However, this doesn't mean they can't live a long and happy life! Thanks, in part, to advances in modern veterinary medicine, arthritic dogs can lead a pain-free life, full of romps in the park, mountain hikes, and tons of cuddles.
Signs of Arthritis in Dogs
If you notice your dog is limping, having trouble getting up in the morning, is reluctant to move, has developed spinal issues, tires more easily, is irritable, has developed muscle atrophy, or is licking at a painful joint, he may have arthritis.
Different dogs will display varying behaviors, so it's important to always keep a watchful eye on your furry friend and make a mental note when they start to act different than normal.
- Difficulty getting up and moving
- Unwillingness to go up and down stairs or jump into the car
- Unusual behaviors, such as irritability or aggression
- Licking the painful joint
History of Arthritis in Dogs
Just like humans, dogs can gradually develop arthritis over time, as their joints can no longer withstand the regular wear and tear of everyday life. There are also numerous hereditary conditions and abnormalities that may contribute to a dog's likelihood of developing arthritis. Today, there are more than 100 types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common form seen in both humans and dogs.
Science Behind Dogs Developing Arthritis
When the cartilage becomes damaged or wears down, it can lead to joint pain, inflammation, and damage. Without the aid of cartilage, your dog's bones start to have issues and are susceptible to damage. In many cases, a dog's back legs are the first to go, which makes sense, because they use their back legs to jump - whether into a car, onto the furniture, or to catch that beloved frisbee.
Dogs who are highly-active are more at risk of developing arthritis, which seems a little unfair, doesn't it? Unfortunately, arthritis is a chronic condition that can be made worse by dogs that are overweight, as their joints have to support all of those extra pounds. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are a handful of things you can do to ease their discomfort and help them live a pain-free, happy life.
Training Your Dog to Live with Arthritis
Move their bed to a more accessible spot, prevent them from jumping on and off furniture, use a ramp to help get bigger dogs into the car and lift smaller dogs in and out. Furthermore, ask your vet about starting them on a high quality joint supplement as well as Omega 3 and 9, which are great anti-inflammatory options.
How to React if Your Dog is Diagnosed with Arthritis
Contact your vet and ask about supplements
Make changes in your home to help support them
Change their diet (make sure you consult your vet first)
Look into canine massage
Safety Tips for Arthritic Dogs
Don't let them jump up on furniture
Help them get into the car and onto furniture
Start them on a joint supplement
Stop them from jumping into the car and off of furniture and beds