How to Know if Your Dog Has Canine Arthritis

Canine arthritis is very similar to human arthritis. It is a degenerative joint disease that affects one or more joints.
How to Know if Your Dog Has Canine Arthritis

Last update: 27 April, 2019

When dogs reach old age, they suffer from many ailments similar to those that humans suffer from. One of these is canine arthritis. However, overweight animals can also have arthritis. In this article, you’ll find out what arthritis is, how it can affect your dog, and how to know if your dog has it.

What is canine arthritis?

A sad dog lying on the floor.

Canine arthritis is very similar to human arthritis. It is a degenerative joint disease that affects one or more joints. This causes joint inflammation or degeneration and produces stiffness, limping, and pain. In addition, it limits an animal’s movement.

It can affect any dog, no matter its age. However, it normally occurs in dogs with the following characteristics:

  • Older than 8 years. When a dog is over 8 years old, it is considered a senior dog. Aches and pains come with old age. Among them is arthritis. It’s normal for joints to wear down over time and suffer from degeneration and inflammation.
  • Large dog breeds. Throughout their lives, large dog breeds bear a lot of weight on their joints. This causes the joints to wear down and likely become arthritic.
  • Obese or overweight dogs. When a dog is overweight, his joints have to support more weight than normal, and they get overworked. This could be another cause of arthritis.
  • In addition to these cases, two dog breeds are especially prone to suffer from arthritis are Labradors and German Shepherds. In addition to that, dogs that have undergone joint surgery can develop it.

How to know if your dog has canine arthritis

Once you understand what arthritis is, and which dogs are more likely to develop it, you might wonder if your dog has it. That’s because it can affect any animal.

A sick dog lies on a bed.

These are the symptoms of canine arthritis:

  1. Limping. If something has changed about the way your dog walks, and he limps slightly, one of his joints may be in pain. Make sure that the limp hasn’t been caused by something puncturing his limbs, or by a blow. Once you’ve ruled out those causes, take your dog to the vet so a professional can tell you how much damage there is, and what treatment to follow.
  2. If your dog has stiffness in his limbs when he wakes up, then that’s a symptom of canine arthritis. Depending on the severity of the disease, the level of stiffness can be higher or lower.
  3. Chronic pain. If you see that your dog is in pain while walking, and that makes him adopt strange positions, then he undoubtedly has arthritis. To detect these symptoms, be observant and watch the animal’s behavior. Pain will limit his movements and cause him to exercise less.

Other cases of arthritis

  1. If you touch your dog firmly, being careful not to hurt him, and he complains when you touch certain joints, he probably has arthritis.
  2. Discouragement. Pain can make your pet feel unwanted, and he might look sad or even depressed. Like human bodies, a dog’s body defends itself from what hurts it. The animal associates walking with pain, so he’ll prefer not to move, unless it’s really necessary.
  3. Loss of appetite. This is a common symptom with any pain-causing illness. When we feel pain, we lose our appetites. The same thing happens to dogs.
  4. Take your pet to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms. Although it has no cure, canine arthritis can be treated to lessen the symptoms.
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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.