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Tips for the Best Diet for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

Australian shepherd with hip dysplasia lying on a hiking trail looking at the camera

Many dogs struggle with hip dysplasia while others have a genetic predisposition for the disease. Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint develops abnormally, and it can affect dogs of varying ages and breeds. It can cause chronic joint pain, lameness, and eventually arthritis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for canine hip dysplasia, but there are ways dog parents can manage the condition and improve their dog's quality of life.

One way you can help manage the progression and effects of your dog’s hip dysplasia is to feed your dog a healthy diet. Whether you choose a commercially made dog food for hip dysplasia or a homemade dog food for hip dysplasia, a quality diet will support your dog's joint health and reduce inflammation. So, what should you feed your dog with hip issues?

Hip Health & Choosing Your Dog’s Diet

A German Shepherd eating

When it comes to your dog’s well-being, they are what they eat, and one size rarely fits all. This is especially true when your dog has a condition such as hip dysplasia. So, before you purchase another bag of kibble or canned dog food from the grocery store shelf, you will want to check the label and packaging to be sure you’re providing the best nutrition for your dog’s unique needs.

When choosing a diet for your dog with hip dysplasia, use these guidelines to find the best nutrition to support your dog's joints:

#1 High in protein and low fat.

Always select a food with real meat protein as the number-one ingredient and aim for low-fat meats, such as kangaroo, beef, or chicken. Protein helps build and repair cartilage, while fat can increase inflammation.

#2 Plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. This means they can help to reduce swelling and the pain associated with it. Less inflammation also supports mobility, so your dog can get around easier and partake in the activities they enjoy most like walks. Salmon, mussels, flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, and fish oil are all excellent sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.

#3 Ingredients rich in calcium.

Calcium helps to strengthen bones and protect against increased damage to the joints. Ingredients such as yoghurt, legumes like peas, and leafy greens can provide your doggo with a boost of calcium that the body can easily absorb and use [1]

Just keep in mind that puppies should avoid calcium supplements since their bones are still growing and developing.

#4 Add glucosamine and chondroitin to their dinner

If your dog has hip dysplasia or has a predisposition to the disease, provide them with a diet rich in glucosamine and chondroitin. These help to rebuild connective tissue that has been damaged.

One of the best ingredients for these is green-lipped mussels. Adding bone broth, or feeding your dog a raw diet with cartilage can be a delicious and natural approach to providing your dog with glucosamine and chondroitin without the need for pills.

#5 Vitamin C and iron.

Dogs with hip dysplasia often suffer from anemia. To combat this, provide your doggo with a diet with plenty of Vitamin C and iron. Not only will these nutrients help prevent anemia, but they will also help to rebuild connective tissues.

Leafy greens, such as spinach, are excellent sources of iron and Vitamin C.

#6 Low in calories and carbohydrates. 

When it comes to hip dysplasia, one of the most helpful things you can do is help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their life. To do so, watch your dog’s caloric and carbohydrate intake since they can contribute to weight gain. Why? Excess weight puts excess strain on your dog's joints.

#7 Avoid artificial preservatives.

Overly processed foods are packed with synthetic preservatives. Many of these cause inflammation throughout the body, including the joints, worsening arthritis conditions, including pain and discomfort [2].

Ask Your Vet for Guidance

An Australian Shepherd lying on the vet table with a vet looking at her

Like people, dogs all have unique dietary needs. So, if you’re having trouble choosing a diet for your dog with hip dysplasia, consider asking your vet for help. They can help you tailor your dog’s diet to their individual needs.

Always choose a dog food that has been approved by a veterinary nutritionist, as well.  

Take a Bite Out of Hip Dysplasia

An Australian Shepherd with hip dysplasia running through a field

Don’t let hip dysplasia slow your dog down. With a healthy diet designed for joint support and proper weight management, your dog can live an active, long, happy life. All it takes is being mindful of your dog’s portion size and aiming for a diet rich in all-natural ingredients that support joint health.