Arthritis in dogs is surprisingly common, with as many as one in five dogs reportedly suffering from the condition - and it can feel even more uncomfortable as the colder weather sets in. And although arthritis is usually associated with middle-aged and older dogs, it can affect younger dogs too. Arthritis can be painful and debilitating for your dog and if left untreated it can significantly affect your pet's quality of life. So how can you tell if your dog is suffering with arthritis and what can you do about it?

How Can I Tell if My Dog Has Arthritis?

As a pet owner you will often be best placed to notice subtle changes in your dog but the symptoms of arthritis and stiff joints can sometimes be difficult to spot – here are some of the most common signs to look out for.

  • Difficulty Getting Up From Rest

You may find that your dog seems stiffer when getting up from rest and that any difficulty moving around seems to ease once they have warmed up.

  • Limping or Lameness

Your dog might develop a limp or start favouring one leg over the other.

  • Fatigue

Your usually active dog might seem to be more tired, preferring to rest or taking shorter walks than usual.

  • Licking or Chewing of Joints

You may notice your pet licking the affected joints to try and relieve the pain. Sometimes this can result in inflamed skin and hair loss in those areas.

  • Reluctance to Move As Much

Perhaps your dog isn’t so keen on jumping into the car these days or doesn't want to go on long walks like it used to. These changes in behaviour could signal pain and discomfort due to arthritis.

  • Wincing / Heat Around the Joints

If your dog is wincing or yelping when you touch a specific area this should ring alarm bells and should be investigated. Heat around a specific area is also an indication of potential issues.

  • Irritability

A dog with arthritis may become more snappy when handled, particularly if it affects the affected areas.

  • Muscle Atrophy

Pets suffering with arthritis may also develop muscle atrophy due to lower levels of activity and decreased muscle use. Look out for thinner muscles and signs of weight loss.

What Causes Arthritis in Dogs?

Arthritis tends to affect older animals but it can also develop from an early age. It can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, poor nutrition, age, obesity, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, infection in the joint or congenital joint disorders like elbow dysplasia.

f you suspect arthritis, you should always consult your vet who will carry out a physical examination of your pet and will look for the following symptoms:

  • Grinding or creaking in the joints
  • Pain or swelling around the joint
  • Muscle wastage
  • Limited movement
  • Malformation of the bones

What Can I do to Help my Dog with Arthritis?

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June 23, 2020