Hip dysplasia in dogs is a genetic condition. This means that certain dogs are predisposed to develop the condition, which takes place when the hip joint is improperly formed. The looseness of the joint causes the leg bone of your dog to move around too much, and this leads to a painful wear and tear. The condition may affect all breeds of dogs, but large breeds of dogs are more likely to have it. Even though the condition is hereditary, a study found that certain environmental factors actually affect the severity of the condition among dogs that are predisposed to develop it. Thus, while you cannot stop your dog from having hip dysplasia, there are steps you can take to reduce its severity or even prevent its symptoms from taking place.
First, keep your dog's weight in check. Overweight or obesity can worsen the symptoms of hip dysplasia. Your dog being overweight or obese means that your dog has excess weight to carry, and this means extra pain for him or her. Thus, as a dog parent, it is your responsibility to be careful with what and how much you are feeding your dog. To maintain a healthy weight for your dog, make sure that his or her diet is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Also, do not free-feed your dog. Limit what and when he or she eats. In fact, one study found that Labrador Retriever puppies that were free-fed for three years had a higher incidence of the condition than those who were fed the same diet but the amount was 25% less than that of the amount free-fed puppies had .
Second, make sure your dog gets regular and appropriate exercise. One study found that dogs that have the chance to walk daily in parks were less likely to develop hip dysplasia. Moreover, it would be best to get your checked by a veterinarian before starting an exercise program for your dog. But, in general, if your dog has shown signs of the condition or is predisposed to develop the condition, you should take him or her for walks for not more than 30 minutes daily. Also, avoid strenuous exercises such as climbing the stairs and running for a long period of time.
Third, give your dog a hip and joint supplement for dogs . A supplement that contains appropriate amounts of chondroitin and glucosamine can help prevent or reduce the severity of hip dysplasia in your dog. Glucosamine helps in the production of joint lubricants, while chondroitin helps prevent stress injuries to joints and repair damaged connective tissues.
Hip dysplasia is a condition that may affect your dog, but it should not stop your dog from living a good quality of life. This can be achieved by giving your dog a balanced diet, proper exercise, and the right hip and joint supplement.