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How Do I Know My Dog Has Arthritis

Five Signs Your Dog May Have Arthritis

How to tell if your dog has arthritis

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The ABCs of Arthritis Symptoms

A Aint doing right: Some times in your dogs medical records you may see the notation ADR. That stands for aint doing right, and its veterinarian shorthand for a pet who just isnt acting like himself. Yes, its vague, but its based on sound observation by the pets owner. Some people would barely notice a gaping wound on their own leg if it werent pointed out to them but will detect very small changes in their pets health and behavior. They may not know what to make of those changes, but they know they need to get to the veterinarian because something is clearly wrong. That observation that a pet aint doing right is a good place to start when youre talking about arthritis.

C Cant get comfortable: Think about all the strange positions you get into when youre in an airline seat, just trying to get comfortable. Of course, no amount of writhing around does the job. Similarly, a dog struggling to relieve his arthritis pain may contort himself into some 747-worthy positions, none of which will help. When your dog starts trying out these new positions, its another sign that hes trying to compensate for some discomfort. After all, dogs dont just try something new for the heck of it. Theres a reason for change, and its often pain.

Thanks to Vet Street for this great information!

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Dog Arthritis

Arthritis is a gradual and irreversible condition, and it can be difficult to detect in the early stages. Most often the signs and symptoms of dog arthritis are not obvious until the joint has undergone degenerative damage. As a result, it is important to keep an eye on senior and larger breed dogs for early signs of joint disease. The signs of arthritis in dogs can include:

  • Lameness, limping, generalized stiffness, or difficulty getting up from a resting position
  • Lethargy or reluctance to participate in activities such as walks or playing
  • Reluctance to run, jump, or play
  • A gradual loss of muscle mass around the limbs and on the spine
  • Changes in mood or behavior, irritability
  • Licking of the affected joints
  • Obesity or weight gain

Treatment Options For Each Stage Of Arthritis

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis in dogs.

While this degenerative condition cannot be cured completely, it can be managed in most canine friends.

The most effective way to offer your dog comfort is by addressing the issue early on, and working to prevent joint damage and inflammation over time.

Though every dog will require an individualized approach to their pain, there are a few standard treatment options available.

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Rehab Or Physical Therapy

Canine rehabilitation and physical therapy specialists work with dogs that are arthritic or out of condition to improve limb function, rebuild muscle and assist in weight management. Specific exercises for arthritic pets, such as little jumps known as cavalettis, may be tailored to enhance limb movement while providing comfort. Helping an arthritic dogs ability to move around better will allow it to exercise more and improve its muscle tone while assisting in weight loss.

Diet And Supplements To Treat Arthritis In Dogs

Arthritis Checklist [Free Downloadable]

Your dogs diet is always of the utmost importance and even more so if your dog has arthritis. Dr. Klein says, weight management is prime, for arthritic dogs. Excessive weight causes extra strain on your dogs body and joints. Although exercise may be difficult, especially if the arthritis is severe, you can work with your veterinarian to find appropriate activities. Additionally, you can pay close attention to his diet.

Make sure you have the right food for your dog and that it meets his nutritional needs. Prescription foods sold by veterinarians might be particularly useful in helping your dogs arthritis. These foods often contain natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, or Omega fatty acids.

Furthermore, you might want to consider a food containing glucosamine or giving glucosamine or chondroitin as supplements. These sulfates are the building blocks of healthy cartilage and appear to stimulate the body to make more cartilage. Dr. Klein says that studies on glucosamine and chondroitin are conflicting. However, some demonstrate a beneficial effect on arthritis pain.

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Can Arthritis Be Prevented

Age-related arthritis cant be prevented, but you can certainly do a number of things to help reduce the risk and delay the onset and severity of symptoms. As detailed above, this includes controlling weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The risk of hip dysplasia, which can cause arthritis and is particularly prevalent in certain breeds, can be reduced by good breeding practices including the hip scoring of potential parents.

How To Help A Dog With Arthritis At Home

Arthritis is a chronic condition that impacts humans and dogs alike. Fortunately, there are ways to help manage your dogs arthritis symptoms from the comfort of your own home.

Canine arthritis is inflammation of the joints characterized by pain and stiffness caused by bones and joints rubbing together due to damage or loss of cartilage.

Arthritis is one of the most common canine health conditions. All dogs, especially older dogs, are susceptible to arthritis. Additionally, obese dogs and large dog breeds like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Goldendoodles, and Great Danes may be diagnosed with arthritis more frequently and at younger ages due to the greater weight and pressure on joints.

If the cartilage between the joints continues to deteriorate as a dog ages, arthritis may progress into Degenerative Joint Disease, which is the canine version of osteoarthritis. That is why its critical to pay attention to the early signs of arthritis, so you can begin your at-home arthritis treatment before the condition progresses further.

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What To Expect At The Vet: Diagnosing Arthritis In Dogs

First and foremost will be taking a historya valuable part of every medical appointment, but especially critical when the patient cant speak for himself. Your veterinarian will ask you a litany of questions such as:

  • How long has the problem been going on?
  • What symptoms have you observed in your dog?
  • Have you tried any treatments? If so, what was the outcome?
  • When are your dogs symptoms at their best? Worst?
  • Has your dog experienced any injuriescurrent or past?

Next, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination . This will include a nose-to-tail hands-on evaluation. Typically, this will include taking your dogs weight and vital signs. The veterinarian will check your dogs eyes, ears, mouth, lymph nodes, listen to the heart and lungs, palpate the abdomen, and observe your dog walk.

They will then focus specifically on your dogs limbs and joints. Although any joint in the body can become arthritic, the most common location for arthritis in dogs is in the hips and hind legs.

Healthy Joints Happy Pets

Six Signs your dog has Arthritis and How to Help Him

Helping older or arthritic pets keep their joints healthy and their bodies in good condition can let them enjoy walks and playtime throughout the duration of their lives. Even pets with advanced arthritis can maintain a good quality of life and stay active with the help of a veterinarian and good treatment plan.

Sadly, we lost Otis a few years ago at the age of 11. But for the three years following his surgery, we were able to manage his arthritis and maintain his comfort with a combination of weight management, exercise, NSAIDs, essential fatty acids and joint supplements. He was able to get back to the activities he loved and play with our other three dogs. It warmed our hearts to see his quality of life return to a happy, healthy one for his remaining years.

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The Role Of The Canine Joint

The canine joints play a critical role in normal movement.

Joints are the junction that connects two different bones in a dogs limb, allowing their limbs to move freely with each step.

Not only do joints help their limbs move with ease, but they also play a major role in the preservation of bones.

In a healthy dog joint, the joint is surrounded by fibrous tissue. The joints are also covered in cartilage that wraps around the end of the bone, offering added protection to this critical junction.

These structures not only support the joints with each movement, but they allow for proper shock absorption.

When a dog develops canine arthritis, they begin to feel the impact of a failing system.

Treating Arthritis In Dogs

As your veterinarian will explain, there are a variety of different options to treat arthritis in dogs. Your plan may include a combination of management solutions and ultimately will depend on your dog and his specific situation. That being said, these are some of the most common ways to manage arthritis pain in dogs.

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Common Signs Of Arthritis In Dogs

Osteoarthritis is a common ailment found in older dogs, as well as some larger breeds that are genetically prone to it. Similarly to humans, arthritis in dogs causes changes in the affected joints that can be incredibly painful for your pet.

Arthritis can occur in any joint, but is most commonly found in the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees. It can be caused by ongoing wear and tear, but can also be caused by an injury to the area, genetics, and disease.

If you notice any of the following 7 signs and suspect that your dog may suffer from arthritis, make an appointment with your vet to create a care plan.

They Are Soiling The House


If your dog is having mobility issues as a result of chronic joint pain, it can be difficult for them to reach the toilet. House soiling can occur and is something to look out for in conjunction with other signs.

If you think they might be suffering from arthritis, get them checked out at the vet for a proper diagnosis.

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Next Steps After Diagnosis

Once you have a diagnosis, you can move forward with a treatment plan recommended by your vet. It may involve lifestyle changes, changes to your home environment such as switching to anorthopedic dog bed, and arthritis medications. Although arthritis is a chronic condition, it doesnt mean your dog has to live in pain for the rest of their life. You can help them stay healthy and regain mobility to improve their quality of life so you can look forward to many more happy years together.

What Causes Arthritis In Pets

Arthritis develops in pets because of age-related changes in the joint similar to that which occurs in people. Pets that are very active may be prone to mild injuries that can later develop into arthritic joints as they get older.

Other pets may be born with a hereditary problem that develops into arthritis as they age. Some breeds, including German shepherds, golden retrievers and Rottweilers, may be more prone to developing arthritis as a result of a condition like hip dysplasia, which causes loose hip joints.

When arthritis is suspected, a veterinarian can confirm it, often through X-rays of the affected joint. Once the condition is diagnosed, a veterinarian will then come up with a treatment plan for each patient.

Veterinarians generally prefer nonsurgical treatment. Although surgical options exist, including joint replacement, most dogs can be successfully managed through a combination of approaches including weight management, exercise, joint supplements, prescription anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs and physical therapy.

Heres how each of these works to help arthritic dogs stay healthy and active.

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How Long Can A Dog Live With Arthritis

If your dog has recently been diagnosed with this degenerative joint condition, you may wonder, can a dog die from arthritis?

Arthritis in dogs is not life threatening in a direct way like many other medical conditions, but it can deeply impact a dogs quality of life.

Arthritis attacks a dogs overall comfort and mobility, often causing owners to make a tough decision when their dog becomes too uncomfortable.

While arthritis is not a direct cause of death in dogs, the long term effects certainly play a role in quality of life discussions.

Dogs can have a normal lifespan with arthritis, as long as the condition is managed properly.

Proper management of arthritis in dogs can offer senior dogs longevity in their condition, and prevent as much discomfort as possible.

Arthritis in dogs is not a death sentence by any means, as there are a list of tools that can improve their quality of life as the years go on.

Weight Management & Nutrition

How Can You Tell if Your Dog has Arthritis: top 10 symptoms

One of the most important aspects of managing arthritis is making sure your pup maintains a healthy weight.

Excess weight will only further complicate their condition, and lead to more joint deterioration as time passes.

Your vet will likely discuss the best ways to keep your pup slim and trim, and may even suggest prescription diets that are created for optimal joint health.

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How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Arthritis

Arthritis in Dogs The Three Warning Signs

  • Lameness and stiffness.
  • Crepitus or grating in the joint.
    • Bunny Hopping. . This means that the dog presses its back legs together when
    • Licking a painful joint. . Obsessive licking is an animals attempt to soothe nerve
    • Difficulty getting up. . When your dog struggles to its feet, and has trouble lifting


    • 7 Common Signs Of Arthritis In Dogs
    • Joint Stiffness. Dogs with arthritis will typically develop joint stiffness at some point.
    • Changes In Gait. Limping is oftentimes one of the main symptoms listed for canine
    • Challenges With Activity. Arthritis can make normal activities extremely challenging for a…

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    Reluctance To Exercise Or Jump Up

    Due to the pain associated with arthritis, your dog may be less willing to do the things that they used to enjoy like going for a walk or jumping up to catch a call. However, it is also important to note that just because your dog may still willingly do these activities, it does not rule out them potentially having arthritis pain if they still have other signs

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    What Do You Give A Dog For Arthritis Pain

    If you suspect that your pooch is suffering from arthritis, then your first step of action should be to book an appointment with the veterinarian, who will probably prescribe a special type of anti-inflammatory medicine.

    The most important thing to remember is that dogs cannot be treated in the same way as humans can with arthritic pain so dont reach into your medicine cabinet to treat them.

    There are a series of over-the-counter remedies to help ease the pain for your four-legged friend.

    Equally, there is a whole range of homoeopathic remedies and practical solutions that can also work wonders, upon your vets recommendation.

    The best non-medical options for your dog include:

    Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis In Dogs


    Arthritis is a progressive disease and symptoms develop and worsen over time. You may notice your dog slowing down and taking it easier when out and about on walks. They may also become reluctant to play or go up and down stairs, and they might struggle to get up after long periods of rest.

    The condition becomes worse in cold weather, so if they appear stiff or slow or yelp out in pain during the winter months, this could be a sign of arthritis.

    Other symptoms of arthritis in dogs include:

    • limping or lameness
    • licking or chewing at joints.

    If you think your dog may be showing signs of arthritis, speak to your vet for a complete health check and advice. They may recommend further x-rays or other scans to diagnose the condition.

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    How Is Arthritis In Dogs Diagnosed

    There is no specific test that tells us that your dog has arthritis. Often the diagnosis is made following a detailed discussion and physical examination by your veterinary surgeon, who can tell if there is any pain or stiffness in your dogs joint.

    In some cases, the veterinary may recommend further tests such as a blood sample or x-rays to check for other conditions that may be causing joint problems.

    X-rays can show whether the arthritis is advanced, but the early stages dont show up on an x-ray, however even if it cant be seen it should still be treated, helping to reduce the damage in the long term.

    If there is something else wrong with your dog, this will need to be treated as well as the arthritic change in the joint for the best prognosis.

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