Engaging Exercises for Dogs Suffering from Hip Dysplasia

Image Credit:Blorgie

A common health issue affecting many dogs worldwide is hip dysplasia. Although practically any dog can get this degenerative ailment, some breeds are more susceptible to it than others due to hereditary genetic factors. Because of this, all dog owners and guardians need to be on the lookout for any indications that their pets may have mobility problems. If your veterinarian has identified hip dysplasia as the cause of these symptoms, they will advise you on how to proceed with treatment.

This article about various exercises to help dogs with hip dysplasia is brought to you by AnimalWised. We demonstrate the best methods for halting deterioration and treating the condition’s frequently excruciating symptoms.

Hip dysplasia: What is it?

The disease known as hip dysplasia  is brought on by the hip joint’s incorrect confirmation. The femur’s ball and the joint cavity (acetabulum) do not correctly lock in place. 

Dogs with hip dysplasia generally fall into one of two categories:

Congenital refers to a disorder that is genetically inherited. It is thought that this is because the two main components of the hip joint did not develop at the same rate, probably as a result of hormonal problems.

Acquired: When a dog’s joints are broken or worn to the point where they no longer connect due to anything in the environment. 

Hip dysplasia must be diagnosed using x-rays and sometimes other clinical testing as well. But we must watch out for any potential symptoms. These include having trouble standing up, getting too exhausted after walks, or altering their pace.

There are some breeds that are more likely to develop hip dysplasia than others due to the prevalence of genetic inheritance. 

They consist of:

Canine Labrador

Ireland Setter

English Shepherd




How to treat hip dysplasia in dogs

You can use a variety of physiotherapy methods to treat hip dysplasia in your dog. To reduce discomfort or relieve pain, they should all focus on muscular relaxation and strengthening. Treatment of the gluteal muscles is crucial since they are crucial for the stability and mobility of the hip.

Altering the food of the dog with hip dysplasia can help maintain joint function in addition to other treatment options. This entails providing children with foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, but it also entails reducing their overall intake to prevent obesity. The already-damaged joints experience further pressure when a person is overweight.

Hip dysplasia causes difficulty standing on affected limbs, leading to muscular atrophy. Massage can improve posture and encourage muscular recovery, addressing pain and promoting overall well-being.

We can give the dog’s spine a soothing massage. It might be really uncomfortable if we don’t move our hands with the dog’s hair’s natural grain. To relieve tension, we should also move in a circular motion along both sides of the spine.

passive actions

You must wait at least a week after your dog’s hip dysplasia surgery before beginning his or her physical therapy. However, make sure you discuss a precise start date with your veterinarian. Following this period, you will be able to carefully move the injured joint. To ensure comfort, keep the dog on a comfy bed.

The best techniques to manage hip dysplasia-related joint dysfunction are passive movements. They can harm healthy dogs, thus they should not be used on them. All actions on the dog must be carried out by the guardian while they are lying on their side, relaxed and motionless. We should massage them or warm the affected area before beginning passive exercises.

The adjustments you must make to the right hip are described here. You must adjust the movements if your dog has a problem with their left hip. We position the dog such that their left side is touching the ground if their right hip is injured. Don’t stretch their back leg into an unpleasant posture; instead, lift it perpendicular to the body but in a level plane (see illustration below).

1. Flexion/extension: 

We will grip their left rear leg with our right hand at the knee level and rest the leg on our right arm. Then, we use our right hand to imitate a dog walking normally by rotating the hip in an almost circular manner and extending and contracting the leg in sync with you. Your left hand should hold the joint during this process as you look for any indications of pain or friction. Repeat this between 10 and 15 times.

2. Abduction and adduction: 

Abduction is the movement of the leg away from the body, whereas adduction is the movement of the leg toward the body. We approach the dog from behind, bend their knee, and move fluidly. 10-15 time

3. Stabilizing or active exercises

For a dog with hip dysplasia who cannot go on extended walks, stabilizing exercises are beneficial. Additionally, it is employed as a conservative measure to minimize the need for surgery. They might also be beneficial for canines that have had surgery and require hip rehabilitation.

Generally speaking, these workouts can be done three weeks after the procedure. Once more, we need the veterinarian’s approval before we can begin. The dog’s size could also play a significant role. It’s crucial to save these for the end if we’re giving our dog these active treatments along with massage and passive motions.

Support method

The dog is set on a support with its front legs lifted. Larger dogs might require a stool; for a little dog, this could be a thick book. The posture is intended to tighten the muscles in the back and hind limbs. Exercises that provide support wear the dog out, especially after surgery. The three processes should therefore only need to be repeated five times at start. They are as follows:


Image Credit:handicappedpets

We support the dog’s equilibrium by standing behind it. Pull the dog’s leg gently in the direction of the tail. All of the muscles in the dog’s limbs, abdomen, and back should be stretched out as a result. Hold for a little while, then let go and repeat around five times.

The knee joint must then be grabbed and pulled in the direction of the tail. We should be able to feel the hip and posterior muscles relaxing in our palms. Once more, hold for a short while, then let go and repeat five times.

This time, keep the knee joint raised and press it forward in the direction of the dog’s head. Hold for a short while, then release and repeat five times. The dog’s muscles will get stronger as they get used to supporting workouts.

The knee joint must then be grabbed and pulled in the direction of the tail. We should be able to feel the hip and posterior muscles relaxing in our palms. Once more, hold for a short while, then let go and repeat five times.

This time, keep the knee joint raised and press it forward in the direction of the dog’s head. Hold for a short while, then release and repeat five times. The dog’s muscles will get stronger as they get used to supporting workouts.


The dog is unfamiliar with the trampoline. We must thus offer it to them gradually and give them time to become used to it. Since they are still getting acquainted to the equipment, you could have trouble performing the exercises on your first try.

It is crucial that the trampoline can sustain our weight and the weight of the dog with ease. We should jump on the trampoline first, and then someone else should bring the dog up to us. This will help the dog get used to the trampoline. Once they have calmed down, we can reassure them by caressing them and giving them sweets.

The dog must first be gently rocked up and down on the trampoline while being held about the midsection for support. Be careful not to upset the trampoline and avoid bouncing them.

It’s crucial to move slowly and meticulously during these actions. As a result, we can sense how the dog uses their muscles to stay balanced. Although this workout doesn’t look particularly remarkable, it actually has a significant impact on the musculature. Avoid performing too many repetitions since while the dog’s gluteal musculature grows, so does their exhaustion.

To prevent harm, the guardian must get on and off first.


Walking through a slalom can be beneficial after a dysplasia procedure has healed sufficiently and with the veterinarian’s approval. Depending on the size of the dog, the distance between the cones must be between 50 cm and 1 m. An illustration of a dog slalom setup is shown above. Even if they appear to be getting enthusiastic, never make them run.

In order to please their guardians, dogs frequently push themselves through discomfort. Hip dysplasia significantly impacts how agile dogs do dog agility activities.


Swimming is a terrific approach for dogs who are at ease in the water to build muscle without putting too much strain on their joints. This is because they don’t have to wait on the wounded joint because they are suspended in water.

Greater hydrotherapy  facilities than we are likely to have at home are available to specialists. These might include having a treadmill that can be used underwater or other pool amenities. These hip dysplasia exercises must be performed by a licensed physiotherapist.

If you have a pool at home, though, you might be able to support them on floats while allowing them to kick their legs. To help hold them in the water, you may even purchase specialized floating harnesses like the ones in the image below.


Image Credit:theveterinarynurse

Additional physiotherapy

You can speak with a physical therapist for more complex methods. Dogs with hip dysplasia may be able to perform the following physical therapy exercises in addition to the ones mentioned previously:




It is crucial to remember that many of these treatments are regarded as “alternative” and lack scientific proof of their effectiveness. For instance, some individuals advise giving your dog acupuncture, although there is very little proof that this treatment is effective. What little backing it does have is typically placebo, which won’t work on a dog because they don’t get the idea. Additionally, kids could find it frightening to have needles inserted into their skin.