Recognizing Dog Arthritis Symptoms Early
Is your pup irritable, gaining weight and avoiding your touch? These may all be signs of arthritis in dogs. So, what are the most common dog arthritis symptoms? Let’s take a look.
Is you furry friend getting older? No longer jumping around and even struggles to walk around the house? You might want to look into the signs of arthritis in dogs.
Could your dog have arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t that uncommon among older dogs. Larger breeds may tend to struggle more because of sheer size, but smaller pups certainly aren’t immune. Likewise, the affliction isn’t necessarily exclusive to elderly animals.
“Typical age of onset often depends upon genetics,” notes Dr. Lisa McIntyre, owner and founder of The Welcome Waggin’ mobile veterinary service.. “Large breeds are more prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. Small breeds are susceptible to patellar luxation and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD). That first group can actually start showing symptoms at one or two years of age, if they’re afflicted. Though sometimes, we don’t see clinical signs until age seven or older, when joint deterioration and arthritis have begun.”
Regardless of pet life stage, familiarity with common signs of arthritis in dogs can result in faster intervention. That, in turn, can lead to improved quality of life — for everyone involved.
Here are a few signs of arthritis in dogs:
1. Activity Aversion
Some pet owners might attribute this to simple old age, but it may be one of the signs of arthritis in dogs. According to Dr. McIntyre, general reluctance to walk, exercise, rise and/or recline can be a key symptom of arthritis in dogs. Toys may sit untouched for weeks on end. Stairs may be avoided. Getting up for bathroom breaks might require a nudge, or even a physical hoist.
Most puppies and younger dogs tend to be pretty happy-go-lucky. But if arthritis starts affecting joints, your trusty companion could get a little testy. Dogs can’t technically “speak up” to tell us they’re in pain, but they can offer plenty of hints. So, dogs with arthritis may groan, grumble, growl — even nip or bite when you try to pet them. They’re communicating physical distress; not a lack of affection for you.
3. Weight Gain/Flabbiness
This was actually the very first arthritis symptom we noticed in my own dog. She’s always struggled with a mild degree of hip dysplasia, and over time she began nibbling and licking at her hip and rear knee area. Our vet pointed out that she’d even begun losing fur directly over the joints. “Some arthritic dogs find this licking self-soothing,” explains Dr. McIntyre, “and the pain draws their attention to the joint in question.” This repetitive behavior might even create skin sores or hot spots.
5. Posture/Mobility Changes
As humans, we often tend to favor our own sore knees and ankles. So, it’s probably no surprise that visible lameness is among the signs of arthritis in dogs. Canines with back or neck arthritis may even try to hunch over, hold their head at odd angles, or sit while eating and drinking.
6. Touch Avoidance
Our pups may not understand the source of their pain, but they’ll do anything to avoid it — even pulling away from direct contact with the humans they adore most.
Noticing dog arthritis symptoms? What to do next?
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