How to choose a feed for a dog with dysplasia


In some very serious cases the treatment goes through a surgical intervention, but in the majority, the problem is controlled with a chronic treatment based on chondroprotectors.

Dysplasia is a common disease in some dog breeds such as bulldogs or the German Shepherd, or in large dogs regardless of their breed or crossing.

Once our dog is diagnosed with dysplasia, one of the many ways to help him is through proper feeding.

How can we feed our dog with dysplasia?

In this case, it is very important to offer a food of the highest quality, we should choose between feed based on animal protein and low carbohydrate content.

It is very important to avoid feed with cereals, cereals promote insulin secretions and generalized inflammation, therefore They are NOT recommended for dogs with dysplasia.

Feed your dog with a feed rich in quality meat, with amino acids and natural antioxidants.

Dog food with dysplasia should be rich in omega 3 fatty acids, we can use quality supplements, preferably in capsules.

In addition to seeking adequate diets, to support the veterinary treatment of dysplasia, we must pay special attention to the weight of our dog, being overweight will only serve to overload your joints and aggravate the symptoms of dysplasia.

If our dog's feed contains chondroprotectors and Omega 3 ... should we continue giving supplements?

YES, the content of chondroprotectors and omega 3, in a feed is difficult to control because of the ease of oxidation and exposure to high temperatures during feed processing.

In addition, generally the amount contained in dry food is insufficient for a dog diagnosed with dysplasia.

The best way to supplement the Omega 3 diets are from fish oil capsules.

Chondroprotectors are necessary almost without rest, they are not a medicine, but a food supplement that we can use without any concern, hence the majority of dog breeders predisposed to develop this disease, advise the administration of chondroprotectors throughout the growth phase of the puppies, between 2 and 18 months.

In the market we can find from the typical products based on glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate to totally natural products, based on green mussel, or even 100% vegetable, the latter, with very good results.

What is Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

It is an inherited disease, that is, it is transmitted genetically from parents to children, but it is not congenital, that is, the animal is born with a healthy hip and it is during the growth phase when a series of alterations appear.

These alterations consist, in a very simplified way, of two phenomena:

  • On the one hand elongation occurs (a stretch) of the structures that stabilize the joint such as the joint capsule, the ligament of the head of the femur and the peri-articular musculature, all of which result in the appearance of instability. It is as if all that tissue and muscles do not hold the connection between the femur and the hip well.
  • On the other hand, the spatial orientations of the bones that form the joint are altered, that is, either the femur or the hip cavity (acetabulum) loses its natural form, so that the fit stops being perfect and the problems appear.

Depending on how unstable the joint is and the deformations that have occurred in the femur or hip cavity we can talk about 4 degrees of dysplasia, from the slightest grade, Grade I, to the most severe Grade IV.

For the joint to function properly the body has a substance that acts as a bearing, the cartilage (and also to a lesser extent synovial fluid), which dampens the impacts caused by gait and jumps, prevents friction wear and allows movement of the joint.

When there is dysplasia, that is, when something begins to not fit well in the joint, it is this bearing that suffers the consequences, eroding and losing its shape and volume.

We are facing thepainful consequence of dysplasia: osteoarthritis.

Symptoms and possible causes of canine dysplasia

Dysplasia can have many causes influenced by genetics, diet, physical development or activity itself.

Even when it comes to genetic transfer, the disease does not develop immediately and there are several genes involved, so it is not possible to predict 100% which dogs will have dysplasia, however, it does allow us to identify a series of races, mainly medium and large, with predisposition:

  • German shepherd
  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Old English Shepherd Dog
  • Rottweiler,
  • Golden retriever,
  • Alaskan Malamute,
  • Labrador Retriever,
  • Samoyed

The way I recommend being attentive as an owner is, especially of the races mentioned, compared to sporadic lameness of the hind legs, sometimes only when the dog gets up after lying for a while, or shows signs of pain when walking or running.

If this happens, it is interesting to visit the veterinarian and do an x-ray because, if it is taken on time, you have many possibilities to improve your child's life in the future.

Help prevent (and improve) dysplasia through feeding

A large part of the osteo-articular problems that I have seen in my professional life come from the childhood of our animal.

I still remember how as a child I gave my puppy supplements and calcium pills because my father said that he would grow more and that his veterinarian had recommended it.

In general, our puppies should grow with their normal growth curve, or grow very quickly or in an unbalanced way, in particular, there are studies that warn of two customs that are too widespread:

  • A excess calcium It causes bone malformations and bone overgrowths that generate osteo-articular problems in the adult dog. (Goedegebuure and Hazewinkel, 1986)
  • A excessive feeding in cant> Whether you think or give a BARF diet, it is always better to limit the amount of food. For BARF, for example, it would be enough to adjust the amount to your body weight without adding special supplements.

Obviously, all components to create collagen and strengthen bone structure are mandatory in the diet, we talk about vitamin A, D, calcium and phosphorus, magnesium and our favorite anti-inflammatory agent, omega 3, with an effect studied and tested in the recovery of animals with dysplasia (Knott, Avery, Hollander, & Tarlton, 2011)

How does raw feeding help? Studies

To illustrate to what extent a natural diet can influence the appearance and evolution of hip dysplasia, look at the following results of a Helsinki University Study where different types of food are studied at different age stages (up to 6 months and from 6 to 18 months) of German shepherds and their influence on hip dysplasia. (Grundström, Hielm-Björkman, & Barrouin-Melo, 2014).

Over a period of time, both owners of German pastors with dysplasia and owners of German pastors without dysplasia about food were surveyed and a correlation was established, that is, a relationship, between feeding and dysplasia.

In particular, the closer the value to zero, the rarer it is that a dog that has those foods in the diet has dysplasia. Specific, the foods that presented less correlation with hip dysplasia were the fresh ingredients typical of a BARF diet.

The conclusions are impressive:

  • All analyzes point in the same direction, raw meat based meals seem reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds in the sample analyzed.

Given this, certain interesting theories are opened (and reinforced):

      Raw food or BARF provides a higher amount> If you do not follow this type of diet and have seen any of the symptoms we have talked about, you can help reduce them (or prevent future ones) by providing collagen supplements (better if it is short chain) and for those To those who see that they have pain, we can guide green mussel powder that is giving such good results in numerous studies against inflammation and joint pain.


    Hip Dysplasia is something serious and, unfortunately, there are many prone dogs.

    Of course, respecting natural growth from a young age by not physically forcing it or feeding it too much will reduce the risks of dysplasia in the future but, increasingly, it is shown that The best diet to guarantee the optimal presence of nutrients and their absorption, as well as to avoid obesity, is the raw diet.

    So my recommendation cannot be clearer :-)

    And you? What is your experience with dysplasia and how could we help you from the natural diet?

    If you are interested in learning about the natural diet We teach you how to make your own recipes at home. It is easy, economical and will do wonders for the health of your dog. And if you have any questions, we advise you for free.