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When To Put Down A Dog With Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a common problem impacting large breeds of dogs.

However, it can be a condition that affects smaller dogs as an inherited condition.

As your dog ages, hip dysplasia tends to get worse.

This condition causes inflammation of the hip joint, which causes a large amount of pain and limited mobility.

As your pet enters into the last stage of hip dysplasia, the slightest movement may cause him intense pain.

When your pet reaches this point, you may want to consider humane euthanasia to stop the pain.

However, that decision is not always an easy one, and this article contains guidelines for your consideration.

These guidelines should not replace having a conversation with your vet to determine if humane euthanasia is the right step.

Factors to Consider When Deciding to Euthanize

You must first consider your pet’s quality of life.

It may go without saying that if your pet has a high quality of life, then it is not the time to consider euthanizing your pet.

However, if the quality of life for your pet is deteriorating, then it may be time to have a conversation about humane euthanasia.

How Do Determine Your Pet’s Quality of Life

Despite the fact that your pet cannot speak, there are many ways your pet talks to you.

So the short answer is if your dog cannot get up, walk, or go to the bathroom without assistance, that is not much of a quality of life.

Additional factors to consider when determining your pet’s quality of life are:

  • If your pet cannot drink or eat without feeling pain
  • If your pet cannot hold its feces or urine
  • If your pet cannot stand up without dragging their legs behind them
  • If your pet displays difficulty breathing
  • If your pet seems to have a reduction in mental functioning

Any of these signs can be an indication that it may be time to consider humane euthanasia.

However, it is essential to know that there are other treatment options to consider before taking this step.

Other Treatment Options

Because your pet is an important part of your family, and this is a difficult decision, there are other treatment options to consider.

There are surgical options for dogs with hip dysplasia.

If you do not have pet insurance, the cost of these surgeries comes out of your pocket.

  • Total Hip Replacement (THR) – this can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $7,000.
  • Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO) – this can cost between $1,000 to $3,000 for each hip.
  • Femoral head ostectomy (FHO) – this can cost between $1,000 to $3,000.

Surgery may not be an option because you may not have the budget to pay for these types of surgeries, so they may not really be an option for your family or your pet.

However, it is important to know that they are available as options.

Ways You May Be Able to Help Your Dog

There are some home treatments that you can try that may help your dog suffering from hip dysplasia.

Taking some of these steps may help your dog manage its pain and improve his quality of life.

In addition, these steps may be an alternative to surgery, which has its own risks.

Monitor Activity

If your dog is considered overweight, you can help it lose weight to reduce the stress on its hips.

For example, you can reduce the number of snacks you give your dog.

In addition, you want to make sure that your dog is not participating in any activity that is high impact, especially not on hard surfaces.

This is incredibly difficult on the hips.

Finally, your dog may benefit from physical therapy, which includes exercises to improve range of motion and hydrotherapy.


There are some medications and supplements you can try that may help relieve some of the inflammation and pain your dog is suffering.

Joint supplements, which include glucosamine, omega 3 fatty acids, and other supplements like glycosaminoglycans, may help.

These particular supplements are available over the counter at your local drug store.

There are other medications that can be prescribed by your vet that may be helpful to your pet.

These medications include joint fluid modifiers and anti-inflammatories.

Other Remedies

You can put heat packs on your dog’s hips when it seems it is in a lot of pain.

Also, if you live in an area with cold weather, you can give your dog warm baths to help reduce the impacts of cold water on your dog’s joints.

How Long Can Your Dog Live with Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is going to get worse as your dog ages.

This will eventually impact your pet’s mobility, including jumping off the couch, running, and climbing the stairs.

At some point, your dog with hip dysplasia will no longer be able to do all the things it used to do.

In the early stages of hip dysplasia, it is possible to manage the symptoms and make adjustments in its lifestyle.

A diagnosis of hip dysplasia does not have to be a terminal one.

It does not mean your dog’s life has to shorten.

However, you do have to be able to manage your dog’s pain and range of motion.

So your dog can continue to live a long and happy life.

What is the Right Thing to Do?

There are many people that believe nature should take its course and allow things to happen for your dog naturally.

While this is certainly a choice that you can make, it may not be in the best interest of your dog.

This option may cause your dog to be in a fair amount of pain most of the time. Is that something you would do for yourself or your family?

Most likely, it is not.

You would want to take whatever means you could to help reduce the pain and suffering you were feeling.

However, it is not that easy to understand what is the right thing.

It is not as black and white as this article may make it seem because this is your pet, whom you love as part of your family.

It is a hard and sad decision to put your pet down.

You have a lot of emotions tied to your pet.

It is critical to remember that your dog is in pain, and you can end the pain.

That is why it is called humane euthanasia because it can end their pain.

You can see your pet suffering and not getting any better.

It is sure to pull on your emotions.

In Conclusion

Making this decision may be one of the hardest ones that you make.

You will question if you did the right thing, no matter which path you choose.

It is important to remember that you have to protect your pet and ensure it has a high quality of life.

If you can maintain your dog’s quality of life with medication and proper lifestyle changes, then this is not a decision you need to make.

If your dog is in noticeable pain and choosing not to move at all because it hurts too much, then it may be the time to have this conversation with your vet.

You do not want to allow your dog to be in constant pain.

On the other hand, if your dog is in constant pain and it is obvious to you, that may make it obvious which one you should choose.

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1 thought on “When To Put Down A Dog With Hip Dysplasia?”

  1. Hi my dog is a Maltese and he has lots of problems such as hip dysplasia he can’t move his back left leg and if you move him he yells out loudly. His other problem is heart murmur large, cushions, and last diabetic just found out. He doesn’t want to eat at all but drinks water. His name is Cosmo and will be 13 years old on December 29th.


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National Canine Research Association of America