Watch Out For These Tell-Tale Signs of Arthritis in Dogs

arthritis in dogs

Like humans, dogs live a long life, and with their senior years comes painful chronic disease like osteoarthritis. People often dismiss the signs of arthritis in dogs.

Pet owners play an important role in catching this disease early. Learn how to understand dog arthritis symptoms and find the right medicine or treatments course.

What Is Canine Osteoarthritis?

Canine osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease and is characterized by eroding of joint cartilage, joint fluid buildup, and formation of new bone around joints. All of this results in a decreased joint function, mobility, and pain.

The cause of arthritis in dogs is not known; however, there are many responsible things. Some common causes can be infection, injury, abnormally formed joints, and an animal’s immune system.

Osteoarthritis in dogs is pretty common and affects a quarter of dogs of all ages. This disease is progressive; if not treated timely, it keeps getting worse.

Dog Arthritis Symptoms

Dog’ss cannot talk like us to tell how they are feeling. The signs of arthritis on dogs are behavioral and subtle. Watch out for these tell-tale dog arthritis symptoms.

  • Simply walk after exercise
  • Slow walk than usual or not being able to go for long walks
  • Difficulty in lying down or getting up
  • Difficulty jumping 
  • Difficulty using stairs
  • Stiffness
  • Increased irritability

These behavioral changes are easy to dismiss as aging signs and are often missed by pet owners. As a veterinarian cannot judge your dog’s behavior in the normal circumstances in day-to-day life, your at-home observations play a crucial role in their diagnosis.

To help you out, we have prepared a complete diagnosis and dog arthritis treatment guide.

Dog Arthritis Diagnosis

Your veterinarian can tell by observation which joints are affected by discomfort or pain. They may do some examinations, joint extension,, or flexion. For proper investigation,, they may also suggest some tests like x-rays to locate the arthritis change and identify other underlying conditions. 

In some cases, blood samples are also used to rule out any other medical condition which is associated with arthritis. 

Dog Arthritis Treatment

There is no proper dog arthritis medicine; however,, you can manage it if spotted early. Dog arthritis treatments involve slowing down the progression and improving the pet’s comfort.

The treatment for dog arthritis symptoms includes a three-tier plan.

Control your dog’s pain.

Controlling is the foundation of treating arthritis in dogs. When the dog’s joint hurts, he will avoid exercising, and if he does not exercise, it will become difficult to control increasing weight.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most common arthritis medicine for dogs. However,, if your dog cannot tolerate these drugs, ask your veterinarian to recommend other medicines.

You can also consult the veterinarian to tell you some holistic care approaches like laser therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, massage therapy, stem cell,, or aqua therapy. You can also give your dog supplements like glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids,, and chondroitin.

Control your dog’s weight.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight plays a big role in slowing the progression of arthritis in dogs. When a dog puts on excess weight, it will end up putting more pressure on joints which can cause inflammation.

You can ask your veterinarian to develop a plan which targets the weight. It will include what kind of foods to give, in how much quantity,, and at what time to feed the dog. 

There are some prescription diets designed for dogs to manage weight and also provide joint support.

Provide regular, low-impact exercise

Exercise is important to keep the joints healthy; however,, you need to modify your exercise plan if your dog is suffering from osteoarthritis. For instance, instead of letting your dog run free, keep dog on a leash and go for long walks. You can ask the vet for some tips on how to keep your dog safely moving. 

In certain cases,, arthritis in dogs can be treated with surgery. You can consult your veterinarian to find out the best plan for dog arthritis treatment.

Before starting any type of treatment like counter supplements or therapy, always consult with your veterinarian. 

Environmental Adaptations for Dogs with Arthritis

There are many different types of adjustments you can make at your home to give a comfortable environment that relieves his pain.

  • Get supportive and warm bedding. You can also get heating pads made for animals. Never use human heating pads as they can burn their skin.
  • Get a stair or ramp for the dog to access the couch on any furniture he enjoys.
  • Raised water bowls and food bowls, so he doesn’t have to bend much.
  • Maintain a non-skid surface using rugs or mats on slippery tile, hardwood, and vinyl flooring. This will prevent your dog from falling and easier for him to lay and get up.

There is no better expert than a pet owner on their dog’s behavior. If you notice something unusual, be it small, do not dismiss it.


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