What is Hip Dysplasia and How Can I Help My Dog Who’s Dealing with This Condition?

What is Hip Dysplasia and How Can I Help My Dog Who’s Dealing with This Condition?

Hip dysplasia is a somewhat common condition that affects the hip joint, and essentially occurs during the stages of a dog’s growth.  The condition can be mild or severe, but nonetheless, does put your dog at risk of pain and mobility problems, especially as they get older. 

Each case can be unique, but the bottom line is that if your dog does have hip dysplasia, you will want to do everything that you can to support them so that they can live as comfortable and functional of a life as possible.  Let’s talk about what this condition is, what causes it, how it’s commonly treated, and whether or not there are natural ways to provide them with relief – such as through CBD, which’s being used by more dog owners than ever before to help canines with various forms of discomfort.

What Exactly is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip joint, which can affect any mammal, but is particularly common in canines.  When a dog is growing, as the transition from puppy to adult, the ball and socket of the hip joint must grow at the same rate.  If they do not grow at the same rate, then the joint will be permanently loose, which can lead to osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.  These conditions result from the body’s continuous effort to heal the joint, which typically leads to chronic localized inflammation.

Hip dysplasia can appear in dogs as young as two months old.  This condition will show up in an X-ray, and some dogs who have it may be asymptomatic despite clear signs of a deformed hip joint in an X-ray image.  Still, most dogs will experience at least some difficulty with walking, along with discomfort that can get progressively worse with age.

What Causes Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

Hip dysplasia is generally considered a genetic disease, and seems to be most heavily influenced by hormones, diet, exercise, muscle mass, growth rate, and environment.  Overall, it seems to be hereditary.

What are the Signs of Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia will show up on an X-ray, as it’s very easy to see when the ball and socket of the hip joint are not properly formed.  But, you may not know that your dog has it, and never take them to get an X-ray to begin with.  In that case, what kinds of signs should you look out for?

While dogs can be diagnosed with the condition after turning just 2 months old, the majority of dogs with hip dysplasia will begin demonstrating symptoms between the ages of 1 and 2, when the most significant growth stages have taken place.  Here are the symptoms you may notice:

  • Difficulty Getting Up from a Seated or Lying Down Position: If your dog seems to take longer than usual to get up from a seated or lying down position, or shows signs of discomfort while doing so, it may be because they have hip dysplasia.
  • Difficulty Climbing Stairs: Another sign of potential hip dysplasia is a difficulty going up the stairs, or a flat-out reluctance to attempt climbing stairs.  Because climbing stairs requires good hip mobility, it may be impossible.
  • A Weak or Limp Leg: If your dog seems to have one back leg that’s weak or limp, that can indicate hip dysplasia.
  • Wobbliness: If one hip is deformed, your dog may be wobbly when they walk or run, seemingly struggling to keep their balance.
  • Pain: Of course, pain is a sign that something is wrong, which may be hip dysplasia.  If your dog shows signs of pain like crying or aggression when using their hind legs, that may be a good indicator.

Again, these symptoms may get worse with age as conditions like arthritis may worsen.  So, you may notice that these symptoms become present later, and get consistently worse over time.

What are the Risk Factors?

It seems that larger dog breeds are more prone to developing hip dysplasia – particularly dogs at least 50 pounds in adulthood.  Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Bulldogs, Old English Sheepdogs, and German Shepherds seem to be particularly prone to the condition.

Dogs who are overfed during puppyhood are more at risk of developing the condition, as this can greatly interfere with the healthy development of the hip joints.  

Is Hip Dysplasia Treatable?

First, a dog needs to be diagnosed with hip dysplasia.  Why?  So they can receive the proper kind of treatment, and also rule out other potential conditions or injuries.

Diagnosing hip dysplasia typically involves placing a dog under general anesthesia and doing a hip radiograph.  Dog owners are encouraged to have them checked for the condition as early as possible, to potentially begin treatment sooner to keep symptoms manageable.

The treatment is going to depend on the severity of your dog’s condition, and which symptoms they’re exhibiting.  NSAIDs may be extremely helpful at managing discomfort and helping maintain mobility.  Dogs may also benefit from taking certain supplements – in particular, omega fatty acids and glucosamine, which can help support healthy joint tissue.

Physical therapy and light exercise will likely be recommended, and it’s important that your dog’s weight is managed, as being overweight can exacerbate the condition greatly.

A dog who is not responding to anti-inflammatory medication, or has a particularly advanced case, may require surgery.  There are surgical procedures for hip dysplasia, such as:

  • Total Hip Replacement: For this surgery, the entire hip is replaced, including the ball and socket, with an artificial one.
  • Femoral Head Ostectomy: For this type of surgery, the head and neck of the femur is removed, to reduce pain, and is only recommended if no other type of surgery can be performed.

Whether or not your dog requires surgery, and which kind of surgery will be recommended, depends on your dog’s unique condition, as well as their age.

Are There Ways to Prevent Hip Dysplasia?

To an extent, hip dysplasia can’t be prevented completely, because it seems to have a lot to do with genetics.  But, you may be able to help prevent a severe case by giving your dog a healthy diet, encouraging them to exercise, and keeping an eye on symptoms early on.

When Should I Bring My Dog to the Veterinarian?

We recommend bringing your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you detect any of the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia, which we covered earlier.  The earlier they are diagnosed, the earlier they can begin treatment, which can potentially keep symptoms mild so that they can live as comfortable and mobile of a life as possible.

How Can I Make My Dog More Comfortable?

A dog with hip dysplasia may experience pain, and difficulty getting around as easily as other dogs.  Luckily, there are all kinds of things that you can do to ensure that their life is as comfortable as possible while in your care.

Invest in Area Rugs

One way in which you can help your dog is by investing in some area rugs for around the home.  A dog with hip dysplasia may feel wobblier and more insecure when walking around, and area rugs are a great way to make them feel more stabilized.  A wood or tile floor can be a bit slippery, and make them feel uneasy, while an area rug gives their paws something to grip onto.

We recommend also putting some sort of carpeting on stairs, as dogs may feel extremely reluctant to go upstairs if they feel that the floor is too slippery for them to stabilize their hip as they climb up and down.

Make Sure They Have a Comfortable Place to Sleep

A dog with hip dysplasia may have a difficult time feeling comfortable because of the pain in their hip.  One way you can support them is by purchasing a high-quality dog bed that is made to support the joints while they sleep.  Consider a bed that is a little more costly than average, and is made to conform to their body while they sleep, to offer a better hip position.

Provide Them with a Nutrient-Rich Diet

Supporting your dog through their diet can significantly impact how they feel.  Make sure to give them a nutrient-rich diet, and don’t overfeed them, as weight gain can put more strain on the hip joint and cause pain and degeneration to worsen.  Consider incorporating supplements into their diet that support their joints, as recommended by your veterinarian, or a certified canine nutritionist.

Consider Acupuncture 

Many dog owners have found success through acupuncture, which is an ancient practice of inserting needles into pressure points to relieve pain and discomfort.  The actual needles are painless, and you can find practitioners who specialize in doing this practice on dogs.

Could CBD Help My Dog with Hip Dysplasia?

Then, there’s CBD, aka cannabidiol, which more and more dog owners are turning to for a host of health-related reasons.  CBD is the dominant chemical compound in the hemp plant, and it’s nonintoxicating, as well as nontoxic to all mammals, including, of course, dogs.

Cannabidiol has been used for centuries because of its variety of beneficial properties, but only now is science catching up, as clinical studies dating back as far as the 1960s are demonstrating just how useful this cannabinoid can be at addressing things like inflammation, joint mobility, and pain tolerance. 

Many of those who have dogs struggling with hip dysplasia are incorporating CBD into their furry friends’ daily routines, with success.  And, by now, the CBD dog market has been around for long enough for us to know that overall, canines tolerate cannabidiol-infused products very, very well.

CBD is a cannabinoid, which is a specific type of compound found only in cannabis – the genus that has given us both hemp and marijuana.  Cannabinoids are the only compounds that directly attach to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, belonging to the endocannabinoid system.  This complex bodily system keeps us in homeostasis, and hence, does so by sending cannabinoids to cannabinoid receptors which each correlate with a specific physiological process.  Cannabinoid receptors then use these cannabinoids to regulate the processes of the body that impact how we function and feel each day.

Cannabinoid receptors are found in every system of the body, and the endocannabinoid system regulates important processes like stress tolerance, pain tolerance, inflammation, and more.  Specifically, while no studies have been done yet to determine whether or not CBD can influence hip dysplasia, we do know that researchers at Cornell University found cannabidiol to effectively address canine osteoarthritis, by reducing pain and increasing mobility.  Keep in mind that many symptoms associated with hip dysplasia are caused by degenerative joint diseases like osteoarthritis which result from the joint deformity.

Not only that, but CBD may be able to address anxiety and sleep disorders in canines as well.  Cannabidiol works directly with cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system that control nervous system responses, such as stress as well as sleep.  Dogs who are struggling with pain and mobility problems may exhibit signs of anxiety, and even may have trouble sleeping due to their discomfort.  So, this is just another way in which CBD may be an incredibly valuable addition to your dog’s routine.

What You Need to Know About CBD For Dogs

If you want to start administering your dog CBD, there are some things you need to know first, both for your dog’s safety, and to ensure that the cannabinoid is as effective as possible.

Tip #1: Look Up a Company First

Never buy from any company until you do some research.  We strongly recommend looking at reviews, both on their website and throughout the internet, to make sure that dog owners generally recommend their products.  Also, make sure to look up third-party lab reports on their website.  These lab reports show that the company has their products tested by a state-authorized laboratory, where the product is extensively tested for purity, potency, and safety.

Tip #2: Choose a Dog-Friendly Formula

Make sure that you go with a product that’s made for pets, as this will be a formula designed with a dog’s needs in mind, rather than a human’s.  For one thing, a dog can’t tolerate certain ingredients found in many products for people, like certain essential oils or flavoring ingredients.  And, a dog requires a specific dosage of CBD to get the best results, while humans require a completely different amount.

On top of that, many CBD-infused products made for dogs are formulated to appeal to their senses, with flavors that dogs can’t resist.

Tip #3: Read Those Ingredients

Never buy a CBD product before reading all the ingredients on the label.  Some companies unfortunately use cheap or low-quality ingredients that ultimately don’t do your dog any favors.  Of course, in worst-case scenarios, a sketchy company may sneak harmful ingredients into a product.  And, you need to consider that your dog may be allergic to something in a formula.

Tip #4: Administer According to the Directions

Dog CBD products should come with dosing directions, which break down the recommended amount according to a dog’s weight range.  We urge you to follow these directions to ensure that your dog is getting the proper amount.  Too little of a dose just won’t deliver the results you’re looking for, and too much of a dose, while not dangerous, may cause drowsiness and fatigue.

Tip #5: Daily is Best

It’s always ideal to give your dog a dose of CBD each day, as the cumulative effects will be the most beneficial.  Cannabidiol works cumulatively, similarly to certain supplements, so that the long-term results can be quite profound.  Giving your dog CBD as needed may not be ideal, as it can be hard to know if your dog is in an unusual amount of pain on a particular day.

Tip #6: Monitor Them

Of course, it’s ideal to keep an eye on your dog when starting a CBD routine.  If they show signs of drowsiness, any changes in behavior, or changes to their health, we recommend seeing a vet to find out whether or not their routine needs to be changed.

Tip #7: Adjust as Needed

Don’t be afraid to work up to a somewhat higher dose if needed, or simply try out a new CBD product if the first one isn’t working for you.  Each dog’s needs are unique, as is their body, and you may find that it takes some experimentation to find a routine that really works for them.

Tip #8: Continue with Your Other Treatment Methods

We DO NOT recommend stopping your other forms of treatment when starting your dog on CBD.  CBD can work in a complementary way to what other methods you are using.  CBD alone cannot cure hip dysplasia, but it can potentially help your dog manage their symptoms – mainly pain, and mobility issues.  Continue taking your dog to the vet to monitor the progression of their condition.

Why Choose Chill Paws CBD Products?

Cannabidiol can make a difference in your pet’s life, especially when given on a daily basis.  But, it really comes down to the product that you end up choosing, as unfortunately, there are a lot of low-quality products on today’s hemp market.

At Chill Paws, we’ve dedicated our lives to providing only the very best CBD products for your pets, period.  We’ve spent years researching the hemp plant in order to figure out how to make CBD products that are as advantageous to cats and dogs as possible.  We offer CBD pet treats, CBD oils, and more, so that every pet owner can find exactly what will satisfy their beloved companion the most.

We’re proud to use completely plant-based ingredients to give your dog the best that they deserve.  We also use fresh, organic hemp extract that’s rich not only in CBD, but a variety of beneficial, dog-friendly chemical compounds naturally found in the plant.

Our products are known for their effectiveness, since we use only the most advanced extraction techniques, and ensure that our products contain active servings of cannabidiol.  Meaning, just know you’re getting your money’s worth, as a little can go a long way.  Our products come with dosing directions, and you can always contact our customer service team to develop a routine based on your dog’s needs.

Some of our customers do administer Chill Paws products to their dogs who suffer from hip dysplasia.  Overall, we’ve heard feedback that our formulas have provided relief in terms of discomfort and mobility problems.

Just a single serving each day may make a positive difference in your dog’s life, and even help them feel their best while you continue with other forms of treatment.  If your dog is struggling with hip dysplasia, we recommend giving CBD a try, as it has the potential to offer relief from discomfort, improved mobility, improved stress levels, and even improved sleep.

Your Dog Deserves a Comfortable Life with Hip Dysplasia

While the condition can worsen with age, to an extent, you have the ability to keep it in check by ensuring that your dog is provided with the right support, in the form of nutrition, medication, and maybe physical therapy.

On top of that, you can provide your dog with a daily serving of cannabidiol in an effort to keep inflammation at bay.  Studies have shown that CBD has the ability to regulate inflammatory response and pain threshold, and dogs respond to it just as well as humans.

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