Exercise for Hip Health in Dogs

Hip health is a major concern for many dog owners. Unfortunately, a good number of dogs will develop hip problems throughout the course of their lives. This is particularly a problem for larger breeds of dogs, but all sizes, genders and breeds can suffer from hip problems of some kind. If your pet has sensitive or damaged hips, you'll need to help him to maintain and regain his mobility as best as possible. This can be a very difficult task, because you want to be careful not to injure your dog or to put unnecessary stress on his body. Here are a few exercises that can be done to help your pet to maintain hip health throughout the course of his life.


There are a number of different forms of stretches that you can do with your dog in order to help to ease his pain and to keep up his flexibility. This will help to maintain his range of motion if his hips are at risk, and it can also help to expand the motion that he can make if his hips are already damaged. Many of these stretches require that your pet be lying down on his side or back. For a full list of different stretches to do and which stretches are appropriate for which hip conditions, ask a veterinarian or a veterinary physical therapist.

Be careful as you work with your dog to help him stretch that you observe any signs that he is suffering from pain. Because of the sensitive nature of your dog's hips, he may be more prone to aggressive behavior like biting or snapping at you if you attempt to maneuver his legs or hips in a way that causes him pain.


Swimming is a great form of exercise for a dog with hips that are in questionable condition. Swimming is particularly good because it is very low impact. Unlike running or walking, which can cause your pet to put additional stress on his hip joints, swimming is a low stress form of exercise. It allows your dog to continue to be active and to get the exercise that he needs in order to maintain good health, but it doesn't contribute to further calcification of hip joints or other damage in the same way that standard running or walking might.

Walking on Grass

If you do opt to walk with your pet, it's generally preferable to keep him at a slower pace. It's also best to use a grassy terrain as your location. This will help to keep the impact on your pet lower than it would be on pavement, gravel or other areas.

For more information about how to maintain your pet's hip health and overall joint health through exercise, speak with your vet. Your particular dog might require a unique form of exercise for his condition.