How to help dogs with arthritis in the hips

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In hip dysplasia or arthritis in the hips, the ball and socket joint do not connect or function effectively, and they scrape and rub rather than move effortlessly. Cartilage provides a cushion to joints, and the bones can move smoothly over each other due to synovial fluid.

When a dog ages, the cartilage lines become thin, cartilage cells die, and the synovial fluid is lost; due to the loss of fluid, bones start to hurt and decrease mobility. A typical hip joint shows the cartilage lining, but the hip joints with arthritis have no joint space between the bones and no cartilage lining.


Symptoms of arthritis can vary with age; it can occur in four months old puppies and mainly in older age of large-sized puppies. Symptoms may depend upon disease severity, level of looseness in joints, inflammation, and how long the dog has arthritis in the hips.

  • Grating in joints during movement
  • Loss of mass of thigh muscle
  • Increase in shoulder muscle
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased activity
  • Difficulty in jumping and going upstairs
  • Reduction in range of motion

Causes of arthritis in hip joints

There are several factors involved in causing arthritis in the hips. This disease is primarily found in larger breeds like German Shepherd, Great Dane, and Saint Bernard. Few causes are as below:

  • Excessive growth rate: Large breed dogs require special nutrition, and these particular nutritional foods can stop the extreme growth that can lead to hip dysplasia.
  • Improper nutrition: Imbalanced food can create an issue for a dog’s health and develop joint disorders like hip dysplasia, as can too little or too much exercise.
  • Obesity: Obesity is another vital factor to cause arthritis in the hips. Joints are under a lot of stress due to obesity in older dogs. Consult with their vet for an appropriate diet plan and exercise.

How to treat arthritis in hips

A regular visit to a vet

Preventive care is essential to avoid chronic medical issues. The early detection helps to manage arthritis with a treatment plan and gives quality life to your dog.

Weight management

Dogs with heavyweight experience arthritis. More weight on the joint puts enormous pressure and causes inflammation and irritation.

Exercise management

Exercise is crucial to produce joint mobility and strengthen the muscles. Regular exercises like swimming and walking are essential for managing it. Other strenuous activities can put a lot of strain on ligaments and result in permanent damage.

Message and bodywork

Muscle massages help to stimulate the flow of blood to atrophying muscles and flexibility.

Joint supplements

Numerous supplements are available to keep cartilage and joints healthy. Glucose ammine will be in the treatment plan by your vet if your dog has arthritis. The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin with anti-inflammatory effects seems helpful in arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids help in joint function in dogs with arthritis.

Therapeutic laser treatment

Low-level laser therapy is a pain- and surgery-free treatment known as class IV therapy. A cold laser therapy device for dogs can relieve pain in arthritis in the hips or hip dysplasia. Laser light penetrates deep into tissues at the cellular level, enhances blood flow, and reduces inflammation. Laser therapy promotes the healing process.


Firstly your vet may take the blood test and determine whether your dog is eligible for medication or not? If yes, they will prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory to manage pain.

Surgical strategies

  • Femoral head osteotomy (FHO)

FHO strategy is for pain management. This operation is usually performed in young and old dogs. In FHO surgery, the ball or femoral head of the hip joint will be cut. As a result “false” joint is created in the body to decrease the discomfort of hip dysplasia.

  • Total hip replacement (THR)

The complete joint is altered with metal and plastic implants known as total hip replacement. Hip joints may perform normal functions by eliminating a lot of distress.

  • Double or triple osteotomy (DPO or TPO)

This surgery is done on dogs below ten months of age. To improve the ball and socket joint performance, turn the segments by osteotomy of the pelvic bone.

Surgery is a last resort and is painful; the best is to provide quality life to your pup. Isn’t that the point of being a pet parent?