Posted by Camille Arneberg on

Hip Pain Relief for Dogs: What to Give a Dog for Hip Pain

When it comes to hip pain relief for dogs, all dog owners want to know, “How can I make life easier for my dog when they’re suffering?” It’s never easy to see your four-legged companion live with pain or discomfort. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to help your fur baby feel loved, supported, and more comfortable. Follow along in this article to understand what causes hip pain in dogs and how you can take control of your dog’s health with a few key changes and the help of hip and joint supplements for dogs.

Table of Contents:

  • Causes of Hip Pain in Dogs
  • A Cheat Sheet to Diagnosing the Problem: Common Signs of Dog Hip Pain
  • How Your Veterinarian May Help
  • What to Give a Dog for Hip Pain
  • The Dynamic Duo for Hip Pain Support

Causes of Hip Pain in Dogs

If you’ve noticed your pup showing signs of hip pain (more on these symptoms below), it’s likely caused by one of two things: hip dysplasia or chronic inflammation. While it’s common in older dogs, younger pups are not immune from developing chronic hip pain or hip dysplasia. 

Hip dysplasia in dogs occurs when the cartilage of the joint breaks down over time. When this “cushioning” in the ball-and-socket joint diminishes, it causes the bones to rub against each other, which leads to pain and discomfort. Hip dysplasia is mostly genetic, but is also more common in larger dogs.

Inflammation is usually the result of a poor diet, weight gain, an infection, or an acute injury. The heavier a dog is, the more weight is placed on their hips. Fortunately, similar to hip dysplasia, there are many things you can do to help relieve hip pain and inflammation, regardless of the cause.

A Cheat Sheet to Diagnosing the Problem: Common Signs of Dog Hip Pain

You might already know that your dog is suffering from hip pain. Maybe you’ve already been to the vet and received a diagnosis. But if you’re unsure whether your dog is in pain, here are the most common signs of hip problems in dogs [1]. 

  • A swaying gait, awkward walk, or constant limp
  • Sudden lack of activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensitivity to being touched near their hips 
  • Getting tired more easily than usual
  • Difficulty getting up, lying down, or using stairs

How Your Veterinarian May Help

Have you been asking yourself, “What can I give my dog for hip pain?” You’re not alone in trying to figure out how to help your dog recover from their hip pain. Your vet likely has a handful of options up their sleeve that you may want to consider. A few possibilities you may hear from your vet include oral pain medication, an arthroscopic cleaning of the joint, an injection (such as a steroid), or tissue or joint replacement surgery [2].

These can often be combined with the tips and techniques listed below, or if you’re hoping to avoid surgery or harsher medications consider the below suggestions as alternative and more gentle aids in reducing hip pain. Just be sure to check in with your vet before adding something to your dog’s prescribed regimen. 

What to Give a Dog for Hip Pain

Glucosamine: This naturally occurring nutrient is important for healthy joints [3]. Dogs (and other mammals) produce some glucosamine internally, but the body’s natural glucosamine diminishes over time, which leads to joints breaking down. Supplementing with high-quality glucosamine for dogs is a great way to help your pup build stronger joints and can often reduce hip pain and improve mobility.

MSM: Also known as “methylsulfonylmethane,” MSM is an organic sulfur-based compound, well known for its ability to improve joint health [4]. MSM has been shown to reduce chronic pain, improve the health of individual cells, detoxify the body, and improve a dog’s energy.

Turmeric: This ancient spice has been used in ayurvedic medicine for millennia. Known for its ability to reduce inflammation throughout the entire body, turmeric can be an important part of hip pain relief for dogs. This bright herb can also stain anything white and is notoriously bitter tasting so can be hard to convince your dog to eat. It’s, therefore, best to find a supplement with turmeric in it, rather than giving your dog the powder directly.

Omega-3: This popular fatty acid has been shown to significantly improve arthritis and hip pain in dogs, according to a double-blind study [5]. Over a three month period, using fish oil high in omega-3 actually improved joint pain, lameness, and joint disease in dogs with osteoarthritis. As an added bonus, it’s also been shown to improve a dog’s fur quality. You can easily find omega-3 supplements for dogs that can aid in relieving their hip pain. 

Green-Lipped Mussels:

Green-Lipped Mussels are a special species of Mussel found in the waters of New Zealand. The reason they are so beneficial for dogs with joint problems is that they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, that aid in joint pain relief. Although some may argue that you can get the omega-3 benefits from an array of other fish, it’s all about the different compounds that make up the omega-3 fatty acids in a Green-Lipped Muscle. These Mussels have also been shown to contain glycosaminoglycans, which are substances that have joint-protective properties [6].

Nutrient-Dense Food: Not all diets are created equal. Some kibble is void of the nutrients your dog needs to build healthy joints. Most dogs benefit from a diet high in meat and vegetables, with some fruit here and there. Some dogs tolerate grains, but not all of them. You can always experiment with a grain-free diet to see if your dog starts moving more easily but consult with your veterinarian first. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be feeding your dog a high-quality nutrient-rich diet without additives and chemicals that can just make joint issues worse. 

Physical Therapy: Certain stretches and hydrotherapy can greatly improve your dog’s mobility [7]. But every dog and condition is different, so be sure to consult with your vet to make sure your dog is ready for professional physical therapy.

Exercise: Similar to physical therapy, if your dog gets the green light from your vet, certain kinds of physical activity can actually improve their hip health and reduce their hip pain. It’s important to stay away from high impact exercise like running or jumping, especially on pavement. Focus on a gentle activity like swimming or walking.

A Dog-Friendly Environment: Beyond helping their physical body, you can make small adjustments to your living space to help your dog move around with ease [6]. Use ramps to help your dog navigate heights, like a couch, bed, or car. This will help avoid exacerbating the pain and irritating their joints and inflammation even further. You can also try using a heated dog bed during cold months which can relieve some of the stiffness in their joints. (But be sure to use a product made specifically for dog, as a normal heating pad may be too hot for your pup.)

The Dynamic Duo for Hip Pain Support

We care about our own pups and we hate to see them suffer so we created a line of products specifically designed to improve comfort, mobility, and joint health in dogs. 

Remember reading about glucosamine, MSM, and turmeric up above? Our Advanced Hip + Joint glucosamine dog treats combine these three powerful nutrients to give your dog a significant boost in their hip health. And since omega-3 is so effective at reducing hip pain and improving mobility, we created our super popular Omega Salmon Snacks - which also help improve fur, skin, and immune health. 

We’re so proud to say that thousands of pup parents have found success with both of these products. Try both today to give your dog a better chance of feeling great from head to toe!


Sources

  1. https://www.southbostonanimalhospital.com/blog/6-signs-your-dog-could-be-experiencing-early-arthritis
  2. https://www.petcarerx.com/article/8-ways-to-treat-dog-joint-pain/1403
  3. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/glucosamine-for-dogs/
  4. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/msm-raw-fed-dogs/
  5. https://www.americanveterinarian.com/news/omega3s-significantly-improved-canine-arthritis-in-doubleblind-clinical-trial
  6. https://veterinary-practice.com/article/the-value-of-the-green-lipped-mussel
  7. http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/9-common-ways-treat-and-manage-canine-hip-dysplasia

 

Camille Arneberg and her dog
Camille is a co-founder of PetHonesty and VP of Pup Parent Education. After watching her own family dog suffer from joint issues for years she became passionate about improving dogs' quality of life. With the help of a team of veterinarians and dog nutritionists she now helps educate other dog owners about the small but powerful things they can do to positively impact their dogs' health and wellness! She lives in Austin, TX and loves cuddling puppies, being outside and reading.