Hip dysplasia is a common health issue among many dog breeds, including the beloved Australian Shepherd. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the basics of hip dysplasia, its symptoms, and how it can affect your Aussie.

More importantly, we’ll share several tips on how to provide the most comfort and care for your furry friend who may be experiencing this condition. Our goal is to educate, provide context and examples, and offer helpful advice to ensure your Aussie can live a happier, more comfortable life.


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What Even is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition in which the ball and socket joint of a dog’s hip doesn’t fit together properly, leading to instability and progressive arthritis. The severity of the condition can vary, with some dogs experiencing only mild discomfort, while others may face significant pain and mobility issues.

In Australian Shepherds, the prevalence of hip dysplasia is relatively moderate compared to other breeds, but it’s still essential to be aware of the signs and how to care for your dog if they develop this condition.


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Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia

Signs of hip dysplasia can appear as early as four months of age, though they often become more noticeable as a dog ages. Symptoms may include:

  • Stiffness or difficulty getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • Limping or favoring one leg over the other
  • Difficulty with stairs or jumping
  • Decreased activity or reluctance to exercise
  • Swelling around the hip joint
  • Audible clicking sounds when walking

You should know your dog best, and if they start acting less-than-normal, it should be investigated.  Sometimes Aussies can do a great job of hiding pain as well (especially in my experience).

If you notice any of these signs in your Australian Shepherd, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

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Understanding The Pain of Hip Dysplasia in Australian Shepherds

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition where the ball and socket joint of a dog’s hip doesn’t fit together properly, leading to arthritis and mobility issues. It can cause varying degrees of pain and discomfort in affected dogs, ranging from mild stiffness to severe lameness.

Dogs with hip dysplasia may struggle to stand up, walk, or climb stairs, and may exhibit signs of pain such as whining, limping, or reluctance to engage in physical activities. In addition to physical discomfort, hip dysplasia can impact a dog’s overall quality of life, causing emotional distress and anxiety.


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Tips to Help Deal With Hip Dysplasia

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Extra weight can put additional stress on your dog’s joints, exacerbating the symptoms of hip dysplasia. Make sure to feed your Aussie a balanced diet and monitor their weight to avoid obesity.
  • Provide supportive bedding: A comfortable, supportive bed can help alleviate pressure on your dog’s joints. Consider investing in an orthopedic bed specifically designed for dogs with joint issues.
  • Regular exercise with modifications: Exercise is important for overall health, but you may need to adjust your Aussie’s routine if they have hip dysplasia. Opt for low-impact activities like swimming or walking on soft surfaces, and avoid activities that involve jumping or sudden changes in direction.
  • Consider joint supplements: Talk to your veterinarian about incorporating joint supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM into your dog’s diet. These supplements can help maintain joint health and reduce inflammation.
  • Pain management: Your veterinarian may prescribe medication to manage your dog’s pain and inflammation. Follow your vet’s instructions and monitor your dog’s response to the medication, adjusting the dosage if necessary.
  • Physical therapy and alternative treatments: Consult with your veterinarian about additional therapies such as hydrotherapy, laser therapy, or acupuncture. These treatments can help improve your dog’s mobility, reduce pain, and support overall well-being.
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2 Modern Solutions to Consider

1.) A Comfy Bed + Ramps Around The House

One of the best ways to provide comfort and support for your Australian Shepherd with hip dysplasia is by investing in a high-quality, orthopedic dog bed. These beds are designed with memory foam or other supportive materials that conform to your dog’s body, alleviating pressure on their joints and providing optimal comfort. A good orthopedic bed can make a significant difference in your dog’s overall quality of life by helping to reduce pain and promote restful sleep.

In addition to a comfy bed, consider installing ramps or pet stairs around your home to help your Aussie navigate their environment with minimal discomfort. Ramps can be particularly helpful for accessing furniture, beds, and vehicles, while pet stairs can assist with climbing up and down regular stairs. By reducing the need for your dog to jump or strain their joints, you’ll be providing much-needed relief and promoting long-term joint health.

2.) CBD For Dogs

Another modern solution that has gained popularity among pet owners is the use of CBD (cannabidiol) products for dogs. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant and has been shown to have potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Many dog owners have found success in using CBD oil or treats to help manage their pet’s hip dysplasia symptoms.

When considering CBD for your Australian Shepherd, it’s essential to choose a reputable company that uses high-quality, organic ingredients and provides third-party lab testing to ensure the safety and efficacy of their products. One such company is Pet CBD, which offers a range of CBD products specifically formulated for pets, including oils, chews, and balms. Before starting your dog on any CBD product, consult with your veterinarian to discuss appropriate dosing, potential interactions with other medications, and to determine if CBD is a suitable option for your dog’s specific needs.

It is important to note that CBD is not a miracle cure, and its effectiveness can vary from dog to dog. However, many pet owners have reported improvements in their dog’s mobility, reduced inflammation, and overall pain relief when using CBD products.

By combining CBD with other supportive measures such as a comfortable bed, ramps, and a tailored exercise plan, you can help create a comprehensive approach to managing your Australian Shepherd’s hip dysplasia symptoms, ultimately improving their quality of life.

Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It is essential to monitor your dog’s response to any new treatment or lifestyle change and maintain open communication with your veterinarian to ensure your furry friend receives the best possible care.

Potential Benefits of CBD for Hip Dysplasia

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Research has shown that CBD may have anti-inflammatory effects, which can be beneficial for dogs with hip dysplasia. A study conducted in 2018 found that CBD oil reduced joint inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis (OA) (Gamble et al., 2018). Although OA is different from hip dysplasia, the joint inflammation that occurs with both conditions is similar, suggesting that CBD may also help reduce inflammation in dogs with hip dysplasia.

  • Pain relief: CBD is believed to interact with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in pain regulation. In the aforementioned study, dogs treated with CBD oil experienced a significant decrease in pain and improvement in mobility compared to the placebo group (Gamble et al., 2018).

Potential Drawbacks and Considerations

  1. Lack of regulation: The CBD market for pets is still relatively unregulated, which can make it challenging to find a high-quality, trustworthy product. Before purchasing any CBD product for your dog, be sure to research the company and look for third-party lab results to ensure the product’s safety and efficacy.
  2. Possible side effects: While CBD is generally considered safe, some dogs may experience side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, or diarrhea. If you notice any adverse reactions in your dog after administering CBD, discontinue use and consult your veterinarian.
  3. Drug interactions: CBD may interact with other medications your dog is taking, potentially altering their effects. Be sure to discuss CBD use with your veterinarian if your dog is on any medications, especially those for pain management or inflammation.
  4. Dosage: Determining the appropriate dosage of CBD for your dog can be challenging, as there is no universally accepted dosing guideline. Start with the lowest recommended dose on the product label and gradually increase it if needed, closely monitoring your dog’s response. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on the appropriate dosage for your dog’s specific needs.

CBD may offer potential benefits for dogs suffering from joint pain and inflammation due to hip dysplasia. However, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks and consult with your veterinarian before incorporating CBD into your Australian Shepherd’s pain management plan.

By doing thorough research and working closely with your vet, you can make an informed decision on whether CBD is the right choice for your furry friend.


Caring for an Australian Shepherd with hip dysplasia can be challenging, but by following these tips and working closely with your veterinarian, you can help ensure that your furry friend enjoys a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Always be attentive to your dog’s needs and make adjustments to their care as required. With proper management, your Aussie can continue to be a loving and active member of your family.

Gamble, L.J., Boesch, J.M., Frye, C.W., Schwark, W.S., Mann, S., Wolfe, L., Brown, H., Berthelsen, E.S., & Wakshlag, J.J. (2018). Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5, 165. doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165