Arthritis is usually associated with inflammation in the joints and has a variety of causes, ranging from metabolic or immune related diseases to trauma and infection however aging, over-using the joint and developmental abnormalities are believed to be the most common cause.
All the reasons mentioned above can cause degeneration to occur, this creates wear and tear as well as plan and inflammation. Some dog breeds are naturally predisposed to arthritis, this is especially true in: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.
Dogs that are on the heavier side or obese may be more likely to become arthritic than dogs that maintain a healthy weight. Here are some of the signs that your dog may be suffering from arthritis.
Have you noticed your pup is acting slightly unusual and they just don’t seem themselves? Do they seem depressed or down? Maybe he doesn’t have as much pep in his step or maybe you just sense something is off.
Similarly, to a child, you know your dog best so if you feel like something is off then you’re probably right and should consider seeing your vet. Other subtle signs of arthritis in dogs can include: fatigue, an increase in weight and longer naps that are outside their usual routine.
Changes in behaviour
Sometimes dogs that are suffering from arthritis could display changes in their ‘normal’ behaviour. Signs to look out for are: a loss in appetite, a lack of interest in normal activities and exercise intolerance.
Additionally, more obvious things to keep an eye on are: forgetting their house training, having accidents in the house or behaving irritable and ill-tempered when they are normally lovable and calm. In some dogs the pain of arthritis can leave them feeling upset and depressed.
To conclude, all behaviour a dog exhibits that falls outside of their normal habits can be an indicator that they are in pain and that something isn’t right.
Sometimes dogs that suffering and in pain as a result of arthritis may show intermittent lameness for example you may notice your four-legged friend prefers to weight bare on one leg more than the other. You might notice your dog limping (especially if one leg or joint is particularly painful and stiff). Your dog may also avoid climbing the stairs or jumping onto his favourite piece of furniture.
Sometimes a dog will exude an irregular stance for example by using their hind legs more carefully of tucking their pelvis under while walking. A dog with arthritis may also display a reluctance to stand up or move, and move in a bunny hopping manner when they do.
Additionally, dogs with arthritis may just seem like they’re moving at a slower pace and are quite stiff. However, once their body warms up and their joints become lubricated, they begin to move more normally. Sometimes after too much exercise a dog can appear stiff, this could also be attributed to obesity and added strain on the body. However, if your dog is an ideal weight and still appears to be walking like an old man, that’s a big clue he might be in pain.
Persistent agitation and the inability to get comfy
Dogs suffering with arthritis are known to pace or tremble and can become easily agitated. You might find your pup constantly changes positions when attempting to nap in order to find a comfortable position and relieve their pain.
Unfortunately, your dog’s efforts rarely offer relief and comfort so when they do find a tolerable position then don’t be surprised if they nap for a while as restful sleep is hard to come by!
Crying and whining when they move or are touched are clear signs your dog’s in pain. Your pup’s joints could feel tender, warm and swollen. If the arthritis is extremely bad, you may even see visible deformities within the joint.
Alternatively, some dogs just become extremely silent when suffering, this is likely due to barking and whining making their pain worse and requiring more energy than they have to give.
Please note that if a dog is suffering from arthritis in one joint, their overcompensation tends to trigger the arthritis elsewhere. However, several factors affect the speed of diabetes progression such as: age, weight, health, nutrition as well as breed and genetics.
As discussed, there are multiple signs that can indicate arthritis in a dog. It goes without saying if your pup has arthritis, as soon as you treat the disease, the healthier and more comfortable your dog will become. We advise you see your vet as soon as you can to assess your options.
*Please note that this article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any signs or symptoms.