Dogs of all breeds and ages can get arthritis. This is a more common condition in older dogs, but some young animals can experience early-onset arthritis as well. This is a degenerative condition that impacts your dog’s ability to enjoy life and get around. Some dogs can be in daily pain related to their arthritis.
Being able to recognize the warning signs of dog arthritis can be key to providing your pet with the support that they need. There are various treatments that can be used to help manage your dog’s pain related to arthritis. These treatment plans can greatly improve your pet’s ability to get around and can also help manage their daily pain.
Signs of Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis often develops slowly over time. You might not realize at first that your pet is showing signs of arthritis. However, as the condition becomes more advanced, the symptoms often become far more pronounced. Some pets are very stoical as well, which can make it harder for pet owners to be sure that arthritis is the reason for their pet’s discomfort.
Less Willing to Move and Play
Dogs with arthritis are often less willing to play or to go on walks or get up and down. Your dog might seem to be slower to get up, even for things that are exciting, such as mealtimes. Pets with arthritis might whine or whimper when they are engaged in activities, or they might cry out when getting up or down. Some dog owners notice that their pet has arthritis when the stairs become a challenge or when their dog cannot jump into the back of the car any longer.
Defensive of Painful Areas
Some pets will have swollen joints, and others might become defensive of the parts of their body that are impacted by arthritis. Snapping and growling at people around them can be common in animals with more advanced arthritis due to the pain associated with the condition. Sudden grouchy behavior is very common in pets that have begun to suffer from arthritis.
Physical Conditions Could Increase Arthritis
Dogs who are obese or who have hip or elbow dysplasia are more at risk for developing arthritis. Pets with injuries or other kinds of damage to the joints are also more likely to get arthritis. Every pet owner should be prepared to treat arthritis in their dog as it ages. Even dogs without these complications are likely to end up with arthritis eventually, and nearly every older dog can benefit from treatment for this common condition.
Certain Dog Breeds Could Develop Arthritis
Certain dog breeds are also more likely to get arthritis, and all large dog breeds are much more at risk than small dog breeds. Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are two of the breeds that are most likely to suffer from arthritis at a young age. You might want to talk with your veterinarian to find out if your dog is going to be more likely to develop arthritis at a young age. Sometimes vets will recommend placing pets of these breeds on early preventative treatments to try and keep arthritis at bay.
How to Help Dogs with Arthritis Pain
You might be wondering how you can help your dog to feel better if you think that they have arthritis.
Talk with Your Veterinarian
The first step is always a trip to the veterinarian to make sure that your dog does have arthritis. Once you have gotten a confirmed diagnosis, your vet will probably offer a variety of different ways to improve your pet’s comfort and ability to get around.
Most dogs can be given daily pain medication that will help with the pain associated with arthritis. Some owners might also be able to give their pet injectable medications that improve the health of the joints and the joint fluid.
Physical therapy and swim tank therapy can also be very beneficial for pets that have arthritis that is limiting their ability to get around.
Maintain a Healthy Weight and Exercise
Always be sure that you take the time to manage your pet’s weight and try to be sure that your dog is not obese. Gentle exercise and daily movement are recommended to help keep joints lubricated and to help your pet to be more comfortable despite their joint pain. You will often need to reduce the intensity of the activities that your pet is engaged in, but some activity every day is always better than none.
Your vet can also recommend braces and splints or other kinds of orthotic devices that might be very helpful in advanced cases where joint deformity is leading to problems with ambulating. While most cases of arthritis do not require all these interventions to see improvement, some dogs will need to have all of these forms of care to ensure that they will be happy and healthy again.
Dog Arthritis Can be Easy to Spot
Dog arthritis is often easy to recognize if you know what to look for. No matter what size dog you own or what breed your dog is, they can suffer from arthritis. Making sure that you are looking for the signs and symptoms of this common health condition can help ensure that your dog gets treatment early. There are various treatment protocols that can help manage the pain and stiffness related to arthritis. Your dog will thank you for taking the time to place them on a joint care protocol that allows them to continue to enjoy life despite arthritic changes to their joints.
Make sure that you speak with your vet if you are not sure about the various options that are open to your pet for the treatment of arthritis. Early management of arthritis can make a big impact on your dog’s comfort and overall well-being. Arthritis is progressive, but that does not mean that you cannot help your pet manage their discomfort so they can enjoy life again. Making it easy for your pet to play, go on walks and go to the dog park is possible with the right arthritis management plan.
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.