Signs your dog may have arthritis

We can all get a bit achy as we get older – and the same goes for your dog. But how do you know when it’s something more serious, such as canine arthritis. Obviously, they can’t tell you how they are feeling, so here are some signs to look out for.

February 10, 2022

Like humans, dogs are susceptible to arthritis. It can affect 4 out of 5 older dogs, and even younger, active dogs, depending on their breed and general health.  

The most common areas affected by arthritis in dogs are the elbows, hips, knees, lower back, and wrists.

Reluctance to walk or play

If you notice that your dog is less interested in doing their favourite things such as running around or being overly excited when it’s time for walkies, then they could be experiencing some arthritic pain. Reduced physical activity can also cause muscle loss. Larger dogs are more prone to this from arthritis, but it can still happen in smaller dogs.

Limping/lameness (harder to spot if it’s in both legs)

If your dog is favouring one side of their body to walk around, it might indicate that one or more joints are arthritic. Eventually, limping will become more apparent as their joints become stiffer. You may also notice that they have some stiffness in their legs, especially after sleeping).  

Difficulty getting up

If they’re not as energetic when getting up after lying down, this could be a sign of muscular stiffness from arthritis.

Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping up or down

If they seem to be finding it harder to climb stairs or jumping onto their favourite chair, this could be a sign of restricted joint mobility.

Personality change

We can all get a bit grumpy when we’re in pain, and it’s quite normal that dog suffering from arthritic pain will be more distressed. This can cause irritability and even aggression.

You may also notice that they start to lag behind on their walks, are licking or chewing at their joints or yelping in pain when touched.  

There are various treatments available to if you suspect your dog may be struggling with arthritis, so see your vet to get a proper diagnosis and the right treatment.  

Source: rspca.org.au
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