CBD for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

January 07, 2022
Medically reviewed by James Edward, PharmD

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Welcome to our deep dive into managing hip dysplasia in dogs, a condition that can significantly impact our furry friends’ quality of life. It leads to a range of mobility issues and, more often than not, chronic pain for affected animals. In our quest to provide relief and improve life quality for these dogs, we’ll explore an option that’s been gaining attention in the pet wellness community: Cannabidiol, or CBD for Dogs.

CBD, derived from cannabis, has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that can benefit dogs with hip dysplasia. We’ll explore what hip dysplasia is, which breeds are most affected, and how to recognize the signs. CBD can offer relief to dogs with hip dysplasia, and we’ll discuss the research supporting its benefits and considerations. Mobility chews containing CBD, glucosamine, and chondroitin can support mobility, and we’ll cover how to use CBD effectively and safely alongside traditional treatments.

What is Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in dogs is a condition characterized by a malformation of the ball and socket joint of the hip. This malformation leads to a loose or unstable joint that, over time, can cause a range of mobility issues and pain. While aging can contribute to the development of hip dysplasia due to the general wear and tear on the joints, the condition is not always solely a consequence of aging. Genetics, rapid growth rates, and environmental factors can also play significant roles in its onset.

The structure of the hip joint is designed to allow for fluid movement and support the weight of the body. In a healthy dog, the ball (the head of the femur) and the socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis fit snugly and move smoothly against each other. However, in dogs with hip dysplasia, this fit is imperfect and leads to the parts of the joint rubbing and grinding against one another. Over time, this can result in deterioration of the joint, loss of function, and significant discomfort.

Causes of Hip Dysplasia

Which breeds are likely to develop it

Hip dysplasia is known to be more prevalent in certain dog breeds, especially those of larger sizes. This is primarily due to genetic predispositions, though other factors such as rapid growth, improper nutrition, and environmental conditions can also contribute to its development. Here are some of the breeds that are most likely to develop hip dysplasia:

  1. German Shepherds: Known for their versatility and intelligence, German Shepherds are also among the breeds most commonly affected by hip dysplasia. Their active lifestyle and rapid growth phase put them at higher risk.
  2. Labrador Retrievers: As one of the most popular dog breeds, Labradors are also prone to hip dysplasia. Their love for activity and tendency to overeat can contribute to the risk, especially if their weight is not carefully managed.
  3. Golden Retrievers: Similar to Labradors, Golden Retrievers have a high incidence of hip dysplasia. Their gentle nature and eagerness to please make them wonderful family pets, which means their hip health is crucial for a long, active life.
  4. Great Danes: The sheer size of Great Danes puts a significant amount of strain on their joints, making them susceptible to hip dysplasia. Responsible breeding and proper care can help manage this risk.
  5. Bulldogs: Despite being a smaller breed compared to the others listed, Bulldogs are at a high risk for hip dysplasia. Their unique body structure/weight distribution contribute to their vulnerability.
  6. Saint Bernards: As a giant breed, Saint Bernards face a high risk of hip dysplasia. Their rapid growth and heavy build require careful management to prevent joint issues.
  7. Rottweilers: These strong and loyal dogs are also prone to developing hip dysplasia. Their muscular build and active nature require healthy joint support throughout their lives.
  8. Mastiffs: Including both English Mastiffs and other Mastiff types, these large and powerful dogs are susceptible to hip dysplasia due to their size and weight.

It’s important for potential dog owners to research and understand the health challenges associated with their preferred breed. For breeds prone to hip dysplasia, early screenings, maintaining a healthy weight, and ensuring proper nutrition can help manage the risk of developing this condition.

Recognizing Hip Dysplasia

Recognizing hip dysplasia early in dogs can play a crucial role in managing the condition and improving the quality of life for your pet. Here are key signs and symptoms to watch for:

  1. Limping or Lameness: One of the first signs often noticed is a limp in the dog’s hind legs or a general change in the way the dog walks. This may be more pronounced after the dog wakes up from resting or after periods of vigorous activity.
  2. Difficulty Rising: Dogs with hip dysplasia may struggle to get up from a lying or sitting position. This can be due to discomfort in the hip joints.
  3. Reluctance to Exercise: If your dog, particularly a young or previously active one, starts showing reluctance to engage in exercise, play, or struggles with stairs, it could be a sign of hip discomfort.
  4. Audible Sounds: Listen for any clicking or popping sounds coming from the dog’s joints during movement. These sounds might be a result of the femur head (the ball) moving abnormally in the acetabulum (the socket).
  5. Decreased Activity: A noticeable decrease in overall activity levels or a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed could indicate pain associated with hip dysplasia.
  6. Altered Stance/Gait: Dogs with hip dysplasia may exhibit a “bunny hop” gait, wherein they use their hind legs together rather than one at a time. Additionally, you may notice a narrowing of their stance - their back legs placed closer together than normal.
  7. Loss of Muscle Mass: Because the condition can cause discomfort and limit activity, you may notice loss of muscle mass in the hind legs due to less use, while the front legs may appear more muscular from taking on more of the body’s weight.
  8. Pain or Discomfort: While dogs are typically good at hiding pain, they might express discomfort when their hip area is touched or when moving in certain ways.

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian. They can conduct a thorough examination, which might include palpation of the hip joints, observing the dog’s walk and stance, and possibly recommending X-rays to confirm the diagnosis of hip dysplasia. Early intervention can significantly help in managing the condition and improving your dog’s quality of life.

CBD for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

How Does CBD Work For Dogs With Hip Dysplasia?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has emerged as a promising option for managing hip dysplasia in dogs, primarily due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Here’s how it works:

Reduces Inflammation

  • Mechanism: CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in both humans and animals. This system plays a crucial role in regulating pain, inflammation, and immune system responses.
  • Benefits: By decreasing inflammation in the hip joint, CBD can help alleviate the symptoms of hip dysplasia, such as stiffness and discomfort during movement. Reduced inflammation can also slow down the progression of joint damage.

Reduces Pain

  • Analgesic Properties: CBD’s interaction with the ECS also contributes to its pain-relieving effects. It can alter pain signaling pathways, helping to minimize the perception of pain.
  • Improved Mobility: With the reduction in pain, dogs may show improved mobility. Activities like standing up, walking, and climbing stairs can become easier, enhancing the overall quality of life for dogs with hip dysplasia.

Considerations for Using CBD in Dogs

  • Quality and Usage Amount: It’s vital to choose high-quality pet CBD products to ensure safety and efficacy. The correct amount, which can vary based on the dog’s size, weight, and severity of symptoms, should be determined in consultation with a veterinarian.
  • Potential Side Effects: While CBD is generally safe for dogs, some potential side effects include drowsiness or dry mouth. Monitoring your dog for any changes and having open dialogues with your veterinarian can help manage these risks.

Incorporating CBD into the treatment plan for a dog with hip dysplasia can offer a complementary approach to traditional treatments like NSAIDs, physical therapy, or even surgery. Its natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties can make a significant difference in a dog’s comfort and mobility, offering a promising option for many pet owners seeking relief for their furry friends.

How CBD helps dogs with hip dysplasia

CBD can significantly aid dogs with hip dysplasia by enhancing their ability to move more freely and comfortably. Here’s a closer look at how CBD facilitates this:

  1. Pain Management: By reducing the pain associated with hip dysplasia, CBD makes it easier for dogs to move. Pain is a major limiting factor in mobility; its alleviation can lead to an improved range of movement and an increased willingness to walk, run, or play.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: CBD’s capacity to reduce inflammation can directly impact the health of the joint. Inflammation contributes to further joint degradation and can make movement stiff and painful. By mitigating this inflammation, CBD may maintain healthier joint function, contributing to smoother and more comfortable movement.
  3. Improved Mental Wellbeing: Pain and discomfort can lead to anxiety or depression in dogs, further inhibiting their desire to move. CBD has been noted for its calming effects, which can boost a dog’s mood and encourage more activity, indirectly supporting mobility by improving their overall wellbeing.

When considering CBD for a dog with hip dysplasia, consulting with a veterinarian is important. They can monitor the dog’s response to the treatment, ensuring it fits safely and effectively into their overall care plan.


How Relievet Helps Murphy

It keeps him mobile and able to exercise each day. He has great energy and walks still 3 times a day as he turns 11 this year. He has hip dysplasia and arthritis and we have seen a great improvement in his mobility.” - Amanda G.

Products Murphy uses:

Read more in case studies

Mobility Bites and Chews for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

Our CBD Mobility Chews and CBD Mobility Bites are designed not only to harness the supportive properties of CBD but also include other ingredients that have been shown to support joint health and improve mobility in dogs. Two of the most notable ingredients included alongside CBD in these chews are glucosamine and chondroitin. Here’s how these components contribute to the efficacy of mobility chews:


  • What It Is: A naturally occurring compound that plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of cartilage within the joints.
  • How It Helps: Glucosamine serves as a building block for cartilage, offering structural support to ensure smooth joint movement. It can help maintain the integrity of the joint cartilage, reduce joint pain, and improve overall mobility. It’s particularly beneficial for dogs with hip dysplasia, as it can aid in repairing and preventing further wear and tear on the joint.


  • What It Is: Often found alongside glucosamine, chondroitin is another naturally occurring substance that is vital for the resilience of cartilage.
  • How It Helps: Chondroitin works by helping to retain water within the cartilage, ensuring adequate lubrication and flexibility in the joint. Moreover, it has been noted for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can further alleviate pain and enhance joint function in dogs with hip dysplasia.

Benefits of the Combination

The combination of CBD with glucosamine and chondroitin in mobility chews offers a multifaceted approach to supporting joint health in dogs with hip dysplasia. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, combined with the structural support and improved lubrication provided by glucosamine and chondroitin, can synergistically enhance joint function, reduce discomfort, and improve quality of life for dogs facing mobility challenges.

Research on CBD for hip dysplasia

Research into CBD’s effects on dogs, particularly its application in managing conditions like hip dysplasia and the subsequent development of osteoarthritis (OA), is an expanding field. While studies specifically targeting CBD’s efficacy for hip dysplasia are limited, its benefits for canine osteoarthritis—which can arise from hip dysplasia—are more documented and can offer insight into its potential as a long-term management option.

Connection to Osteoarthritis

Hip dysplasia often leads to osteoarthritis, as the irregular movement and stress on the joint contribute to cartilage breakdown and inflammation. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the loss of cartilage, leading to pain and reduced mobility. Studies exploring CBD’s efficacy for osteoarthritis therefore provide valuable information about its potential to help manage hip dysplasia.

Research Highlights

  • Pain Management and Activity Levels: A notable study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science (July 2018) explored the effects of CBD oil on dogs with osteoarthritis. The study observed significant decreases in pain and increases in activity levels with CBD oil administration twice daily. This suggests that CBD could help manage pain and improve the quality of life for dogs suffering from conditions related to hip dysplasia.
  • Safety and Side Effects: In terms of long-term safety, research, including the study mentioned above, has indicated that CBD is generally well-tolerated in dogs, with minimal side effects. A study focusing specifically on the safety and side effects of CBD in dogs, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science (2022), found that CBD appears to be safe for dogs, even when used for 6 months or longer.

Considerations for Long-term Use

Given that hip dysplasia is a degenerative condition, treatment approaches, including the use of CBD, often focus on management rather than cure. The existing research supports CBD’s potential benefits in managing osteoarthritis pain, which is promising for its application in hip dysplasia. However, there are still critical considerations for long-term use:

  • Regular Veterinary Oversight: It’s crucial for pet owners to work closely with their veterinarian to monitor the dog’s condition and adjust treatments as necessary.
  • Individual Responses: As with any treatment, dogs may respond differently to CBD. What works for one may not work for another, necessitating adjustments in dosing or the consideration of alternative therapies.
  • Quality and Usage Control: Selecting high-quality, lab-tested CBD products and adhering to appropriate usage amounts, is essential for ensuring safety and efficacy.

In summary, while direct research on CBD for hip dysplasia in dogs is limited, studies on its effects on osteoarthritis offer promising insights into its potential as a management tool. Ongoing and future research is crucial for fully understanding CBD’s role in treating hip dysplasia and related conditions over the long term.

How to use CBD for dogs with hip dysplasia

What form to use

When using CBD to help manage hip dysplasia in dogs, choosing the right form and ensuring it’s administered safely and effectively is crucial. Each form of CBD - bites, chews, oil, and treats - offers different benefits and can be selected based on ease of use, your dog’s preferences, and specific needs. Here’s how to use each form:

1. CBD Mobility Bites

  • Description: These are crunchy, delicious bites infused with CBD and other natural ingredients beneficial for joint support, like glucosamine and chondroitin.

  • How to Use: Given once daily, based on your dog’s weight. It’s important to follow the usage instructions based on your dog’s weight and the concentration of CBD in the bites.

2. CBD Mobility Chews

  • Description: These daily-use chews are a great supplemental source of CBD and ingredients that support joint health and mobility.

  • How to Use: Use as a daily supplement. The jar has clear usage guidelines.

3. CBD Oil

  • Description: CBD Oil for Dogs offers a versatile and often more concentrated way to administer CBD. It can be administered orally, added directly to the dog’s food, or placed on a treat.
  • How to Use: If your dog allows, administering oil directly into the mouth is most effective for absorption. However, mixing it into food or a treat is a good alternative (though more must be used to offset loss from digestion). Using a calculator will tell you which product to use and how much. Typically dogs with mobility issues see improvement with 1mg/kg of CBD Oil.

4. CBD Treats

  • Description: These are convenient and delicious, making them an excellent option for dogs that are difficult to medicate. 
  • How to Use: Treats can be given as directed by the, ensuring it aligns with the dog’s weight. They’re especially useful for pet owners looking for an easy, on-the-go option. Using a calculator will make it easy to tell how many treats to use and what strength to get. Dogs with mobility issues typically respond well to 3mg/kg.

Our CBD Mobility Bites and CBD Mobility Chews include a supplemental amount of CBD, and can be used in combination with our oil and treats. However, our oil and treats should not be used together. Our general recommendation is to start with the Mobility Bites or Mobility Chews and add in CBD Oil or CBD Treats as necessary.

General Guidelines for Use

  • Start Low, Go Slow: Begin with the lowest recommended amount, and gradually increase as needed, based on the dog’s response. Observation is key to finding the right balance.
  • Monitor for Side Effects: Keep an eye out for any changes in your dog’s behavior, appetite, or mobility, and report these to your vet.
  • Quality Matters: Always choose products specifically designed for pets, and look for those that provide third-party lab testing results to ensure purity and potency.
  • Consult a Veterinarian: Before starting any new supplement, especially CBD, consulting with your veterinarian is crucial. They can provide guidance on the appropriate form, amounts, and monitor for any potential interactions with existing medications or conditions.

Using CBD for dogs with hip dysplasia can offer a complementary approach to managing their condition, potentially improving their quality of life by alleviating pain and enhancing mobility.

Pharmaceutical options for hip dysplasia

Pharmaceutical options for managing hip dysplasia in dogs commonly include Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). These medications are frequently prescribed by veterinarians to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in the joints, both of which significantly contribute to the discomfort associated with hip dysplasia. While NSAIDs can offer substantial relief and are an essential part of many dogs’ treatment plans, it’s important to be aware of their potential long-term side effects.

NSAIDs Prescribed for Hip Dysplasia

Some commonly prescribed NSAIDs for dogs include carprofen (Rimadyl), meloxicam (Metacam), and deracoxib (Deramaxx). These medications can make a considerable difference in a dog’s comfort and mobility.

Long-Term Side Effects of NSAIDs

While NSAIDs are effective in managing pain and inflammation, their prolonged use can lead to side effects in some dogs. Potential long-term side effects include:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: NSAIDs can cause irritation of the stomach lining, leading to problems such as ulcers, gastritis, or gastrointestinal bleeding. Symptoms may include vomiting, loss of appetite, or black, tarry stools.
  • Liver and Kidney Damage: Regular, long-term use of NSAIDs requires monitoring of liver and kidney function through blood tests, as these medications can sometimes lead to liver or kidney impairment.

Managing the Risks

To minimize the risks associated with long-term NSAID use, veterinarians usually recommend the following:

  • Regular Monitoring: Regular check-ups and blood tests can help detect any adverse effects on organ function early, allowing adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.
  • Use the Lowest Effective Dose: The goal is to find the lowest dose that still provides relief to minimize potential side effects.
  • Report Side Effects: Pet owners are encouraged to closely monitor their dogs and report any signs of side effects to their veterinarian immediately. This allows for timely adjustments to medication if necessary.
  • Consider Alternative Treatments: In some cases, integrating or exploring alternative therapies (such as physical therapy, weight management, nutritional supplements, or CBD) can help reduce dependence on NSAIDs.

It’s essential to discuss all treatment options, including the risks and benefits of NSAIDs, with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive and personalized management plan for a dog with hip dysplasia. Collaboration with your vet ensures that your pet receives the most appropriate care while minimizing potential risks associated with long-term medication use.

Surgical options

For dogs with hip dysplasia that do not respond well to conservative management (like weight management, physical therapy, or medication), surgical options may be considered.

Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO) is recommended for younger dogs under 10 months old with hip dysplasia and minimal arthritis. The procedure realigns the hip joint to improve function and reduce arthritis development. Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO) removes the femoral head to eliminate painful bone-on-bone grinding and can be performed on dogs of any age. Total Hip Replacement (THR) is best for older dogs with significant arthritis and replaces the entire hip joint with prosthetics.

Vet Involvement with CBD for Hip Dysplasia

Veterinarians provide invaluable insight into the condition, monitor progress, and ensure that CBD is used safely and effectively as part of a comprehensive plan. They can also advise on potential drug interactions with any existing medications.


CBD has emerged as a complementary approach to help manage hip dysplasia in dogs, notably for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. When considering using CBD for your dog:

  1. Holistic Approach: CBD should be part of a holistic approach that may include weight management, physical therapy, appropriate exercise, and possibly conventional medications. This comprehensive strategy can help maximize your dog’s mobility and quality of life.
  2. Quality Matters: Ensure you’re selecting high-quality CBD products specifically designed for pets to guarantee safety and efficacy. Look for products with third-party testing to verify CBD content and purity.
  3. Veterinarian Guidance: Always discuss the use of CBD with your veterinarian. They can help you integrate it into your dog’s care plan properly.
  4. Observation and Adjustment: Start with the lowest recommended amount and closely observe your dog’s response. Adjustments may be needed, which should be done under veterinary supervision.
  5. Research and Educate: Stay informed about the latest research on CBD for animals. As this field rapidly evolves, staying updated can help you make the best decisions for your pet’s health.

CBD offers a promising option for supporting dogs with hip dysplasia, aiming to reduce discomfort and improve overall quality of life. With careful consideration and veterinary oversight, CBD can be a valuable component of managing hip dysplasia.

biscuits story

Biscuit's Story

Chris Kjolseth | CEO, Relievet

I was unprepared for what would happen to my dog, Biscuit. 

Ever since she was a puppy, she’d spend her days running and playing. I’d take her on walks, to the beach, and dog parks.

Unfortunately, at age 10, she started to limp after trips to the beach. It broke my heart to see her in pain doing what she loved the most. I started feeding her a raw food diet and added high-quality supplements to ensure her nutritional needs were met. Unfortunately, while she loved the food, the limping persisted.

I went to the vet, who looked over Biscuit and said she was likely limping due to joint inflammation. She gave us something to help. This worked well at first. Biscuit was moving around more freely, and was limping less. 

However, a few days later, It was to my absolute shock that she…

Read Her Story

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