What Can I Give My Dog for Hip Pain?

Growing up, our family had a golden retriever.  I vividly remember how she started having more trouble walking and going up and down the stairs as her hip pain worsened.  If you’re in a similar situation with your canine companion, it can be challenging watching them feel so uncomfortable and feeling like there is nothing you can do.  However, dog hip pain doesn’t mean that your days of adventure with your pup are over.  There are different treatment options and supplements that you can consider.  I’ve shared some of my favorites below. You can also always consult with your veterinarian for their ideas given the specifics of your dog’s condition and pain. Let’s go ahead and answer the question, “what can I give my dog for hip pain?”

Hip pain in dogs

How do you know if your dog has a sore hip?

Sometimes it can be quite clear that a dog’s hip is bothering him.  Other times, it can be more difficult to determine whether your dog is in pain and if it is actually their hip that is the problem. 

Some signs of hip pain include:

  • Sensitive to touch around the hip area
  • Trouble going up or down the stairs
  • Having a hard time getting up or lying down
  • Walking with a limp
  • Swaying or walking in an awkward manner
  • Sudden decrease in activity or interest in taking a walk
  • Appetite loss

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog or are unsure whether their hip is sore, contact their veterinarian.  The vet will be able to offer a more formal diagnosis. This can help you determine whether your dog’s hip is bothering him or her.

Reasons Why Dogs Experience Hip Pain

Once you’ve determined that your dog’s hip is indeed causing discomfort, the next step is to identify the root of the problem.  There are a few different causes of dog hip pain. Learning more about each of these potential causes can help you identify the reason for your dog’s pain. This can better prepare you for the appropriate next steps and veterinarian visits.

Osteoarthritis

One of the top causes for hip and joint pain in dogs is osteoarthritis. 

Osteoarthritis is the result of the cartilage around the joints deteriorating overtime.  As the cartilage deteriorates, it causes the joint capsule to become inflamed.  The inflammation only continues to worsen as more cartilage deteriorates, which means the pain a dog experiences will continue to increase as their condition progresses.  

Also referred to as degenerative joint disease (DJD), osteoarthritis is most common in seniors and large breed dogs.  In the case of seniors, the stress placed on the joints over time causes the cartilage to deteriorate.  

There are a few risk factors for osteoarthritis, though it is important to know that any breed can develop the condition.  Some risk factors that can increase a dog’s chances of developing osteoarthritis include age (seniors have the greatest risk), being a large or giant breed, obesity, previous injuries or diagnoses of elbow or hip dysplasia, Lyme disease or other infections that impact the joints, poor nutrition, and genetics.

Hip pain relief for dogs

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia could also be the reason for your dog’s hip pain.  It is a genetic condition where the hip doesn’t form correctly.  With normal growth and development, the ball and socket of the hip joint grow at the same rates.  However, in dogs with hip dysplasia, these two parts do not grow at equal rates.

Since the hip joint is not properly formed, it is looser than it should be.  Since the joint doesn’t function as it should and the bones rub against one another, dogs with hip dysplasia often start to experience pain or discomfort when moving.  Hip dysplasia can lead to osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. 

While the hip malformation occurs when a dog is still a puppy, the symptoms can take several years to appear.  This is due to the gradual deterioration of the bones.

Injuries

In some cases, an injury can also cause short-term dog hip pain.  If your dog fell on something sharp, got into a fight with another dog, or became injured in some other way, it could result in hip pain.  

When to Seek Professional Opinion

If your dog’s hip pain persists, bringing them into the veterinarian for a check-up is a good idea.  Your dog’s vet will perform an exam on your dog and may order X-rays.  Many dogs develop hip pain. Veterinarians have a lot of experience diagnosing it and proposing solutions to ensure the dog stays comfortable.  

Depending on the cause of the hip pain, the severity of the pain, and how much it is impacting your dog’s daily activities, the advice you get from your vet may vary.  They may recommend trying some of the natural remedies highlighted below. Some may also suggest pain medications, steroid injections, arthroscopic joint cleaning, or even surgery. 

Many owners don’t want to put their dog through surgery.  It can be expensive and comes with potential complications and extended recovery times.  Trying some of the natural remedies below to help avoid the need for hip surgery for your dog.

Hip and joint pain in dogs

What natural remedy can I give my dog for pain?

Some veterinarians may prescribe pain medication for dog hip pain, but there are also many natural remedies you can try. As a quick note, if you are considering pain medication, avoid giving your dog Calpol. Calpol is not a recommended treatment for dogs.

So, what can I give my dog for hip pain? In the next few sections, you’ll find a few natural treatment options that you can consider.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

If you’re at all familiar with joint supplements for dogs, or even humans, you’ve likely heard of glucosamine and chondroitin.  They work to restore fluid in the joints and rebuild the cartilage. This allows them to offer protection to the hips and other joints while also minimizing pain. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin are found in shellfish shells, cartilage, and green-lipped mussels.

I’d recommend trying Doggie Dailies Advanced Hip & Joint Supplement for Dogs or STRELLALAB Glucosamine Chews.

MSM

MSM is another supplement which is often paired with glucosamine and chondroitin in joint supplements.  Short for methylsulfonylmethane, MSM can alleviate pain. It can also improve cell health, give a dog an energy boost, and work to detoxify the body.  

I’d recommend trying Nutramax Laboratories Dasuquin with MSM Soft Chews or NaturVet MSM Joint Support.

CBD Oil

CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is an oil that is extracted from the cannabis plant.  There are no psychoactive components in the oil; you don’t need to be concerned about your dog getting high from using it.  CBD oil can reduce inflammation of the joints, which can help decrease the pain your dog is experiencing.  The most effective way to use CBD oil to help a dog with hip pain is to rub it directly onto the hip area.  

I’d recommend trying Charlie & Buddy Pet Hemp Oil or PetHonesty Hemp Mobility Joint Supplement

Pain relief

Omega-3

Fatty acids, like omega-3, may also help offer hip pain relief for your pup. 

Omega-3 is found in fish oil. Double-blind research studies have shown that is can help reduce joint pain and lameness in dogs.

I’d recommend trying Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Soft Gels or Amazing Nutritionals Omega 3 Chews.

Turmeric

You may have turmeric in your spice cabinet, but did you know it may also help alleviate your dog’s hip and joint pain. 

Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, which helps it to reduce inflammation.  Giving your dog between ⅛ and ¼ of a teaspoon of turmeric for each 10 pounds of body weight can help them become more comfortable.  For example, if your dog weighs 40 pounds, they should take between 0.5 and 1 teaspoons each day.  You can also find turmeric supplements formulated specifically for dogs.

I’d recommend trying Coco and Luna’s Turmeric and Curcumin Supplement or Zesty Paws Turmeric Curcumin Bites.

Comfrey

Comfrey is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can help alleviate dog hip pain.  You can find dried comfrey in some supermarkets. Dogs should get about 0.5 to 1 teaspoons each day for pain relief.  Alternatively, there are also some comfrey creams designed to alleviate joint pain in dogs and other animals.

I’d recommend trying the Terry Naturally Comfrey Cream.

Exercise

Sometimes, light exercise can help to lessen hip pain. 

However, having your dog exercise, consult with their veterinarian to ensure doing so won’t worsen their condition.  If your vet approves using exercise to help your dog, be sure to avoid running, jumping, and other high-impact exercises.  Walking or swimming, which are gentler forms of exercise, are typically recommended forms of exercise for dogs with hip pain.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can work with your dog to help them reduce their joint pain.  The therapist will help your dog by performing special exercises and massaging their joints. They will also stretch and move their hips in ways to strengthen their muscles for decreased pain and increased mobility.

Acupuncture

Some vets will perform acupuncture for dogs who are dealing with hip pain.  Acupuncture involves using needs to stimulate a dog’s nerves.  It works to help the muscles relax and to increase blood flow throughout the body.  After repeated acupuncture sessions, you may notice that your dog seems less impacted by his hip pain.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy can help increase blood flow, which can lead to increased mobility and decreased pain.  Veterinarians may recommend heat therapy for dogs with hip pain caused by arthritis or tight muscles.  Again, consulting with your veterinarian before using heat therapy is a good idea; they can help you determine an appropriate temperature for the compress. Your vet can also tell you how frequently to apply the heat to your pup.  

If you’re interested in trying heat therapy with your dog, you can  find heating pads designed specifically for use with pets.  These heating pads have adjustable settings and timers to prevent the heat from staying on too long. They also have safety features to protect your dog (such as chew-resistant cords).

I’d recommend trying RIOGOO Pet Heating Pad or Toozey Pet Heating Pad

New Dog Bed

A new dog bed isn’t technically a treatment option. However, it can also help alleviate some of the symptoms of dog hip pain.  

Elevated beds are easier for dogs with hip pain to get in and out of than beds that are on the floor.  Elevated beds also allow increased air circulation, which can help make sure your dog doesn’t get too warm or cold.

I’d recommend trying the K&H Pet Products Original Pet Cot or Veehoo Elevated Dog Bed.

Switching to an orthopedic dog bed is another option to consider.  Orthopedic dog beds are made using memory foam and other special materials. These materials are designed to keep dogs more comfortable and limit joint pain.

I’d recommend trying the PetFusion Ultimate Orthopedic Dog Bed or the BarksBar Orthopedic Dog Bed.

Hip and joint pain in dogs

What can I give My Dog for Hip Pain – Closing Thoughts

Helping your dog get pain relief for their hip discomfort is likely your top priority.  You just want your pup to be comfortable and happy.  I hope my suggestions for some natural remedies for dog hip pain have helped you identify a few things to try.  A visit to the veterinarian is also important to identify the cause of the hip pain. You vet can help you decide if other treatments will be needed to keep your pup as comfortable and pain-free as possible.