How To Spot Arthritis in Your Dog

Just like people, dogs can get arthritis. Some breeds have a genetic predisposition that makes them more likely to suffer from arthritis, but any dog can develop the bone and joint disease. Larger dogs (Mastiffs) and pups with odd shapes (Dachshunds) are especially at risk.

Elderly pooches and dogs that have had intense physical lives (Greyhounds/hunters) are also at a high risk for arthritis. If your dog shows symptoms of arthritis, it might be time to take them to a vet. However, even if your pooch seems healthy, there are some preventative measures you can take to make sure your dog keeps their joints healthy.

Most Common Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
If your dog seems to be in pain during physical activities (from walks, to fetch) be sure to take a look at this list. The cause for your pooch's problems could be arthritis.

  • Weight Gain: When a dog is hurting physically, they will cut back on voluntary exercise resulting in weight gain. This can cause even more joint pain, too.
  • Favoring a Limb: If there is arthritis or calcium deposits in one of your pooches legs, they will favor its stronger side.
  • Grumpiness: If you notice your dog is more irritable and their tail isn't wagging as much as usual, there may be a problem. Pay attention to your pup's mood, as it could be a good indication for something serious.
  • Stares at Stairs: If your dog has stopped running around in the backyard and needs assistance getting up or down stairs, their joints could be causing them serious discomfort.

Preventing Arthritis

If you have a younger dog that you think may be at risk for arthritis in the future (long torso, short limbs or large frames) then you need to start taking action now.
The Top Five Most Common Breeds With Arthritis Are:
  1. Great Danes
  2. Rottweilers
  3. German Shepherds
  4. St. Bernards
  5. Golden Retriever

There are lots of things that pet owners can do to prevent arthritis, it just takes a bit of effort and discipline. If you focus on a healthy lifestyle for your pooch you can avoid having to care for their achy joints in the future. Also, an increase in exercise can help you keep away from arthritis, too!

  • Dropping Weight: A few extra table scraps, a fatty diet and too many treats can add a lot of problems to your furry friend's health. Added weight puts increased stress on your dog's joints and cartilage. Be sure it has enough exercise and a properly adjusted diet to insure their weight is normal.
  • Health Supplements: Sometimes a well-rounded diet isn't enough to prevent pain from arthritis. There are daily supplements are vitamins that are formulated to strengthen and improve dogs with hip and joint ailments.
  • Heated Dog Beds: If you can tell that your dog has pain in its joints or hips, a heated dog bed could be a temporary relief from their sore spots. Heated pet beds are a nice treat for dogs with chronic pain. The dog beds help expand blood vessels and increase circulation while they help relax tight muscles and restore flexibility.
  • Do Not Feed Them People Medicine: Just because some Ibuprofen or aspirin worked wonders for your mother's arthritis doesn't mean you should test it on your dog. Check with your vet before thinking of giving your pooch anything from your own medicine cabinet.

Whether or not your dog walks with a limp or is slowing down with old age, it is still vital to keep it healthy. All dogs need well-balanced diets and plenty of exercise, especially if their breed puts them at risk. If you have concerns about arthritis or would like to know more on how to prevent it, schedule a vet visit with your pet. Prevention of the ailment is best way to keep your dog happy in its golden years.

By Sean Bowes
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