What You Need to Know about Hip & Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

March 10, 2020

Dogs age and get injuries, just as humans do. Dogs moving at a slower pace may be early signs of arthritis in dogs. But dogs barely moving because they are in so much pain, is a bigger problem. A visit to the veterinarian is required to determine if your dog has this skeletal disease. What is hip dysplasia in dogs? What is elbow dysplasia in dogs? Read on to find out.

Some good news: you and your dog are not alone with this diagnosis. Unfortunately, hip and elbow dysplasia are the most common skeletal diseases in dogs. The good news is your dog can still live an active life, even with hip or elbow dysplasia. Here is what you need to know about hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia in dogs.

What is hip and elbow dysplasia?

Hip and elbow dysplasia are one of the most common skeletal diseases in dogs. When it happens, the ball and socket of the hip or elbow joints has abnormal growth with insufficient coverage, which in turn makes the joint become loose and unstable. Long-term joint issues cause scar tissue around the joints. Bone spurs can develop, and the pain associated with it increases with time.

Here is an illustration of the area these diseases take place: 


Joint Problems: Hip & Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs


What is the cause of hip or elbow dysplasia?

Unfortunately, some dogs have this as an inherited skeletal disease. Hip and elbow dysplasia occur when the dog’s joints are not developed quite right. The biggest factor is genetics. However, rapid weight gain and obesity can force the issue to the point the joints are giving out.

What are the Signs of hip or elbow dysplasia?

The symptoms of hip dysplasia and symptoms of elbow dysplasia vary, some clear cut signs of the problem include:

  • Obvious pain or limping
  • Decreased range of motion in hips and rear legs
  • Audible clicking sound when walking
  • Slowing down when they had not been slow before
  • Reluctance in being active such as climbing stairs or jumping up

Is there a way to prevent hip or elbow dysplasia?

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent it from happening. It is an inherited joint disease and it can impact a dog a young as age 1. Larger dogs are most susceptible due to their size. If a dog already has the skeletal disease, you may not know until they age and the symptoms become more prevalent. Weight gain and age can make mobility more painful and will grow into a concern requiring a veterinary office visit.

Which dog breeds are more prone to hip and elbow dysplasia?

Every dog is different. However some breeds are more susceptible to this illness. Because of their size, hip dysplasia in dogs is common in these large to giant breed dogs:

  • German Shepherds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Great Danes
  • Saint Bernards
  • Rottweilers

But those aren't the only breeds. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), they have tracked and ranked dogs most likely affected by hip dysplasia. This group came up with their list of the top dog breeds affected. The results may surprise you. While these problems rank highest in large and giant breed dogs, there are other smaller dogs who might get it too. Here are the top 5 dog breeds for hip dysplasia:

  1. Pug
  2. Bulldog
  3. Olde English Bulldog
  4. Dogue de Bordeaux
  5. Neapolitan Mastiff

According to the same group, they ranked those dog breeds more likely to have elbow dysplasia. Here are the top 5 dog breeds:

  1. Chow Chow
  2. American Bully
  3. Rottweiler
  4. Pug
  5. Bulldog

Check out the full list here and clicking on either “hip dysplasia statistics” or “elbow dysplasia statistics.” You can also click on your favorite breed and learn the statistical data they have for all OFA disease database entries.

My dog has been diagnosed with hip or Elbow dysplasia, what now?

Your veterinarian will offer the treatment plan which is best for your dog. Here are some treatment options:

  • Pain relief through an anti-inflammatory.
  • Rest to help prevent further pain and swelling.
  • For some, surgery may be required.
  • For others, a mobility supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin can help.

Unfortunately, there is also no way to reverse the effects of hip or elbow dysplasia. A plan of treatment is required. While you may consider prescribed medication, remember just as in humans, pain medication may not be a good long-term solution.Consider using all-natural supplements, such as Glyde™ Mobility Chews.

Can diet or exercise help my dog with hip or elbow dysplasia?

Your veterinarian may recommend your dog lose weight as a first effort to alleviate painful symptoms. This will not cure the issue, but it may make it so your dog can move easier. It is always important to have your dog on a healthy diet, especially if it is a large breed dog. Talk to your veterinarian about a good exercise and diet routine, if weight gain is an issue. Simple steps might be adding a casual 20-minute walk into your dog’s routine as well as adding a joint supplement to reduce swelling of the joints and pain.

What sort of joint supplement would you recommend?

Parnell Living Science are the makers of Glyde™ Mobility Chews, an all-natural joint supplement with strong scientific backing to combat joint pain. The ingredients contain a unique combination of green-lipped mussel, glucosamine, and chondroitin to promote healthy joints.Green-lipped mussel (GLM) contains beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, glycosaminoglycans, and antioxidants. Combined with glucosamine and chondroitin, GLM (one of the best sources of omega-3) can help decrease pain and preserve joint function.Glyde Mobility Chews are the only joint supplement with proven levels of these key ingredients to help maintain youthful mobility throughout your dog’s life. 

Of course there are many other joint supplements on the market. Be sure you know what to look for in a joint supplement. 

What else can I do to ease my dog’s pain?

Simply think of what might help you if you had joint pain, and the tips are about the same for your dog. Here are a few ideas:

  • Massage your dog’s joints and muscles
  • Add a joint supplement to help with swelling
  • Keep your dog out of cold weather
  • Provide a firm, orthopedic bed for your dog
  • Add rugs and/or carpet areas for your dog to walk and lay on. This will prevent your dog from slipping on floors.


While it is hard to detect what might be the mobility issues you are seeing in your dog, it is always good to visit your veterinarian with any concerns. Arthritis in dogs is also a joint disease. Find out and take the arthritis quiz by clicking on the link below!

Is it Arthritis? Take the Quiz Now.

Of course, we love our fur-babies and want nothing but the best for them. As with anything, if you see obvious behavior changes, call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment.


Keep Your Dogs Active with Glyde Mobility Chews



AKC, "What is Hip Dysplasia"

Senior Pup, "Understanding Canine Hip Dysplasia"

WikiHow Pets, "3 Ways to Manage and Treat Hip Dysplasia in Dogs"

WikiHow Pets, “Deal with Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs” 

VetDepot, "Hip and Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs"