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4 Reasons to Use a Dog Hip Brace for Hip Pain

Table of Contents

Have you ever sprained your wrist? Maybe you’ve had a bum knee from a sports injury in the past? Or maybe you just needed some extra support while you exercised and turned to a brace for some help. Regardless of your own experience with using supportive braces, you may not know that pets can benefit from these devices, too! 

From helping them keep loose joints in place to providing pain relief through compression, a dog hip brace is one kind of tool you can add to your kit to combat the symptoms and pain associated with dog hip dysplasia. 

But how does this tool work? And why else would you use it in the first place? Not to mention, how do you select the right one for your pooch? Not to worry—we’re here with the answers you need to start implementing a dog hip brace in your pooch’s life and help unlock ways to get them feeling like their best selves!

Read on to find out more about dog hip braces and how they can help your pup stay bouncy, happy, and comfortable for years to come.

What is a Dog Hip Support Brace?

dog wearing a hip brace

One Example Of A Style Of Dog Hip Brace Available To Pet Parents (Source)

A dog hip brace is a type of support for your dog’s hip that helps hip joints that are:

  1. Weak
  2. Loose
  3. Injured
  4. Recovering from surgery

And how does it do this, exactly? An orthopedic dog hip brace stabilizes and supports a dog's hip joints. Most hip braces contain neoprene panels that wrap tightly around the pet's hind leg to compress the hip and leg. By compressing the joint, the swelling can be reduced, and healing improves. Not to mention the comfort it can provide a typically active dog who doesn't want to give up their daily walks!



But let’s back up for a second and review the actual anatomy of your dog’s hip so you can see just how helpful a dog hip support such as a brace can be.

Your dog’s hip is made up of a few key structures that work together to help them move forward with speed, efficiency and optimal bounciness. 

The structures in your dog’s hip you really need to focus on are:

  • Acetabulum (hip socket)
  • Femoral head
  • Femur
  • Anterior superior iliac spine (hip bone)

As you can see in the diagram below, the femoral head (located at the end of their leg bone, or femur) should fit snugly into the hip socket, allowing for smooth, continuous movement. In cases where this fit is disrupted, like in cases of hip dysplasia and arthritis, your pup can experience serious pain. 

dog bones of the hip and pelvis


As you can see, your dog’s hip is complex and absolutely essential to their movement—and if you have a dog impacted by any kind of pain and problems in this region, you know how much it can affect their day-to-day functioning and mobility. That’s why a dog hip support brace can come in handy and get them moving again!

Reasons to Use Dog Hip Braces

You may not know it, but a dog hip brace can be helpful to more than one kind of dog joint health problem. Our dogs have complex, sometimes multifactorial conditions that can challenge mobility for even the most active of pooches. That’s where a dog hip brace can come in handy for many pups living with pain.

Some of the many reasons to use a dog hip brace include:

  • To aid in mobility challenges associated with hip dysplasia
  • To help your pup while they recover from surgery
  • To support remaining limbs after an amputation
  • To treat pressure sores caused by immobility

These are just a few of the reasons your pup may benefit from using a dog hip brace, and ultimately, they are helpful to have on hand for many kinds of other lame dog conditions, from dog arthritis to muscle and ligament strains. 

Hip Dysplasia

As one of the primary reasons why a dog hip brace is implemented in the first place, dog hip dysplasia can be debilitating to your pup. 

When a dog has hip dysplasia, their hip is essentially malformed and unable to slot into the hip thanks to a shallow hip socket and (or) a deformed femoral head. This results in your dog’s hip luxating (or sliding out of the socket), leading to inflammation, pain, and discomfort for your poor pup.


dog hip compared to hip with dysplasia


A dog hip brace can help to do two things for dogs with hip dysplasia:

  1. Compress the area, holding the joint in place
  2. Support other structures in the area

By holding your dog legs in place and exerting bilateral compression on the hips, a dog hip brace reduces pain and helps keep the femoral head in place in dogs suffering from hip dysplasia. This can allow your dog to get out, get active, and be just like their usual, bouncy selves again.

Surgery Recovery

Following surgical treatment for hip luxation, dogs often wear dog hip braces.

The purpose of adding a dog hip brace post-op can be twofold:

  1. To immobilize the limb to heal properly
  2. To support the limb during recovery

Depending on the injury and recommended treatment, devices like Ehmer slings can dynamize the tissues during recovery, which gradually increases forces on the tendons and accelerates healing. These slings are meant to immobilize and allow proper positioning initially to help dog muscle and joints to heal. During recovery, these dog hip braces can be combined with a specialty vest to provide access to rehabilitation therapy and offer a less cumbersome setup during the recovery period to support healing.

The diagram below shows how this setup works, and how your dog’s leg is held during recovery in this type of dog hip brace.

dog hip brace breakdown


It should be noted, however, Ehmer slings are known to cause problems like skin irritations and abrasions, and can be tricky to navigate during rehabilitation, so ensuring the fit is right for your dog and using the vest to disperse weight are both factors that are key to successful use.

Supporting Amputee Dogs’ Legs

In addition to proper wound care and diet management to keep weight off, “tripawd” dogs, or dogs who have undergone a surgery to remove a limb and are left with three legs, can benefit from an orthopedic dog hip brace.

Dogs are estimated to carry 60% of their weight on their front legs. After a dog loses a limb, its remaining limbs have to bear more of its weight. That means each front leg holds 30% of its body weight, and each hind leg holds 20% of its body weight. That means when one of the dog's front legs is removed, the remaining front leg must carry 60% of the dog's body weight alone. If a hind leg is removed, the remaining hind limb will need to carry about 40% of the dog’s weight. This changes their stance and how much your dog has to work to move forward. 

When you think about this kind of weight distribution, you can see how a support like a dog hip brace could be helpful. A brace can help contribute to helping their remaining limbs by supporting and compressing the hip while comfortably accommodating most amputee legs. 

Typically, a dog hip brace for “tripawd” pups usually consists of two neoprene leg panels that are attached together to give the dog a conformed fit. One piece will be full length and the other an amputee piece. To keep the system in place on the top of the pelvis and avoid it slipping and sliding around, the leg panels are attached to a chest harness to keep the fit snug yet comfortable.

Pressure Sore Treatment and Prevention

Also known as decubital ulcers, these are like bedsores in humans—ouch! For pups with pain in their hips, they may choose to sit more than stand, and once they find a comfy way to sit that alleviates the pain or pressure from their hips, they may start to sit in that position for long periods of time, leading to pressure sores.

A dog hip brace can be a part of the plan to treat and prevent these painful sores, but it’s just one piece of the plan you should put in place.

The best way to tackle hip pain management in dogs is to use a multimodal approach. So, in addition to your dog hip brace, you should plan to incorporate:

  • Exercise and rest plans
  • Diet and weight management plans
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Joint supplements

The last item on our list, dog joint supplements, can be a great complement to dog hip braces because they help tackle pain and inflammation from the inside, while the dog hip brace handles the physical support from the outside.

Ingredients like glucosamine for dogs not only help address the pain caused by arthritis, hip dysplasia, and surgery recovery, but helps to reduce inflammation and improve cartilage quality and quantity, alongside other joint health heroes like chondroitin and MSM.

Selecting The Right Dog Hip Brace Support

checking dog for hip problems

The right dog hip brace support can differ for every pup! Whether they are large or small, old or young, it’s important to make sure you understand the needs of your individual pooch before buying a dog hip brace.

We’re going to go over 3 key factors that impact your dog's hip brace selection in the section below, so you can feel confident in your decision to use a dog hip brace:

  1. The size of your dog (are they a large dog or a small dog?)
  2. What type of dog hip brace you’re looking for
  3. How severe their hip pain is, and what it’s caused by

Without further ado, let’s get started so you can get shopping! 

Small Dog Hip Brace versus Large Dog Hip Brace

Some pups are pint-sized, while others are larger than life! Thanks to the variety of breeds available today, there are dogs of all shapes and sizes in our lives – and their size difference can be a major decision in how you should choose a dog hip brace.

Factor in the size of your dog first and foremost before selecting a dog hip brace. It may seem obvious, but there are differences between the braces made for large dogs and small dogs’ hip pain. There are also differences in their measurements

Consult the table below to get a highlight of what these differences are.

Large Dog Hip Brace

Small Dog Hip Brace

  • Measurements
    • Chest: 29 - 37”
    • Height: 26 - 32” and up
    • Weight: Over 60 lbs
  • Large dogs typically are impacted by genetic conditions like hip dysplasia and arthritis.
  • Measurements
  • Chest: 12 - 19”
  • Height: 13 - 17”
  • Weight: Under 25 lbs
  • Small dogs are often impacted by luxating hips and patellas, as well as strains and injuries.

If you’re unsure about how to choose a dog hip brace based on your dog’s size, then don’t be afraid to call your veterinarian to get some advice. 

Style of Dog Hip Brace

Another important step in choosing the right dog hip brace for your pup’s needs is to consider what style of dog hip brace would be best for their needs.

Typically, there are two most common formats for dog hip braces:

  1. Generically sized, neoprene compression braces
  2. Custom-made dog hip braces

Depending on your dog’s needs, their state, and your budget, either can be the right fit for your dog.

Generic Dog Hip Brace

Custom Fitted Dog Hip Brace


  • Accessible to most dog owners
  • Quick and easy to get one
  • Usually more inexpensive


  • Not always a good fit
  • Can be hard to get the size right for your pup


  • Fits your dog exactly to their needs and size
  • Addresses the pain in a more specific manner due to their custom nature


  • More expensive
  • Can be time consuming due to the fitting and ordering process

As you can see, a more inexpensive, generic brace can be in your hands and ready to use on your pup in days, whereas a custom dog hip brace can take time (and more money) to implement for your pup. On the other hand, these custom braces can be really effective at assisting in the pain on a more specific level.

Severity of Dog Hip Pain

The right dog hip brace support is a very important decision. It needs to be comfortable, supportive and safe for your pet. When choosing a dog hip brace, you should also consider the severity and type of your dog's hip pain. However, dozens of different kinds of dog hip braces are available on the market today, so it can be difficult to know which one is right for your pooch.

You first need to check with your vet to see if they recommend bracing at all. For some dogs, it may not be the best option, and going ahead and using a brace without advice from your vet may do more harm than good.

If your vet does give you the green light to use a dog hip brace, then you need to decide how much support you want from your dog's hip brace support. 

Here are two different scenarios that require different dog hip brace needs:

  1. If your dog has mild pain, such as from early hip dysplasia or arthritis, occasional bracing while active can be a helpful aid in everyday life that can slow the development of these conditions and keep your dog moving. A generic brace is usually fine for these situations.
  2. If your dog has severe pain and can't walk normally, a brace may be necessary for their safety and comfort at all times, not just during activity. They may also benefit from a custom solution.

In addition, you can ask yourself some further questions that help in determining which dog hip brace would be best for the level of severity of your dog's hip pain:

  • Should it provide just support for walking, or should it also offer some protection from further injury?
  • Will your dog wear the device all the time?
  • What kind of materials do you prefer? 
  • How much control do you want over adjusting sizing and fitting?

3 Best Dog Hip Brace Options

In order to help your pup get the best dog health outcomes pawsible, we want to make sure you’re getting the best dog hip brace for your pooch. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best products on the market today. The best dog hip brace options are ones that are comfortable, durable, and easy to use. Dogs with hip dysplasia can benefit from wearing a brace, but you'll want to make sure you choose one that is right for your pooch.

Here's what to look for when choosing the best dog hip brace:

  • Comfort: The most important feature of any dog hip brace is comfort. If your dog doesn't like wearing it, they won't wear it!
  • Durability: A good dog hip brace should be durable enough to last through ongoing use. If it tears easily or falls apart quickly, then it's not worth buying.
  • Ease of use: You want a dog hip brace that is easy to put on and take off so you don't have to struggle every time you want to put it on your pet.
  • Cost: How much the device costs is important to consider, from both a quality and budget perspective.

Let’s take a look at these options.

Option #1: OrthoDog Hip Hound Dog Brace

orthodog hip hound dog brace


Whether your pup is young or old, recovering post-operatively or just looking for day to day support, this option from OrthoDog is a great help!  It supports and stabilizes your dog’s hips as they stay active, and is made from durable nylon and mesh that make it more comfortable and breathable for your pup. You can adjust the fit, and take it on and off your pup in a snap with the easy to use straps. 

OrthoDog has products created with Vets’ help and approval, so you know they will be safe and effective for your pooch, no matter what is causing their hips pain and discomfort. This support is most ideal for dogs who need a little help in the hip department, and can still get up on their own.

Approximate Cost: $135.00 CAD (As of October 2022)

Option #2: Walkin’ Hip-EEZ Dog Hip Brace

walkin hip eez dog hip brace


As your pup walks, runs, and moves throughout the day, wearing a dog hip brace like this option from Walkin' Pets provides comfort. Designed for dogs of all sizes and ages, this dog hip support brace keeps pets active and relieves hip pain.

We love that this option features some safety striping on it so your pup can be easily spotted at night, perfect for keeping them safe from accidents. And the soft neoprene is not only comfy and easy to fit to your dog’s body, but easy to clean, too.

Approximate Cost: $169.95 CAD (As of October 2022)

Option #3: Balto BT Life Hip Brace

balto bt life hip brace


For dogs who have severe, more complex hip pain, they may need a helping hand to rise from a seated position or to get into and out of a vehicle, for example. This option from Balto features 2 adjustable, removable handles that can be hooked to the dog's hip brace and be used to help lift their hind limbs. 

We like that this option is made with a breathable yet heat-retaining material that can reduce pain by increasing body temperature in the zone. It’s also easily washable, so you don’t have to worry about it getting ruined after some fun in the great outdoors!

Approximate Cost: From $255.00 CAD (As of October 2022)


If you’ve never tried a dog hip brace before, it can be challenging to wrap your mind around the ins and outs of a product like this. Since we know smart people like you ask questions, we’ll answer a few common FAQs below, so you can find the right options for your special furry friend.

What Are Other Dog Hip Supports?

There are many ways to support your dog’s hip health. If you’re considering a dog hip brace, you’ll find it helpful to know about other options.

Integricare’s TRI-ACTA pet supplements are great compliments to using a dog hip brace. TRI-ACTA can help improve mobility and relieve pain in dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis. 

These supplements help support the joint and the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments to provide additional support to the joint and prevent further damage due to wear and tear.

And we have two options for you, depending on your dog’s needs:

  • TRI-ACTA for Pets: Our original formula containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM is easy to serve and has no filler in a small daily dose. Perfect for young dogs' prevention and those just diagnosed with hip problems.
  • TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets: A formula with the goodness and quality of our original formula combined with the power of hyaluronic acid for improved joint fluid viscosity and better mobility. This is ideal for older pets, severe cases of hip dysplasia, and during surgery recovery.

TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets

Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.


Do Braces Help Dogs With Hip Dysplasia?

The answer to this question is yes. 

In dogs with hip dysplasia, the socket that their hip joint fits into is shallow and narrow. The head of the femur (long bone in the thigh) is not completely covered by this shallow socket and rubs against the sides of it when the dog walks or runs. This causes pain and discomfort for your dog.

A brace helps prevent this rubbing by stabilizing the hips so that they stay where they belong—in place! The brace keeps them from slipping out of place as much as possible when your dog walks or runs. This results in less pain for your pet because there is less friction between his hip joints and less pressure being put on those joints during activity (such as walking).

It is important to note that the brace is not a cure for the disease. The brace will simply help alleviate the pain and prevent further damage to your dog’s joints.

Final Thoughts

final thoughts on dog hip brace

A dog hip brace can be an important part of your dog's hip pain treatment, but it's not the only part. With consistent practice and patience, as well as the inclusion of multimodal therapies like dog joint supplements, you can expect to see your dog happily running around pain-free and free of the limitations imposed by a hip injury or other joint problems.

And when you’re searching for that high-quality compliment to a dog hip brace, look no further than Integricare’s TRI-ACTA for pets and TRI-ACTA H.A.. An easy to feed, high quality option that will be the perfect adjunct to your dog hip brace usage.  

TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets

Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.