Symptoms Of Arthritis In Your Dog

While arthritis is a condition many people are all too familiar with, dogs can suffer from it too. In fact, arthritis occurs in 20 percent of middle aged canines and in nearly 90 percent of older dogs. Distinguishing between typical symptoms of aging and arthritis can be difficult, but it’s very important in taking good care of your four-legged friend.

dog by Eddie~S, on Flickr
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A Persistent Limp

A dog who limps when he first wakes up is no different from his human counterparts: He may be dealing with arthritis. Favoring any leg or hip for more than a few days is often a sign of trouble, as arthritis in dogs begins as a slight ache, eventually developing into more severe pain. Make a note of your dog’s walking habits and if something seems off, tell your vet.

Difficulty Getting Around

Most dogs jump at the sound of a knock at the door or rush over to see you when you get home, but animals dealing with joint issues suddenly lose their oomph. When you notice less enthusiasm from your canine, don’t take it personally. He may be in pain.

Unusual Posture

Recall the last time you were plagued by an injury. You probably favored the tenderness by sitting in an awkward position, and your dog will do the same when he’s hurting. This may be difficult to spot, but look closer and you’ll observe him leaning toward one side or the other. Maybe it looks like he’s sitting directly on the hip in an unnatural way. Since arthritis attacks the spine, an animal can appear to have a hunched back too or a stiff spine.

Excessive Tiredness

We all have days when we’d prefer to crawl back under the covers, but if the dog in your home is tired a lot of the time, that’s a good indication that something is wrong. Not only will he spend more of his time snoozing, he will also quit activities early that he would normally love to do all day long. Try taking your dog for a lengthy walk, and if he parks his hind quarters along the way or just gives you a look that says he’s had enough, consider having him evaluated.

Uncharacteristic Irritability

No matter how affectionate, gentle and worthy of trust your dog may be, he may seem irritable and even agitated if dealing with arthritis in one or more joints. Not only might he be having sharp pains, but it’s stressful for him to feel that way because he’s just not accustom to it. Living with pain makes most of us grumpy and your dog is no different. Pay attention to what he’s really trying to tell you, rather than making any assumptions about his attitude.

Predominant Risk Factors For Arthritis In Dogs

While genetics is a key factor, that can often be difficult to ascertain in pets, because we find them (or they find us) in all kinds of ways. Being overweight can increase risk, as can prolonged stress to the joints. Hip dysplasia very frequently precedes arthritis, and certain diseases may indicate your beloved animal will develop the condition. If he’s been exposed to Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, be sure and tell the vet. Infections caused by ticks usually linger in the body and disrupt the immune system at some point in the future. While arthritis in dogs doesn’t always have a precursor, it may help to know your dog’s history as well as you can.

It’s important to be able to identify symptoms in your dog, because that’s how he will get the best care. Arthritis can be very painful to endure, and the sooner you know, the sooner you can help your pet to feel better.

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