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Diets for Dogs With Hip Dysplasia

One of the most helpless feelings for a loving pet owner is to know that your dog has an ailment and you cannot do too much to help. If your dog has hip dysplasia, you might be wondering what your options are when it comes to alleviating symptoms for your beloved doggo. 

While diet will not fix everything, your dog’s diet can positively impact their wellbeing—and their hips. This is why it is so important for you to be selective about the food you feed to your furry best friend.

Hip dysplasia itself can be a bit confusing, even for the most dedicated and doting dog owners. For that reason, you should do some research on it to gain a more robust understanding of what hip dysplasia is, and how you can help your pet when they are experiencing it.

Today, we are going to discuss all things related to dog hip dysplasia and how diet can help. To begin, we will give you some clarity on what hip dysplasia is and what causes this to occur in dogs. Once you have a more thorough understanding of your dog’s condition, we can begin to discuss how your pup’s diet could potentially impact it.

Hip dysplasia is certainly not ideal, but there are things that you can do as an owner that will make a positive impact on your pet.

What Is Hip Dysplasia?

The diagnosis hip dysplasia refers to a deformity of your dog’s hip. It occurs during growth, and until your dog gets diagnosed, you might not even know they were experiencing an issue. 

Your dog has a hip joint that is a ball and socket. When they are growing, both the ball, or head of the dog’s thighbone, and the socket in your dog’s pelvic bone, referred to as the acetabulum, must grow at an equal rate for normal hips. However, this does not always happen. 

Hip dysplasia is what occurs when growth is not uniform during puppyhood. As a result, the dog will have laxity—or looseness—of the joint. These are the dog’s body’s attempts to help them stabilize their loose hip joint.

What Happens When a Dog Has Hip Dysplasia?

In instances of hip dysplasia, the ball and socket will rub or grind against each other instead of sliding as they are supposed to. As a result, there will be deterioration over time, and your dog will eventually lose function of the joint. 

As mentioned earlier, people do not always know that their dog has hip dysplasia. The degree of lameness that your dog has is dependent on the extent of arthritic changes. In addition, these changes are not always correlated with the way the hip joint appears on X-rays of the pup. 

Some pets that do have significant signs of osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia will not show any symptoms. Other dogs with minimal changes could experience extreme lameness and discomfort. It depends on your dog, and your best bet is to ask your vet what they think about your pet’s particular situation. 

What Causes Hip Dysplasia?

When your dog gets diagnosed with canine hip dysplasia, you might be wondering what could have caused it. 

Your dog could be impacted by other factors, including environment, exercise, growth rate, diet, muscle mass, and even hormones. Hip dysplasia is most commonly seen in large breed dogs, such as retrievers and german shepherds, but it is possible that other, smaller types of dogs can develop problems with their hips. 

Still, this condition is more common in certain breeds than others. If your dog’s breed is prone to hip dysplasia, you will want to keep them lean during growth, as the condition could be worse in heavier, overweight dogs. 

How Do I Know if My Dog Has Hip Dysplasia, and How Does It Get Diagnosed?

While dogs can begin to show signs that they have this condition when they are as young as four months of age, other times, it takes longer to show up, and some dogs develop hip dysplasia in their older age. 

However, both of these scenarios have something in common: knowing the symptoms will help clue you in as an owner that there is something wrong. 

The symptoms that your dog exhibits will vary depending on the level of swelling, how severe the disease is, whether arthritis and cartilage damage have occurred, how loose their joint is, and how long the dog has been experiencing hip dysplasia. 

Here are some telltale signs that your dog could be dealing with hip dysplasia, and you should take them to the vet: 

  • Decrease in the normal range of motion
  • Lameness and gait abnormalities in their limbs, especially hind legs
  • Reluctance or difficulty to jump, rise, climb stairs or run
  • Swaying walk 
  • Grating in your dog’s joint capsule when they move
  • Enlargement of shoulder muscles 
  • Discomfort 
  • Limping 
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased activity

How Is Hip Dysplasia Treated?

There are several ways that you and your vet can treat your dog’s hip dysplasia, but one is much more long-lasting than the others. The course of treatment that your veterinarian suggests will depend on both your dog’s clinical signs and how uncomfortable they are. 

There are medications available that your dog can take to help them with their hip dysplasia discomfort. If your dog has hip dysplasia, this will often be a vet’s starting point. 

These medications have very few side effects, which means that they are a good choice. Your vet will recommend medication based on your dog’s situation. However, sometimes your dog will have to try a few different NSAIDs before finding one that works for them. 

Other times, your vet will advise you to give your dog supplements like omega-3. If these are not proving to help ease hip joint laxity, you might need to get surgery for your pet, such as a total hip replacement, triple pelvic osteotomy, or femoral head ostectomy. 

Several different types of surgery could help your pet, and a vet will be able to suggest the best one for your pup, typically alongside physical therapy. 

Your Dog’s Diet Can Reduce the Risk of Hip Dysplasia, or Potentially Alleviate Symptoms

If your dog has hip dysplasia, their diet can make an impact on them. You should be sure that your dog is getting a complete, balanced meal. This will help prevent obesity from occurring, which could lead to a dog developing hip dysplasia. 

A healthful, nutrient-rich diet will help ensure your dog’s bones and joints are developing correctly. This is especially necessary when your dog is a puppy. 

You also might consider including omega 3 fatty acids into your dog’s diet. These have properties that can help a dog that has swelling in their hips. Omega-3s are found in fish oil and flaxseed, and you can use these as a supplement or even include them into your pet’s regular diet.

Calcium is another nutrient that you should consider including in your pet’s diet. Calcium can prove helpful in strengthening your dog’s bones and can also work to prevent their joints from becoming more uncomfortable. 

However, you should only give puppies calcium-rich food in moderation, because high calcium consumption during puppyhood can lead to overgrowth. 

Iron and vitamin C can also be helpful for a pet. You can simply feed your dog foods that are naturally high in iron, like beef or chicken, but some vegetarian options also have this mineral, such as leafy greens. 

Vitamin C is also ideal as it can help rebuild connective tissues. 

Try Kabo for a Happier, Healthier Dog

Food that was custom-created for your pet can be one of the best ways to support your dog’s health. Kabo is a subscription food service that delivers the best food to your doorstep. You can get started by filling out a quick questionnaire that gives Kabo background on your dog. 

You also indicate your dog’s breed, age, weight, and activity level, and recipes are suggested to you based on this information. You are then free to select any two recipes, after which your Kabo order will be delivered right to your door!

Kabo helps ensure that your dog has a balanced diet based on their individual needs. Kabo tastes great, is easy to feed to your dog, and offers dogs the nutrients they need to live a happier, healthier life. 

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February 20, 2024
5 minutes
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