Exercises for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia: A Comprehensive Guide

Hip dysplasia is a common condition that affects many dogs, causing pain and discomfort in their hip joints.

If your furry friend has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, you may be wondering what you can do to help alleviate their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

One of the most effective ways to manage hip dysplasia in dogs is through exercise.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia, and provide you with valuable information on how to create an exercise routine tailored to your dog’s needs.

The Importance of Exercises for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

Exercise plays a crucial role in managing hip dysplasia in dogs.

Regular exercise helps strengthen the muscles around the hip joints, improves joint stability, and promotes overall physical fitness.

In addition to its physical benefits, exercise can also provide mental stimulation and help prevent weight gain, which can further exacerbate the symptoms of hip dysplasia.

When it comes to hip dysplasia, exercise is not just about keeping your dog active.

It is about providing them with the tools they need to live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

By engaging in regular exercise, you can help your furry friend maintain a healthy weight, which is essential for reducing the strain on their hip joints.

Exercise helps improve blood circulation, which can aid in the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the affected areas, promoting healing and reducing inflammation.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Before we discuss the best exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia, lets look at some of the benefits of regular exercise.

Regular exercise offers numerous benefits for dogs with hip dysplasia.

It helps improve range of motion in the hip joints, reduces pain and stiffness, and promotes better joint lubrication.

Exercise also helps strengthen the surrounding muscles, which provides extra support to the hip joints and helps alleviate the strain on them.

Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood boosters, helping your dog feel more comfortable and happy.

One of the key benefits of regular exercise for dogs with hip dysplasia is improved muscle tone.

When the muscles around the hip joints are strong, they can better support the joints and reduce the risk of injury.

Additionally, exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial for dogs with hip dysplasia.

Excess weight puts additional stress on the joints, leading to increased pain and discomfort.

By engaging in regular exercise, you can help your dog shed those extra pounds and alleviate some of the strain on their hips.

Precautions to Take During Exercise

While exercise is beneficial for dogs with hip dysplasia, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure their safety and prevent further damage to the joints.

Avoid high-impact activities such as running or jumping, as these can put excessive strain on the hip joints.

Opt for low-impact exercises that are gentle on the joints, such as walking or swimming.

Start with short exercise sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time.

It is also important to watch for any signs of discomfort, such as limping or lameness, during and after exercise.

If your dog shows signs of pain or discomfort, reduce the intensity or duration of the exercise and consult with your veterinarian.

When it comes to exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia, it is crucial to find the right balance.

Too little exercise can lead to muscle weakness and weight gain, while too much exercise can cause excessive strain on the joints.

It is important to tailor the exercise routine to your dog’s individual needs and limitations.

Consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer can help you design a safe and effective exercise plan for your furry friend.

Remember, exercise should be a positive experience for your dog.

It should not cause pain or discomfort.

If you notice any signs of distress during or after exercise, it is important to adjust the routine accordingly.

With the right exercise plan and proper precautions, you can help your dog manage their hip dysplasia and improve their overall quality of life.

Low Impact Exercise for dog with hip dysplasia

Types of Exercises Suitable for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

There are several types of exercises that are suitable for dogs with hip dysplasia.

These exercises aim to strengthen the muscles, improve flexibility, and increase range of motion in the hip joints.

Incorporating a variety of exercises into your dog’s routine can provide a well-rounded and effective approach to managing hip dysplasia.

Low-Impact Exercises

Low-impact exercises are gentle on the joints and help improve muscle strength and flexibility.

These exercises include walking on flat surfaces, slow jogging, and controlled stair climbing.

It is important to keep the pace slow and avoid sudden movements or excessive jumping.

Walking on a soft surface, such as grass or sand, can also provide additional cushioning and reduce stress on the joints.

Walking is a great low-impact exercise for dogs with hip dysplasia.

It helps to maintain a healthy weight, which is important for reducing stress on the joints.

Additionally, walking provides mental stimulation and allows your dog to explore their surroundings.

Strength-Building Exercises

Strength-building exercises help to target and strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joints.

These exercises include gentle resistance training using resistance bands or Therabands, leg lifts, and standing exercises.

It is important to start with light resistance and gradually increase as your dog becomes stronger.

Always ensure that your dog maintains proper form and does not overexert themselves.

Resistance training can be a fun and engaging way to build strength in dogs with hip dysplasia.

It not only targets the hip muscles but also helps to improve overall body strength.

Incorporating different exercises, such as side leg lifts and squats, can provide a well-rounded workout for your furry friend.

Flexibility and Stretching Exercises

Flexibility and stretching exercises help to improve range of motion in the hip joints and reduce stiffness.

These exercises include gentle stretches, such as leg extensions and hip rotations, as well as range of motion exercises, such as slow leg swings and hip circles.

It is important to perform these exercises in a controlled manner and avoid any sudden or jerky movements.

Stretching is an essential part of any exercise routine, especially for dogs with hip dysplasia.

It helps to improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and increase blood flow to the affected area.

Incorporating stretching exercises before and after each workout can help prepare the muscles and prevent injuries.

Remember, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before starting any exercise program for your dog with hip dysplasia.

They can provide guidance on the most suitable exercises and ensure that your dog’s condition is properly managed.

With the right exercises and proper care, your furry friend can lead a happy and active life, despite hip dysplasia.

Flexibility training for dog with hip dysplasia

Creating an Exercise Routine for Your Dog With Hip Dysplasia

Creating a customized exercise routine for your dog with hip dysplasia is essential to ensure their safety and maximize the benefits of exercise.

Here are some key considerations when developing a routine:

Determining the Right Amount of Exercise

The amount of exercise your dog needs will depend on their individual condition and fitness level.

Start with shorter exercise sessions, around 10 to 15 minutes, and gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.

It is important to strike a balance between providing enough exercise to improve muscle strength and mobility, without overexerting your dog.

When determining the right amount of exercise for your dog, it is crucial to consult with your veterinarian.

They will be able to assess your dog’s condition and provide specific recommendations tailored to their needs.

Factors such as age, weight, and overall health should also be taken into consideration.

It is important to note that dogs with hip dysplasia may have limitations in their range of motion and may experience discomfort during certain activities.

Be observant of your dog’s body language and any signs of pain or fatigue.

Adjust the exercise routine accordingly to ensure their well-being.

Incorporating Exercise into Daily Activities

In addition to dedicated exercise sessions, it is important to incorporate exercise into your dog’s daily activities.

This helps to keep them active and engaged throughout the day, promoting overall well-being.

One way to incorporate exercise into daily activities is by encouraging your dog to engage in low-impact activities.

Sniffing and exploring their surroundings not only provide mental stimulation but also gentle physical movement.

You can create a scavenger hunt in your backyard or hide treats around the house to encourage your dog to use their senses and stay active.

Puzzle toys are another great way to incorporate exercise into your dog’s daily routine.

These toys require mental effort and physical movement to access treats or solve the puzzle.

They provide both mental stimulation and a gentle workout for your dog’s muscles.

Regular short walks throughout the day can also help maintain your dog’s joint mobility.

Aim for multiple short walks instead of one long walk, as this reduces the strain on their joints.

Be mindful of the walking surface, opting for softer surfaces like grass or dirt rather than concrete or pavement.

Remember to always monitor your dog during exercise and adjust the intensity or duration as needed.

Regularly check their hips and joints for any signs of discomfort or inflammation.

If you notice any changes in their mobility or behavior, consult with your veterinarian for further guidance.

Working with a Professional

Working with a veterinary physiotherapist can be highly beneficial in developing an exercise program tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

They have the expertise and knowledge to assess your dog’s condition, create a customized exercise plan, and provide guidance on proper form and technique.

Additionally, hydrotherapy, which involves exercises performed in a pool or underwater treadmill, can offer significant benefits in improving muscle strength and joint function for dogs with hip dysplasia.

When you work with a veterinary physiotherapist, you are enlisting the help of a professional who specializes in treating musculoskeletal conditions in animals.

These experts have a deep understanding of the anatomy and physiology of dogs, allowing them to assess your dog’s range of motion, muscle strength, and joint function.

By conducting a thorough evaluation, they can identify any areas of weakness or imbalance and develop an exercise program specifically tailored to your dog’s needs.

One of the key benefits of working with a veterinary physiotherapist is their ability to provide manual therapy techniques.

These techniques, such as massage and joint mobilization, can help alleviate pain and improve mobility in your dog.

Through targeted manipulation of the soft tissues and joints, physiotherapists can help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, and promote healing.

This hands-on approach can be particularly beneficial for dogs with conditions such as arthritis or muscle strains.

Role of a Veterinary Physiotherapist

A veterinary physiotherapist plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation and management of musculoskeletal conditions in dogs.

They work closely with veterinarians to develop comprehensive treatment plans that address the underlying causes of your dog’s condition.

By combining their knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics, and exercise physiology, physiotherapists can effectively target the specific areas that require attention.

During your initial consultation with a veterinary physiotherapist, they will conduct a thorough assessment of your dog’s condition.

This may involve observing your dog’s gait, palpating the muscles and joints, and performing various range of motion tests.

By gathering this information, the physiotherapist can gain a comprehensive understanding of your dog’s condition and develop an individualized treatment plan.

In addition to exercise prescription and manual therapy techniques, a veterinary physiotherapist may also provide advice on lifestyle modifications.

This can include recommendations on nutrition, weight management, and environmental modifications to ensure your dog’s overall well-being and comfort.

By addressing all aspects of your dog’s health, physiotherapists aim to optimize their quality of life and promote long-term mobility.

Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy, a form of exercise performed in a controlled pool or underwater treadmill, offers a range of benefits for dogs with musculoskeletal conditions.

The buoyancy of the water reduces the weight-bearing stress on the joints, allowing for pain-free movement and improved muscle strength.

This can be particularly beneficial for dogs with hip dysplasia, as it allows them to exercise without exacerbating their symptoms.

When a dog with hip dysplasia performs exercises in water, the resistance provided by the water helps to strengthen their muscles without placing excessive strain on the joints.

This gentle yet effective workout can help improve muscle tone and stability, which in turn can provide better support for the affected joints.

Hydrotherapy can also enhance joint range of motion, promoting flexibility and reducing stiffness.

Furthermore, hydrotherapy can have a positive impact on cardiovascular fitness.

The water’s resistance requires dogs to work harder to move, which can lead to increased heart rate and improved cardiovascular endurance.

This can be particularly beneficial for dogs recovering from surgery or those with limited mobility, as it provides a low-impact way to improve overall fitness.

Working with a veterinary physiotherapist and incorporating hydrotherapy into your dog’s exercise program can have numerous benefits.

From personalized exercise plans to manual therapy techniques and the advantages of hydrotherapy, these professionals can help improve your dog’s muscle strength, joint function, and overall well-being.

By investing in your dog’s physical health, you are ensuring a happier, more active life for your beloved companion.

Best exercises for dogs with hip dysplasia

Monitoring Your Dog’s Progress

Regularly monitoring your dog’s progress is essential to track their improvement and make any necessary adjustments to their exercise routine.

Keep a journal to record any changes in their mobility, pain levels, or overall well-being.

Look out for positive signs, such as increased mobility and reduced pain or stiffness in the hip joints.

If you notice any significant changes or worsening of symptoms, consult with your veterinarian or veterinary physiotherapist to reassess the exercise routine and make appropriate modifications.

Signs of Improvement

Signs of improvement can manifest differently for each dog, but some common indicators include increased ease in performing daily activities, improved range of motion in the hip joints, and reduced reliance on pain medication.

Your dog may also exhibit a more positive and content demeanor, indicating that the exercise routine is benefiting them both physically and mentally.

When to Adjust the Exercise Routine

Adjustments to the exercise routine may be necessary as your dog progresses and their fitness level improves.

Gradually increase the duration or intensity of the exercises to continue challenging your dog’s muscles and promoting further improvement.

Conversely, if your dog shows signs of discomfort or pain during or after exercise, it may be necessary to reduce the intensity or duration of the exercises.

Additional Support for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

In addition to exercise, there are other measures you can take to provide extra support and alleviate the symptoms of hip dysplasia in your dog.

Dietary Considerations

A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for dogs with hip dysplasia.

Feed your dog a high-quality diet that is rich in protein and essential nutrients to support their overall health and well-being.

Consider incorporating joint supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help promote joint health and reduce inflammation.

Discuss dietary considerations with your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s specific nutritional needs are met.

Assistive Devices and Equipment

Assistive devices and equipment can provide additional support and improve your dog’s mobility.

Orthopedic beds and supportive mattresses can help alleviate pressure on the joints during rest.

Ramps or steps can be used to assist your dog in accessing elevated surfaces, such as sofas or cars, without excessive jumping or strain on the joints.

Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations on the most appropriate assistive devices for your dog.

Medication and Supplements

In some cases, medication may be necessary to manage the pain and inflammation associated with hip dysplasia. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and pain medication prescribed by your veterinarian can help provide relief.

Additionally, supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids may have anti-inflammatory properties and can help support joint health. It is important to consult with your veterinarian before starting any medication or supplements.


Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.

It is important to consult with your veterinarian and work closely with them to develop an exercise routine and treatment plan that is tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

By incorporating regular exercise, monitoring their progress, and providing additional support when needed, you can help improve your dog’s mobility, reduce their pain, and enhance their overall quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I Exercise My Dog With hip Dysplasia?

Yes, but exercise for a dog with hip dysplasia should be approached with caution.

Low-impact activities like swimming or short, gentle walks can help maintain muscle tone and joint flexibility without exacerbating symptoms.

Consult your vet to create a tailored exercise plan that considers your dog’s specific condition and needs.

How Can I Strengthen My Dogs Back Hips?

To strengthen your dog’s hindquarters with hip dysplasia, focus on low-impact exercises recommended by your vet.

Swimming, controlled walks, and physical therapy exercises can help build muscle without straining the joints.

Consider supplements like omega-3 fatty acids for joint health. Always consult your vet for a personalized plan tailored to your dog’s condition.

What Exercises Should I Not Do With Hip Dysplasia?

Avoid high-impact exercises that can strain the hips in dogs with hip dysplasia.

Discourage activities such as running on hard surfaces, jumping, and intense agility training.

Restrict prolonged or strenuous activities that may worsen joint stress.

Always consult your vet to determine specific exercise restrictions based on your dog’s individual condition and severity of hip dysplasia.

Scroll to Top