Arthritis is common in humans, but it is also common in dogs. In fact, one in five dogs will show arthritis symptoms in their lifetime.
Arthritis is defined as the inflammation of joints.
Joints usually have a layer of cartilage, which is a protective cushion needed for adjoining bones to move freely and smoothly. However, when dog arthritis occurs, this layer gradually diminishes. Joints and bones will consequently rub together, which causes pain.
Generally, arthritis affects older dogs more as joints deteriorate from aging. However, younger dogs can still be affected.
The most common form of arthritis is called osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative disease affecting numerous joints. It will, unfortunately, affect the quality of daily life, and dogs will experience pain.
What are the symptoms of early arthritis in dogs?
To be able to detect as soon as possible if your dog has arthritis, you should look out for these symptoms:
- Whimpering when lying down or getting up
- Licking or chewing joints that might be painful
- A decrease in activity level
- Difficulty rising
- Difficulty jumping or climbing stairs
- Irritability or aggressive when touched
- Swollen joints
- Muscle loss
Which dog breeds are prone to joint problems?
To keep you informed, below is the list of common dog breeds that are prone to knee or joint problems.
- German Shepherds
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- St. Bernard’s
- Great Danes
- Old English Sheep Dogs
Although the ones on the list are larger breeds, small dogs are affected as well.
Dachshunds, Corgis, and Basset Hounds also develop joint issues. Since they all have long bodies and short legs, intense physical activities can contribute to back muscle strain.
Patellar luxation, which happens when the kneecap moves out of its normal location, is also a common problem, especially in small dogs. Dogs with patellar luxation are also more prone to experience arthritis.
In addition, below is the list of small breeds that are predisposed to having patellar luxation.
- Miniature and Toy Poodles
- Jack Russell Terriers
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Boston Terriers
How do you relieve the pain of an arthritic dog?
Although there is no cure, here are some ways for you to treat your arthritic dog:
1. Dogs need to exercise too!
To know what your dog needs for nutrition and exercise, it is essential to consult your veterinarian. Overweight dogs should go on a diet to help relieve the pressure that the extra weight puts on your dog’s joints.
It is also important to note that although your dog is arthritic, it should still remain active and continue to strengthen its muscles. Exercises like walking and swimming are best because they strengthen both the joints and muscles. However, make sure not to overdo it.
2. Choose a comfortable bed for a good night’s sleep
A comfortable bed will help alleviate the sore joints of your dog. Avoid getting flat or elevated beds since they will just add to its pain and discomfort. Instead, go for an orthopedic bed or a bed with plenty of padding.
3. Add support to your floors
Another way to support your dog is by placing foam mats and rubber runners on your floors to add an extra layer of support. This will help your dog walk around your home more safely and properly.
4. “Step up” for your dog and get it some dog steps
Since your arthritic dog will have difficulty jumping up to elevated surfaces like cars, couches, or next to you on your bed, dog steps or ramps might be a practical option.
Take care of your fur baby by purchasing one of our stylish dog steps. Although arthritis will cause your dog pain, there are solutions to help support your fur baby.
Do you have any questions or experiences you want to share about arthritic dogs? Feel free to comment below.