Hip Dysplasia Treatment for Dogs (cont.)

Should Dogs with Hip Dysplasia Exercise?

Talk to your dog's veterinarian about a good exercise program. Walking and moderate running can help strengthen the muscles around the joint. Your vet may recommend that you try for two 20-minute walks each day-just be sure to let your dog set the pace. As a general rule, it's smart to avoid jumping or running for long distances. If you can, consider letting your dog swim for exercise-swimming is excellent for the muscles surrounding his joints.

Can Proper Diet Help Alleviate Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia?

Weight plays an important role in the comfort of your dog's hips. Extra weight can add stress to hip joints, so make sure your dog is on a healthy diet, especially if he's a large breed. You can work with your vet to find the right eating regimen for your dog.

What Else Can I Do to Ease My Dog's Pain?

Talk to your vet about the following tips:

  • Apply a warm water bottle for 15 minutes twice a day.
  • Massage the muscles around his hip joints, gently rubbing in a circular motion with your fingertips for ten minutes at the most. (Pay attention to his response. If massage seems to irritate your dog's hip, don't continue.)
  • Buffered aspirin may take the pain away, too, but speak with your vet first about proper dosage, administration and side effects. There are many newer prescription painkillers available as well to help keep your dog pain-free.
  • Keep your dog out of damp, chilly weather.
  • Provide traction on slippery floors: Dogs with hip dysplasia often have a hard time on slippery floors, so lay carpet down, and if he needs to climb stairs or jump up into the car, a carpeted ramp will make it a lot easier on him.
  • Provide a firm, orthopedic bed for your dog.

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk.

If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.