • Running with a bunny hop
  • Stiffness when getting up or running
  • Finding it hard to stand up
  • Muscle tone less toned in the back legs
  • Not wanting to take part in fun activities

Like with every illness on earth. The best way to handle a disease like this is to find it early. This will allow you and the professionals to take the appropriate actions right from the start.

Which then, in turn, may result in healthier, happier adult life for your pup. If you notice any of these symptoms then contact your vet immediately and get an X-ray booked in to inspect this further.

How to make your dog comfortable with hip dysplasia

If you find that your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia then there are a few ways you can help them to live with it. It’s super important that you also invest the correct equipment for your pup in order to reduce any pain or discomfort as much as possible.

In mild cases, it’s great to get hold of an orthopedic bed that will provide extra support for your dog’s joints whilst they sleep. Finding the right bed can be a difficult task so I have written a complete review on comparing the 2 best beds for goldens with hip dysplasia.

Just below are a few braces to look at if you find that you are in need of providing your dog with aid for walking.

[amazon bestseller=”hip dysplasia brace for dogs” items=”5″ template=”table” link_id=”18262″][/amazon]

Is this fixable? If so How?

In most cases, the answer to that question is yes. But there is no definite answer until you have made a trip to the vets. The first step your dog will go through is an assessment to see exactly how severe the problem is and what options are available to them.

In some cases you may find that you are dealing with a severe case of hip dysplasia then the only option that may be available is surgery. Whilst in other cases it may be just a factor of using a brace for a while to bring your pups structure back into alignment.

Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis

This is usually presented as an option for dogs under 5 months of age. This surgery involves merging the two bones together and holding them in place. Which in turn should allow the other bones to develop around it in a proper manner.

Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO)

Image result for triple pelvic osteotomy

This involves the surgeon having to break the pelvis area and replacing it in the correct position to allow the correct regrowth of the joint. This is a great option for dogs under 10 months old.

This procedure is one of the more painful ones and will stand you in quite a bit of cash. Be prepared to get your wallet/to purse out.

This surgery will most probably be the best option presented for your dog if they are still young because in most cases it will restore a full function to the hip joint again.

Femoral Head and Neck Excision

This involves removing the top of the femur bone away (the head) and then replacing it with a fibrous joint. This is usually found to be a cheaper option but may not always be the best option.

You will also find that most surgeons will advise you that a surgery like this will most probably not completely restore movement in the hip joint.

Total Hip Replacement

This is the last resort surgery as you can tell from the name. You will find this to be an option for fully grown dogs and it’s usually one of the most expensive too. Whilst this may cost a lot to perform, it is usually a highly recommended surgery because in most cases this will help restore full functionality to your dog’s hip joint.

It involves removing your dog’s whole hip joint and replacing it with an artificial one. Most dogs that have this surgery will make a full recovery and live a pain-free adult age.

What is the average cost of surgery?

All of these surgical options can stand you in around $1500 to $5,000 in costs. So for your own sake. 

I’m hoping that you already got pet insurance before needing to go down this route. If you do, then make sure to find out exactly what is covered. Because in the long run, this could save you a lot of cash.

Alternatives to surgery

In some cases, you will find that surgery is simply way too expensive or your dog has not yet reached a deep level of severity. When this is the case then you may be able to explore some cheaper options.

Some of the alternative treatments you can find include anti-Inflammatories, Joint supplements & Pain medications. So what are all of these and where can you find them? I will explain just that in the following sections.


This is used to reduce any signs of swelling, tenderness & pain. These medicines are consumed either by injection or oral tablets.



This is a pain medication that does not use steroids. It’s designed to reduce inflammation in the hip joint and provide pain relief at the same time.

The way the medication is usually prescribed will base based on the weight of your dog. In most cases, you will find a lot of side effects associated with this medicine.

So it’s very important to stay in contact with your vet at regular intervals whilst your dog is taking this medicine. The average cost of this product is around $100 dollars and the dosage amount is measured against the current weight of your dog.



This is another medication that does not use steroids.  Again, this involves measuring the recommended dosage for your dog based on their current weight at the time.

An average price for this can set you back around $50. Whilst this may be the cheaper option of the 2, there are many cases where you will find your dog having side effects with such medications.

Make sure to inform your vet of the current medications that your dog is taking to avoid any conflicts between the two. Always be aware of possible side effects and allergies before using any over-the-counter drugs on your dog.

Recommended medication for pain

Whilst there are many different ways to help your dog with hip dysplasia. Pain medications are becoming one of the more common options for an over the counter fix.

If you find yourself using this as an option then it’s important for you to know a little more about it first. This form of medication is usually prescribed in a measured amount based on your dog’s current weight.

It’s not exactly known about what long-term effects are caused by this treatment. So make sure to let your vets know on any other medication that your dog is currently taking to avoid any cross confliction between the two.


This can be used to reduce swelling in the hip area of your dog.  You can usually get this in different flavors that can help with how your dog consumes the medicine.

The main side effect I found this medicine to have is the ability of your dog’s blood to clot. So make sure to inform your vet if you are using this option for your dog.



 This is used to reduce swelling and pain in the hip area of your dog. The amount of dosage you should give them will be determined by your dog’s current weight.

As with all the above-mentioned drugs, it’s important to make sure that this medicine will not conflict with any other drugs that your dog is taking. So make sure to consult a professional before providing this as an option to your dog. A current bottle of this product can cost around $50 as of December 2018.

Physical therapy

Depending on how severe your dog is suffering from hip dysplasia will depend on what options are available to you. For most of us, it’s also great to mix in some practical activities along with your dog taking medication.

It’s a great form of physical therapy but is usually only available if your dog’s conditions are not severe. Even when taking this option you must ensure always that your dog is comfortable to do so. This could result in a lot of stress to them if they do not feel comfortable to undertake such tasks.

Develop an Exercise Regime

This involves slowly getting your dog to take part in physical activities that gradually increase in intensity over time. It’s important that your dog is comfortable to take part in these activities so that you don’t overdo it.

This will help your dog to regain some strength around the hip area and potentially help them to support their weight once again. Make sure to consult with a professional before undergoing such activities.


This is a controlled water activity that helps your dog to regain strength in the damaged area. The exercise requires them to walk on an underwater treadmill that will help them to work all of their muscles in the hip an leg.

This is a great option for your dog if you can afford it, as it comes in at around $50 per session. Below is an example video of a dog going through this exercise for you to gain a visual understanding of this option.

How you can prevent hip dysplasia

A great way of preventing this type of problem from occurring is to manage your dog’s weight. Whilst this may not always stop hip dysplasia from developing it’s certainly a good way of managing it if it does occur. Learn how to prevent it here.

There are also some great foods that can be used to ensure your dog gets a nice healthy growth through their bones and joints too. 

Keep an eye on your dog

Throughout your dog growing up you will become accustomed to seeing them do certain things on a day to day basis. Some of the things will include regular movements or activities throughout the day. If you notice that there is a sudden change in habit or behavior then this could be an indication to look further into it.

Whilst there are many dogs that are affected by hip dysplasia you may find that this s not the exact cause for your pup. The idea of checking is purely to give you a deeper understanding of what. The problem may be. Make sure to consult a professional vet at any time you find this may be the situation.


If you find that your dog is suffering from hip dysplasia, then it’s important to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Make sure to consult a professional vet before providing your dog with any medications to help with this disease. If you do become aware that your dog has pains in the ship then get them booked in for an x-ray as soon as possible.

Picture of Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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