Canine Joint Pain and Osteoarthritis: Look For These Symptoms of Dog Arthritis
How do you know if your dog is suffering from arthritis? If your dog is experiencing joint pain, it could be caused by osteoarthritis, so it is important you learn to recognize the symptoms. Knowing what to look for can increase your chance of helping them before further joint degeneration takes place. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, and if left untreated, can lead to a total loss of function in the affected joint. Catching the signs early can dramatically slow down the progression of the disease. Large dogs are more likely to get arthritis, but small dogs can suffer from arthritis too. Certain breeds, such as Retrievers, Labradors, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Collies are more prone to developing arthritis.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that causes joint inflammation and pain. It affects the cartilage, joint fluid, and bones associated with the joint. The loss of cartilage in the joint can result in bone on bone contact. This bone rubbing sensation can be very painful for your dog! Joint pain is most likely to appear in your dog's hip, but can also appear in the back, neck, or any other joint on a dog's body. Larger dogs are more susceptible to arthritis because they are heavier, especially if they are overweight. This puts more pressure on their joints and skeletal system. Osteoarthritis can be caused by a dog's age and natural wear and tear, or by a genetic issue, such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.
Dogs can often have joint pain, or osteoarthritis, and not show any symptoms until later in their lives, usually after they are at least six years old. There are several signs and symptoms that your dog may be experiencing problems with joint pain, so recognizing them may help to reduce further damage to your dog's joints. Some common signs your dog may have arthritis:
- Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, or play
- Moving slower than usual on walks
- Difficulty getting up when laying down
- Noticeable pain when touched
- A change in personality
- Resisting touch
- Sudden weight gain
- Cracking or popcorn sounds coming from their joints
- Preferring to lay around instead of sitting or standing
Another sign that your dog has problems is excessive licking or biting around the area that is causing them pain. It may also be possible to notice a change in the dog's muscle tone, since they may be favoring certain limbs over others. If your dog becomes less active, and tends to keep to himself, this may also be a sign of joint pain.
Don't worry, there is help for your best friend! Controlling your dog's weight and giving him the proper amount of exercise can be the most effective ways to try and ease their pain and discomfort. If they are overweight they may need weight management strategies like getting more exercise, but make sure you do not over-exercise your dog, which could make their joint pain even worse. It is best for the dog to get several shorter walks per day rather than one long walk. It is also important to give your dog a comfortable place to rest. An old pillow or piece of foam to sleep on will be much easier on their joints and muscles. Massaging the affected joints can help to comfort them and relieve their pain. There are also natural products available to reduce the painful symptoms of Osteoarthritis and restore energy, while ensuring the comfort of your beloved pet. If you follow a treatment plan and implement health strategies for your dog, they should be on the path to a reduction in pain in no time!
Photo Credit: cogdogblog