Hip dysplasia has four major causes:
- too much exercise at a young age
Research has found that genetics play between a 25% and 30% role in a dog having hip dysplasia according to a study done by the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany. This means that new owners can assume a great deal of responsibility (70% to 75%) in their dog developing good hips.
What you can do to help prevent bad hips:
1. Keep your dog thin - be able to see a definition between the ribs and loins of your dog. The more weight a dog carries the more pressure is on the hips. This is extremely important when the dog is growing (between 8 weeks and 18 months). Too much weight at a young age is going to add stress on soft puppy bones.
2. Do not over exercise your young dog. Over exercise (jogging/running with a puppy, pulling weights, running with owner on a bike etc.) will cause problems, as well as allowing it to climb stairs or jump from SUV's or trucks etc. DO NOT TAKE A PUPPY JOGGING! Wait until it's older than one year of age. Allow your dog off leash as you run so your dog has the opportunity to stop and rest if it needs it. Over exercise is the fastest way to destroy hips. Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion, or take the pup for long, long walks. A walk round the block is fine; a 2 mile walk is not fine.
3. Feed a quality puppy food. Feeding a controlled balanced diet increases the opportunity for muscle, connective tissue, and the hip joint bones to develop congruently. We feed all our dogs Legacy, a Canadian made food.
4. Let your dog swim. Swimming is the best exercise you can do for a dog. It is way better than jogging with your dog.
One of the most common myths about hip dysplasia is that it equals to a death sentence, or a life of crippling pain for the dog. This is rarely the case. *Ask to see the hip results of your dog's pedigree. While not all results are recorded most pedigrees will have the results for the first 3 generations.*