Signs of Arthritis in Dogs | Canine Arthritis
Knowing the signs of arthritis in dogs can be helpful in determining if your dog is indeed suffering from arthritic pain and discomfort.
Arthritis is a common diagnosis in dogs, especially as they age.
While there is no cure for dog arthritis, it is a disease that can be managed.
Arthritis is also known as Osteoarthritis, and/or degenerative joint disease.
With aging and repetitive use, the cartilage, which acts as a cushion between bones, eventually wears down, causing friction between the ends of the bones, causing permanent inflammation and pain.
The most common locations are the shoulders, hips, elbow, knees and ankles. Osteoarthritis is incurable, but manageable through medical treatment, diet and exercise
Knowing what to look for will greatly help your dog and increase their comfort level.
Larger breed dogs and overweight dogs are more likely to get arthritis as they age.
Traumatic injuries to joint tissues, even at younger ages, can develop into arthritis even after the initial injury heals.
The signs of arthritis in dogs can vary greatly. Dogs can be notorious for “hiding their symptoms” or only showing minimal signs of discomfort when they are in fact suffering from severe arthritis.
Some of the things to look for are general stiffness, limping or a decrease in activity. They may take longer to rise from a laying or sitting position or show a reluctance to climb steps or stairs.
Adjust your routine to accommodate your dog's lessened activity, but continue to keep them “out and about.” I have reduced our daily walks significantly with Lady, and just do a short walk around the yard now, several times a day. This is our special time together and we move at a much slower pace, and then she gets a special body massage twice a day also.
My Lady, who is my 13 year old Lab, started with all the signs of arthritis and I have her on this Ultimate Canine Supplement, which I highly recommend.She seems much perkier and agile. Along with her limping, she also was becoming extremely “pigeon toed”, in the front paws when she walked. The vet explained this was because she was shifting her weight off of her sore back hips the relieve the pressure and pain, causing an unnatural gait.
Your dog may also experience varying degrees of lameness, stiffness, and joint pain, first thing in the morning or after getting up from a nap.
They may become irritable or have a lack of appetite. In some more severe cases, the dog may whimper or cry out when standing or being touched. The dog may become quiet or withdrawn and show an unwillingness to do activities that they had previously enjoyed. Some dogs exhibit personality changes.
As it does in people, the symptoms of arthritis may come and go. One day the dog may be feeling better and showing no signs of discomfort and the following day show signs of discomfort. Because of reasons like this, some of the signs of arthritis could easily be missed or overlooked.
The degree of discomfort can vary with weather changes. The dog may also show signs of diminished muscle tone if they are using other muscles and joints to compensate for the pain in other areas.
If any of these signs of arthritis are noted in your dog for more than two weeks, careful observation and a trip to the vet might be in order.
- Favoring a limb
- Difficulty sitting or standing
- Sleeping more
- Seeming to have stiff or sore joints
- Inability or Hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs
- Weight gain
- Less Active
- Attitude or behavior changes
- Being less alert
- Whimpering or crying when trying to do routine activities such as walking.
- Depression, and/or withdrawal from family activities
While arthritis can't be cured, there are many measures and steps that can be taken to ensure that the dog is as comfortable as they can be.
Once the diagnosis of arthritis has been made by the veterinarian, there are many options to manage the arthritic condition and give the dog the quality of life he deserves, and a reduction of dog joint pain.