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A Guide to Golden Retriever Hip Problems

Table of Contents

If you’ve recently become the lucky pet owner of a Golden Retriever, you’re in for a rollicking good time. This breed of dog is as loyal and as loving as they come. So, in order to ensure that your new, faithful companion lives a long and healthy life, there are some common medical issues Goldens face which you should be aware of. 

Unfortunately, Goldens, amongst a few other dog breeds, are predisposed towards joint problems a. Should it go untreated, it could severely impact both their overall health and well-being along with the length of their life. That said, if you know the common signs of hip problems and catch it early on, there are steps you can take to manage the issue, mitigate symptoms, or all together treat the problem. Below, we will discuss golden retriever hip problems, the signs, and treatment options at your disposal.

Reasons Why Golden Retriever Hip Dysplasia Occurs

If you have a Golden Retriever with hip problems, you’ll naturally wonder why it happens. The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare had this to say in response: 

The primary reason for this abnormal development is hip joint laxity if the joint is too loose; leading to the two articulating parts of the joint of the pelvis – the femoral head and the acetabulum (which form the ball-and-socket of the joint) - moving abnormally relative to one another; the femoral head in subluxation (partly dislocating) from the acetabulum. This leads to abnormal stresses and strains on the joint and leads to inflammation and degeneration of the joint tissues.

Golden Retriever Hip Problems Signs

The most common Golden Retriever hip problems signs are: 

  • Bunny hopping gait
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Enlarged shoulder muscles
  • Exhaustion
  • Grating in the joints 
  • Hind-limb lameness, whether intermittent or permanent
  • Joint laxity 
  • Loss of balance
  • Lowered energy levels
  • Narrowed stance
  • Pain
  • Reluctance to run, jump, or go up and down the stairs 
  • Stiffness
  • Swaying while walking
  • Trouble rising

If you notice these signs, you should see a vet as soon as possible to discuss options for care.

Golden Retriever Hip Dysplasia Treatment

Fortunately, there are several things dog owners can do to mitigate the severity of hip problems. In addition, there are three primary surgical treatment options should your first steps be ineffective. To begin, you can take the following actions to try and reduce the symptoms:

    Treating Your Golden Retriever 

    Hip problems are some of the most common issues a Golden Retriever will likely face in their lifetime (although many will never develop the condition). As you’ve discovered, there are steps that dog owners can take as well as treatment and surgery options available to you. By knowing the signs and then properly exercising and making sure your dog's diet is healthy, you will be ready to combat the problem should the need arise. Arming yourself with this knowledge will give you the tools you need to ensure optimal health and well-being for your pup.


    Loder, R. Journal of Veterinary Medicine. The Demographics of Canine Hip Dysplasia in the United States and Canada. (2017).

    Manzottti, R. Official Golden Retriever. Hip Dysplasia and Golden Retrievers. (2018).

    Universities Federation for Animal Welfare. Golden Retriever Hip Dysplasia.