- Arthritis and hip dysplasia commonly cause hip pain in older dogs. Younger large-breed dogs can get panosteitis, joint inflammation associated with rapidly growing bones.
- The telltale symptoms of arthritis- or dysplasia-related hip pain in dogs are soreness following exercise and stiffness after sleeping. Your dog may also stop striding freely as he places his weight on his front legs.
- Dogs limp for many reasons. By studying your dog's gait and manipulating his leg and joints, your vet may determine the hips are the problem. If they are, X-rays will clarify exactly what's wrong.
- Hip dysplasia treatment depends on how poorly the hip ball joint sits in its socket. Manage a mild case with diet and appropriate exercise; hip replacement is an option for a severe problem. Arthritis treatment includes keeping your dog at a healthy weight and giving him anti-inflammatories. Anti-inflammatories treat panosteitis until the dog outgrows it.
- Although you can't prevent hip dysplasia or arthritis, you can lessen the stress on a dog's hips. Study Purina's Body Condition Chart for dogs (see Resources below). If your pet is heavier than a "5," use diet and gentle exercise to reduce his weight.