Arthritis can occur in any joint in a dog, but it is most common in the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees. Factors contributing to a dog arthritis include aging, congenital joint disorders like hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, elbow dysplasia, old injuries, repeated trauma to joints, activity levels in working and athletic dogs placing increased stress on joints, obesity, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes and Cushing’s disease.
Arthritis can be difficult to detect in its early stages, and often the symptoms do not become apparent until the affected joint is badly damaged. Some dogs can also be very stoic and will hide their pain until it becomes severe. Thus, it is important to monitor middle-aged to senior dogs and those predisposed to arthritis for early signs of joint disease. So how to tell if your dog has arthritis?
What are the signs of arthritis in dogs?
Reluctance to Move
Yelping when Touched
Licking, Chewing, & Biting
Reluctance to MovePerhaps your dog, who used to rush into your car as soon as the door opened, now seems unmoved. You may notice that your dog has trouble going up and down stairs. Your once playful dog may no longer be interested in running and playing and may often feel exhausted. The likely culprit for these changes is arthritis, because pain in the joints makes dogs tired of moving and want to stay in one place.
Yelping when TouchedInflammation of the joint can make the affected area sensitive to touch. If you find that your dog refuses your loving touch or cries in pain, your dog may be suffering from arthritis.
IrritabilityIf your once gentle and cute puppy suddenly becomes angry easily, especially when someone tries to touch them, they may act aggressively or bite. This condition may be due to mood swings caused by joint pain.
Changing BehaviorIf your dog is suffering from arthritis pain, it's more likely to become withdrawn and want to be left alone. Your dog may spend more time in quiet areas or stop following you. Their schedules may change and you may find that they are no longer keen on walking or playing.
Licking, Chewing, & BitingIt is not uncommon for an arthritic pet to pay special attention to painful joints. You may notice them licking or chewing on or more spots often, even to the point of hair loss and inflamed skin in the area.
Limping/ LamenessDepending on the joints that are affected, you may see your pet limping or favoring one or more legs over the others. If the spine is affected, your pet may even experience lameness in one or both hind legs.
How to manage arthritis in dogs?
The first step in managing arthritis is to make an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough clinical examination. To accurately diagnose your dog's condition, general anesthesia and X-rays are often required to determine exactly what is happening to your dog's joints. A multi-objective plan can then be developed for the dog's own situation.
To help your dog be happy and enjoy life again, you can't go wrong by following these tips. Non-medical ways to reduce arthritis pain include:
Weight managementOverweight dogs put extra strain on their own joints, leading to greater joint damage and more severe arthritis. Helping your dog lose weight will help minimize further joint damage. Weight loss can significantly improve lameness and mobility in dogs with arthritis.
Exercise managementProper, scientific exercise helps keep a dog's stiff joints supple and mobile. Specific exercise requirements depend on the condition of each dog's joints, and 15 to 20 minutes of exercise are usually recommended twice a day, rather than one long 40-minute walk. An ideal exercise is swimming, which is a low-impact activity that improves muscle mass without squeezing joints too much.
Home comforts/ environment changesIn mild cases, some simple steps taken at home will help to reduce their level of pain and discomfort. Ensure that your pet has a warm, comfortable place to sleep that is away from drafts. Plenty of bedding will help protect any sore joints (a trampoline bed with extra padding is ideal). Provide a ramp in the garden, as an alternative to stairs and provide assistance when getting in and out of cars.
Physical therapy:Physical therapy specific activities designed to improve strength and mobility without placing additional strain on joints. It is also a useful aid to help dogs lose weight and assist in rehabilitation after joint surgery. Heat therapy has many potential benefits for dogs with arthritis. It is a great way to reduce pain, joint stiffness, and muscle spasms. It also improves blood flow. The increase in blood flow can help bring in oxygen and nutrition to the cells. Plus, it can remove toxins and waste products.
Whether or not your dog has diagnosed arthritis, there are many benefits to using heat therapy for joint maintenance.
Not only does the brace relieve muscle soreness and improve circulation with heat therapy, it can also provide stability and support for your beloved dog, helping to reduce pain and inflammation. Heating therapy brace is especially useful for disabled, elderly, arthritic or injured dogs, and dogs prone to hip dysplasia or joint problems.SHOP NOW >