Vol. 9: Discussing Supplements for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs With a Veterinarian


On our quest to understand hip dysplasia, we decided it might be worthwhile to get the information from a veterinarian’s perspective. So we interviewed a vet with plenty of experiencing dealing with hip dysplasia in dogs. The key points are detailed below.

Interviewer: Thank you so much for joining us today, Dr. Katz. Could you tell us a little about yourself—your veterinary background and your experience with dog hip dysplasia?

Veterinarian Dr. Katz, DVM: Hi Jackie, thank you for having me today. Well, I’m a licensed vet who’s been practicing at a private animal clinic for the past twenty odd years now. I find myself working mostly frequently with domestic pets who run into basic household health issues or accidents, although I also have a keen interest in pet nutrition and overall well-being.

I: Our primary focus today is supplementation for hip dysplasia in dogs. What is your understanding of the matter and what is your general point of view?

V: Of course I’ve run into tons of cases of canine hip dysplasia considering it’s one of the most common degenerative diseases faced by dogs. As far as supplements go, my general rule of thumb is to proceed cautiously. Some supplements can work wonders for joint conditions and others can end up being a complete waste of time.

I: Thank you. At this point, I’d like to proceed with several more probing questions to flesh out a deeper understanding of supplements and hip dysplasia, if that’s okay with you?

V: That sounds like a great idea to me.

Question: What are supplements and for what are they used? 

Response: People often associate the word “supplements” with medicine, as if they in themselves are able to treat illnesses. The truth of the matter, as far as nutritional science knows, is that supplements do not cure any diseases, canine dysplasia included. Rather, supplements are intended to provide nutrients that animals are missing out on, and possibly promote certain aspects of health.

With that in mind, supplements can be used to help care for dogs with hip dysplasia by giving them the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay as healthy as possible. Supplements are excellent for dogs with nutritional deficiencies. Supplements are also a great way to help ameliorate certain symptoms of hip dysplasia, the most common of which include inflammation and pain.

Q: Are supplements necessary for hip dysplasia or similar hip problems in dogs? 

R: I would not go so far as to claim that supplements are necessary to resolve dog hip problems, but I would never declare them useless. Their usefulness lies somewhere in the middle. When chosen correctly, some supplements can noticeably minimize joint inflammation and possibly even improve joint function. Abuse or improper use of supplements, however, can end up doing way more harm than good.

Q: What are the main benefits of using supplements to help treat hip dysplasia?

R: In simple terms, canine hip dysplasia is a misalignment of the hip joint. The hip joint can be incorrectly set due for a number of reasons, including poor bone structure, low amounts of cartilage, or even trauma from an accident or improper exercise. It’s also classified as a degenerative disease that gradually worsen over time.

Supplements can work to combat joint degeneration by two main methods. First, some supplements are known to have antioxidant properties, meaning that they reduce the kind of oxidative stress that breaks down joint stability. Second, certain supplements carry ingredients that are essential for cartilage synthesis and lubrication. Keeping cartilage healthy is vital to reducing the pain and inflammation of canine hip dysplasia.

Q: Can supplements have a negative effect on hip dysplasia in dogs?

R: Yes, when taken in high enough amounts the wrong amount of a supplement can throw the body off balance, especially when dogs are already getting enough of the same ingredients from other food sources.

Q: What are some of the common supplements you find in stores?

R: Knox gelatin and glucosamine or chondroitin supplements seem to be top sellers because of their potential to promote joint health.

Q: Are there supplements dog owners can prepare at home?

R: A neat way to provide a healthy supplement for dogs straight from home is to boil cartilage-containing bones in water for about a day and then to strain the bones from it. The remaining broth can be added to the daily diet. It has been reported to improve joint mobility and reduce joint pain. 

Q: What is the difference between organic and manufactured supplements?

R: Organic supplements are naturally produced substances, most of which are plants are herbs, like yucca, boswellia, comfrey, garlic, turmeric, and alfalfa. There are some supplements that can be prepared in a laboratory and then sold commercially. Strong cases demonstrating the value of one over the other have yet to be made.

Q: Are there any supplements in particular you would recommend? 

R: For cartilage health, I would recommend glycosaminoglycans, especially glucosamine and chondroitin. They have shown positive results for overall joint health in many cases. 

Q: What supplements should dog owners steer clear from, if any?

R: Avoid any supplements that might increase body fat or inflammation, both of which could worsen symptoms of canine hip dysplasia. Try to use supplements only when specifically recommended for your dog by a veterinarian. Each case of dog hip problems is different and each dog’s needs are unique. 

I: That’s a ton of information. I’m so glad we were able to talk with you today about supplements for hip dysplasia in dogs. I’d like to thank you so much for your input and insight on the topic and for your time with us.

V: It really was my pleasure. Any opportunity to share knowledge with others about healthy dog care is a joy for me.

I: That was Dr. Katz, DVM on supplements for hip dysplasia in dogs.

Vol. 8: How Much do Supplements Help With Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

Vol. 10: What is Canine Hip Dysplasia

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