Hip pain can be very debilitating for dogs, especially in their senior years. And as a dog owner, you want to do everything you can to keep your dog happy, healthy, and pain-free throughout their lifetime.
In this post, we'll take a look at some of the most common causes of dog hip pain, and the signs that your dog could be suffering from a hip condition or injury. We'll also explore preventative measures you can take to prevent hip conditions from developing, common treatments, and ways to minimize the pain of existing hip problems in dogs.
What Causes Dog Hip Pain?
The most common causes of dog hip pain are arthritis, dysplasia, and hip dislocation. Let's take a look at each.
Arthritis is a degenerative condition of the joints that can strike at any age. It is believed to affect an estimated 20% of dogs over just one-year-old. Causes of arthritis include joint trauma and genetically inherited conditions.
The hip is one of the most common joints to be affected by arthritis. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility.
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition where the hip socket is malformed. This results in pain, irritation, and inflammation when the socket and femur bone rub against each other.
Since hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, it can occur at any time during a dog's life. Senior dogs are most likely to suffer from dysplasia due to continuous wear and tear on the joint.
A hip dislocation occurs when the top of the thighbone (femur) separates from the socket. And yes, it really is as painful as it sounds!
It typically takes great force to dislocate the hip, so most hip dislocations are caused by major trauma such as a heavy fall, or being hit by a car.
Symptoms of Dog Hip Pain
So, now you know the most common causes of dog hip pain, let's take a look at some of the symptoms that may indicate your dog is suffering from it.
Dogs with hip pain will attempt to keep their weight off the painful hip joint, resulting in limping that can be quite pronounced. If you notice limping or lameness in your dog's back legs, there's a good chance he's suffering from hip pain.
Difficulty getting up and down
If your dog has hip pain he may have trouble laying down and getting back up again. That's because these seemingly simple movements put extra stress and strain on painful hip joints.
Slowness and stiffness
A lack of fluidity in your dog's movements can point to hip pain as an underlying cause. Dogs suffering from hip pain will tend to move around quite slowly, and can often appear lethargic. Stiff movements, especially after getting up, can also be a sign of dog hip pain.
Trouble jumping or climbing stairs
Dogs with hip pain can have trouble with tasks that require movement of the hip joints, such as jumping or climbing stairs. Inflammation and swelling in the joints can make these tasks very painful, so your dog may try and avoid them altogether.
A dog with hip pain may have swollen hip joints caused by inflammation. Swollen joints can be difficult to visually identify, but they will often be warm and tender to the touch.
Preventing Dog Hip Pain
So far, we've discussed the causes and symptoms of dog hip pain. Now let's take a look at ways you can prevent it.
Choose the right dog bed
One of the best ways to prevent hip pain in later life is by providing your dog with an orthpedic dog bed that offers superior comfort, support, and pain relief. BuddyRest memory foam dog beds are truly orthopedic. That means they're proven to promote joint health in younger dogs by supporting the body, redistributing weight evenly across the entire surface of the bed, and eliminating pressure points.
As well as preventing hip pain from developing due to spinal misalignment and pressure on sensitive joints, BuddyRest memory foam dog beds provide relief to older dogs with painful existing hip conditions. They are specifically calibrated and without a doubt, the best bed for a dog with hip dysplasia.
At BuddyRest we use state-of-the-art scientific pressure mapping systems to ensure that our beds provide the most effective pressure redistribution possible. We also consult with world-class veterinarians to constantly improve our technology and stay on the cutting edge of sleep science.
Control your dog's weight
Obesity is one of the main causes of dog hip pain. The joints of an overweight dog are put under a lot of stress and can degrade far faster than those of a dog at a healthy weight.
Take a common-sense approach to controlling your dog's weight by feeding a balanced, nutritious diet, and going easy on the treats. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps; a lot of the foods humans eat are unsuitable for dogs and can cause them to gain weight rapidly.
Regular exercise is also important for controlling your dog's weight. Walking is an especially important part of your dog's daily routine – not only does it keep him physically healthy and in shape, it also provides mental stimulation which helps prevent unwanted behavior.
Treatment for Dog Hip Pain
If your dog is suffering from hip pain it's important that you speak to your veterinarian to discuss treatment options. The course of treatment your veterinarian chooses will depend on the severity of the condition. In some cases, surgery may be required, but this should only be as a last resort.
Medication and supplements can be used to treat pain and inflammation and lubricate the joints to improve mobility. This is often a long-term solution for dogs with chronic hip pain.
At home, you can treat your dog's hip pain by gently massaging the area and applying a warm compress. Your veterinarian can show you how to use massage therapy to treat your dog's hip pain.
We hope you enjoyed today's post and learned more about the causes and symptoms of dog hip pain, the measures you can take to prevent it, and the methods of treatment available.
Please visit our website to find out more about the science behind BuddyRest dog beds, and how they help prevent and manage dog hip pain.