Message Us

5 Telltale Signs of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

By AshleyTurner. | Dog Health

Canine hip dysplasia is a fairly common condition that you see a lot in larger dog breeds, but smaller dogs breeds can develop it as well. Hip dysplasia occurs when your dog's ball and socket joint in their hip develops incorrectly and grinds or rubs together instead of glides.

This condition can drastically decrease your dog's overall quality of life, and there are five telltale signs of canine hip dysplasia you want to watch for. These signs can worsen over time, so early detection and treatment are key.

1. Decreased Activity

One of the easiest 'tells' or signs that something is wrong with your dog's hips is a decreased activity level. You may notice that your dog wants to rest or sleep more, and they'll be less enthusiastic about activities that make them physically active like going on walks or playing.

A lot of pet parents may assume that this is simply a consequence of their dog getting older. However, it is very important to mention any radical change in your dog's behavior like decreased activity to your vet because your dog may be in pain and you don't want them to suffer.

2. Difficulty Getting Up

As canine hip dysplasia worsens over time, you may notice that your dog has difficulty rising after they've been laying down or in a prone position. It can be noticeably worse in the morning after your dog wakes up from sleeping all night.

They may also have more difficulty getting up after they've been laying on cold, hard, or slippery floors. Carpeting or area rugs is one way to help your dog, and it can also give them better traction, so they don't slip and fall as they're walking around.

3. Not Able to Climb Stairs or Jump Up

Your dog uses their back legs to push themselves up the stairs, and as hip dysplasia advances, their hips become inflamed and sore. This can directly impact how well your dog can climb stairs or jump up because your dog's range of motion in their hips decrease.

In the beginning, when the inflammation first starts to develop, you might start to notice that your dog hesitates when they have to climb stairs or jump up. This hesitation can lead to your pet refusing to climb the stairs or jump up completely, or they won't do it without assistance from you.

4. Bunny Hopping

The term "bunny hopping" is referring to the way your dog changes their gait when they walk, climb stairs, or run. It got its name because dogs tend to "hop" and lift both of their back legs at once when they're moving to decrease the pressure on their joints.

If your dog is lifting and putting down both of their back legs at the same time, it can make them distribute their weight more evenly, and this can make it less painful to move around. They may also lead with the opposite leg when they climb stairs.

5. Hip Pain and Sensitivity

A final indicator of hip dysplasia is that your dog displays signs of pain when you or one of your family members touches their hip area. When hip dysplasia starts to develop, the ball joint can pop out of the socket and cause tiny fractures to appear and the joints to stretch to accommodate it. 

As this problem develops, these tiny fractures and stretching turns into cartilage breakdown and eventually to osteoarthritis. This can make your dog's hip area very painful, and they may shy away when you try to touch the area.

Bottom Line

Your dog is more than a pet, and you want them to have as happy and as healthy of a life as they can, for as long as they can. This is why it's so important to monitor your dog for any changes in their behavior and talk to your vet if you have concerns.

If your dog develops hip dysplasia, early detection and treatment can help to improve your dog's quality of life. They'll be happier and healthier well into their old age.

Behavioral Science and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers

Ashley Turner

Ashley Turner is a Dog Mom of a beautiful Westie named Lily. She also happens to be the community manager and blogger for PuppyWire. Her passion is to help other Dog Parents by giving them practical advice through tips, guides, and reviews for popular dog products. Find out more by visiting


Signup/Login to post a reply


Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

great cover

This is actually a replacement for my original 4 knines cover which was 4 years old. I used it daily (bringing my pup to work with me) and washed it weekly, so the backing finally started to flake apart and come off. This newer version is easier to put over the headrests, great improvement in the strap and closures. Also the best improvement is the side flaps, the old cover didn't have these. These flaps help to catch the dirt from dogs feet when they are jumping up into the car, instead of it going on the side of the seat.

Diane Breland


This is my 2nd seat cover from 4knines and love them both. The product and service were both fantastic.


Repeat customer VERY satisfied.

We have made several purchases from 4Knines and are VERY satisfied with products (cargo liner, back seat cover, bucket front seat cover...). I volunteer at a shelter and take dogs offsite daily. Always a Pleasure doing business with 4Knines. Highly recommend.

Cristina Jones

Split Rear Dog Seat Cover - Fitted - No Hammock

I had ordered this item from an on-line site and was extremely disappointed when I received the wrong item. I was impressed with the quality of the seat cover and decided to contact 4Knines directly. I placed my order with Maggie and received the Split Rear Dog Seat Cover within three days. The seat cover fits nicely in my new Honda CR-V and as stated by 4Knines, is very easy to install and remove. My 8-month old labradoodle Brodie likes the comfort, and friends agree with him. Great quality item, reasonably priced, and outstanding customer service. Thanks 4Knines.


New seat cover and side panels in Nissan Titan

Excellent solution for my truck. Absolutely no complaints. A+ quality materials, engineering, and design. Fast service on delivery. Cannot ask for anything better. J Jones Aiken, SC

john jones

New truck seat cover and side panels

I really do like the seat cover and door side panels. The side panels are a must as the Beagle mix puts her feet on the doors. Every now and again someone comes up with a nice product that works well, has quality in its materials, and is well engineered. These are those. I am super satisfied.

john jones


Easy and fast install. Stays in great!! (and the dogs are happy that they get to ride along again!) :)

Ericka Spiva

Great fit, Great look, Stays in Place

I really like the look of this cover on my front bucket seat. You can't tell it's to protect the seat from the dog! It's very nice looking and fits great. Most importantly, it stays in place! My dog is wiggly, up and down, looking out the windows; and this seat cover doesn't mind. Do make sure you watch the video and carefully follow the installation instructions. I did not at first; and Support was Wonderful in helping me figure out what I was doing incorrectly.

Sherry McClurkin

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy