Best Low-Impact Exercises for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia You Should Know

Hip Dysplasia is a chronic condition common in large dog breeds. This type of condition occurs when the femur bone head does not fit in the hip socket. This will result in pain in the dog walking around. Hip dysplasia also leads to less lubrication between the bones. The results are that the dog ends up with a pain that is always in pain because of the condition. Sometimes the exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia can help improve the health of the pet.

If the pet already has hip dysplasia, there are many things you can do to help it get better other than exercising. We will look at the various aspects of the disease in detail below and give you the best exercises to use.

Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia is commonly a hereditary disease. If the parent has it, then the chances of the offspring getting it are high. The condition gets worse with age. At some point, it might be too painful for the pet to walk.

There are some studies that show hip dysplasia in dogs is also as a result of bad breeding around the world. That is how you end with the disease common in certain breeds now in other breeds.

Veterinarians believe that even those breeds born with hip dysplasia, their hip work just fine when the pet is still young. The condition worsens as the pet grows and the two bones separate.

The worst is when the condition affects both hips. This will make it a lot harder for your pet to walk compared to when it was in just one hip. At this point, you might want to consider using other supporting mechanisms to improve the mobility of the pet.

Breeds Commonly Affected by Hip Dysplasia

As much as hip dysplasia in dogs can happen to several dog breeds, there will be those breeds more prone to the condition than others are. Below are some of the breeds you are likely to find having the condition.

  • Bulldogs
  • Basset Hound
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Boerboel
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • St. Benard
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Otterhound
  • Pugs
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • French bulldog

If you are not sure if the dog can be affected by hip dysplasia or not, then consider doing a dog DNA test. It is from the DNA test that you would know if the pet it prone to hip dysplasia or even other severe pet conditions.

Symptoms and Signs That Your Dog Has Hip Dysplasia 

Just like any other condition, hip dysplasia can be managed if identified earlier. However, there are some people who might not know if their pet is prone to the condition or not. It is why it would be great if you watch out for the dog hip dysplasia symptoms.

Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for to identify hip dysplasia.

  • The dog shows signs of pain or discomfort when exercising
  • The pet runs with a bunny hop
  • Lameness
  • The dog shows signs of stiffness when running
  • Loss of muscles in the back legs
  • Rising from a prone position is troubling for the pet
  • The dog seems reluctant to enjoy physical activities it previously liked

In case you notice some of the symptoms mentioned above, be sure to consult with your vet to find the right treatment for your pet.

Stages of Hip Dysplasia Severity

There are several ways to describe hip dysplasia in the pets that you need to know. From the stage of the condition, then you can know what exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia will be ideal. Here are the stages.

  • Excellent

Well, when the hip if fully functional, then it is referred to as excellent. In the case of a healthy hip, the femoral head will fit tightly as expected into the hip socket. This will leave the pet with an excellent hip that has no pain and offers full range of motion.

  • Mild hip dysplasia

This is when the space between the socket and ball of the hip starts to increase. This is because the ligaments holding the two together develop tears and stretch. The result is that the pet experiences reduced stability in the affected joint. Such a pet needs regular monitoring and pain medication to deal with the hip joint pain.

  • Moderate dysplasia

When it gets to a point the femur head is barely in the socket, that is what we refer to as moderate dysplasia. You will also notice that the arthritic effects become more evident. You are likely to see signs such as pain when running or walking, lameness, and more. Such a dog needs pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and sometimes surgery.

  • Severe dysplasia

Severe dysplasia is when the femur head completely dislocates from the joint. The dog would not even be able to walk. Even if it can walk, it will be in great pain. Such pets may require surgery to completely sort the issue.

5 Best Exercises for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

Now that you know more about the condition, we would like to check out the best exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia. These exercises might seem simple, but they go a long way to improve the condition of your dog.

Here are some of the exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia that you can try out today.

1. Frequent walks

It is common that you would want to protect your dog when you notice that it has hip dysplasia. There are those who would not want to walk the dog since they think it will be in too much pain. Keep in mind that no walks are just as bad as too much exercising.

As much as we recommend frequent walks, they should be short walks. To understand the right walking time for your pet, you need to consult the vet. From the vet, you should have all the information that you need to walk your pet with hip dysplasia.

2. Take the dog for a swim

Many people do not know that swimming can also be great for pets such as dogs. Since swimming is a low impact and high resistance exercise, it will end up being a great choice for a dog with joint conditions.

Swimming is also great for the dogs as it will help them build better muscles that might have been lost due to hip dysplasia.

When taking the pet for a swim, you might want to consult with a professional. The pet will mostly be going through hydrotherapy to help it regain its mobility better. The number of sessions will depend on the severity of the condition.

3. Agility Training

Agility training is another important consideration to keep in mind as one of the exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia. When the dog goes through and around different obstacles, it is going to end up with better physical and mental stimulation. This is better compared to a dog that barely exercises.

4. Games

Think of low-impact games that you can play with your dog. The games will keep the dog busy so that it does not lay around the whole day. The games should encourage the dog to move around without too much strain on the affected hip.

5. Sit Stands

The old-fashioned “sit stands” are good for your dog too. We must point out that a dog with hip dysplasia will have a problem standing up from a prone position so go easy on it. If you can give such commands for the dog to follow, it will help to keep it active too. As a result, it will be exercising and keeping fit rather than sitting the whole day.

Treating Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Now that you know about the exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia, it would be great if you knew about how to treat the condition too.

The treatment can be varied from using surgery to supplements to help with alleviating the pain and fix the condition.

If we consider the surgical option, we find various types of surgeries that can be done to improve the condition. Such types include juvenile pubic symphysiodesis, triple pelvic osteotomy, femoral head ostectomy and neck excision, and total hip replacement.

As much as surgery tends to offer a lasting solution to hip dysplasia, it does not come cheap. You will end up spending a lot of money to get the procedure done. In most cases, the hip dysplasia surgical procedure can cost anywhere from $1500 to $4500.

Surgery Alternatives

The expenses associated with surgery in addition to other factors that make someone consider alternatives to surgery. So, what are some of the surgery alternatives to consider?

  • Hip and joint supplements

The hip and joint medications are commonly recommended for dogs with hip dysplasia. These supplements will have the necessary ingredients necessary for improving the condition and helping the dog walk better.

If you are going to choose such supplements, then get those with the ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and fish oils. These are crucial to boost the health of your pet in addition to supporting the hip and joint.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs as the name suggests are crucial for reducing the swelling in the hip joints. Such medication can either be in pill or injectable form. Make sure that you get it in the form that would be easier to administer to your pet.

If the pet is a picky eater, then pills might be tough to administer. In such a case, consider using injections for faster administration. Some of the most recommended anti-inflammatory drugs include deramaxx and rimadyl.

  • Pain medications

Pain medications are equally important for easing the discomfort in the hip joints. As much as the long-term use of pain medication is not recommended,  you can use it to help the pet get a long with its day. Some pet owners chose water therapy to handle the pain in addition to the medications. This can help reduce the dependency on the pain medication for your dog.

So, what kind of pain medications can you use for your pet? Some of the top options will include vetprofen, aspirin, tramadol, gabapentin, and more. Make sure that you administer these pain medications under the guidance of a vet.

  • Other types of medications

Other than using exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia, you are likely to find pet owners using CBD oil to treat the condition too. CBD oil so far has shown to be a great option for dogs considering it does not have side effects. The best part is that you can purchase it without necessarily a prescription from your vet.

Just like humans use CBD oil to treat pain, you can use it too for the dog. CBD oil is seen as a great option for treating arthritis, dysplasia, and inflammation.

In addition to such benefits, the same CBD oil is good for reducing anxiety, managing seizures, and digestive problems.

Another option would be to use Adequan. This is a unique medication important for treating arthritis, which is a common side effect of having hip dysplasia. When you use this type of medication, it can help with keeping the cartilage from wearing too much. The result is that you end up with preserving your pet’s cartilage.

After using this medication for a while, it is easy to notice the improvements. Just make sure you follow the recommended dosage of the medication. This will give you confidence that your pet can get better with the right medication.


From the guide above, you should have all the information that you need to keep your dog healthy all the time. Also, you now know the best exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia. With the best medication, you should end up with a dog that handles the condition better. Always be on the look out for the various signs that point to hip dysplasia. With early detection, the treatment can begin early enough to prevent further damage.