Dog Hip Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

June 14, 2016

Dog hip pain can be due to old age, activity, and even genetics. Although there are some obvious signs of a dog in pain (especially hip pain), how do you know if it’s serious? Keep reading for symptoms of hip pain in dogs, common causes, and treatment options to to help keep your dog movin’ and groovin’.


If your dog is exhibiting any of the following signs or symptoms, it’s likely that your dog is experiencing hip pain:

  • Trouble climbing up the stairs
  • Hesitation or difficulty getting into the car
  • Swollen joints
  • Limping or lameness in the rear legs
  • Whimpering
  • Stiffness when moving or getting up and down
  • Lethargy or unwillingness to walk fast


Hip pain in dogs can be caused by a serious condition, such as:

  • Dislocated Hip (also called luxated hip)- A dislocated hip is when the ball (the femoral head) of the joint separates from the socket (acetabulum). A dislocated hip is commonly caused by trauma; for example, getting hit by a car or falling from height. A dislocated hip injury can also raise the risk of canine arthritis over time.
  • Canine Arthritis- An estimated 1 in 5 dogs in the United States has arthritis. Arthritis is a skeletal disorder that causes the deterioration of cartilage, pain and stiffness. Arthritis cannot be cured, but it can be controlled and managed with proper nutrition, weight management, medication, and sometimes surgery.
  • Hip Dysplasia- Hip dysplasia in dogs is a common form of rear leg lameness that causes the joint to become loose (subluxation) and can result in painful wear and tear on the joint. Hip dysplasia is a common hereditary disease and some breeds are more predisposed.  Our veterinary advisor, Dr. Borostyankoi recently sat down with I Heart Dogs to share Ways to Address Dysplasia in Dogs

Dog Hip Pain_Hip Pain in Dogs_Hip Problems in Dogs


There are several options when it comes to treating hip pain in dogs. Be sure to discuss with your veterinarian which method is best for your dog.

  • Weight loss – Obesity is one of the main causes of hip pain in dogs. Extra weight places stress on the hips and joints.  Weight loss is the most effective way to treat hip pain in dogs. Check out our blog for tips on weight loss in dogs. You can read more about how hip pain in dogs is often caused by obesity on our blog here.
  • Hydrotherapy – Hydrotherapy for dogs can include underwater treadmills or swimming. Water releases stress and weight from the joints and can be an effective way to maintain mobility and flexibility in dogs with hip issues. Stay tuned for a blog on canine hydrotherapy soon!
  • Medication - While medication is not a long term or permanent solution, anti-inflammatories and painkillers can help to treat acute hip pain. It is important to note though that medication can have side effects and should be considered a last resort or only for severe cases.
  • Proper Nutrition and Supplements - While food and supplements are not meant to cure or treat hip disorders, they can help ensure that your dog has the proper nutrients to support strong bones and healthy joints.
  • Massage Therapy - A massage can be very relaxing and soothing to a dog with inflamed joints and is thought to be a natural way to treat mild lameness. Your veterinarian show you how to properly massage your dog.  
  • Surgery - With all other treatment options exhausted, you may consider surgery to help treat your dog's hip problem. Typical procedures include: Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO), and Total Hip Replacement. 

You should never self-diagnose or self-treat your dog. If you think your dog has a hip problem (or any other joint issue) you should consult with your veterinarian immediately. 

About the Author

Bevi Edlund, Blog Editor

Hi, I'm Bevi Edlund. I'm a graduate of communications and journalism from Cal State University, Fullerton. I am also an animal rights activist and a huge dog lover! I think there is nothing more comforting than coming home after a long day than to your furry best friend. Here at Bio-Rep Animal Health, I'll be in charge of writing posts about lifestyle, nutrition and connecting with all of our readers.