Just like humans, our furry friends can suffer from arthritis, a condition results in the inflammation of the joints, causing pain and limiting mobility. Canine arthritis affects 1 in 5 dogs and it isn’t just a condition that affects older dogs, symptoms can start in pups as young as 6 to 9 months. While symptoms can start at a very young age, typically, if your dog is 7 years or older there is a very high chance he/she could be suffering from dog arthritis.
Depending on the breed of your dog, the chances of being diagnosed with arthritis increases. Larger dogs are more likely to be affected, as the weight of the dog puts more pressure on his or her joints. Arthritis is not just one basic diagnosis, there are many different forms and causes of arthritis in dogs.
Types of Canine Arthritis
Joint Instability and Joint Abnormalities
These types of joint instabilities are caused by Hip Dysplasia, CCL Rupture, Elbow Dysplasia. These diseases are generally congenital birth abnormalities and pets will normally show bunny hopping when running, unsteady gait, an increase in shoulder muscle tone, and/or loss of muscle tone in their hind quarters.
One of the most common forms of dog arthritis and is caused by prolonged degeneration of the joints and the connective tissues in the spine, this can leave a dog in debilitating pain which will lead to reduced mobility. Did you know that spinal arthritis is more common in dogs than in humans? Since the canine spine is horizontal, it puts more strain on the vertebrae. A back brace (like the vertabraVe) can help alleviate the pressure on your dog's spine.
This happens when the knee joint becomes out of place. The knee can pop in and out so it is common for your dog to be in pain and non-weight bearing and then perfectly fine moments later. It is important to keep an eye out for those moments of limping or reduced mobility so you can bring your pup to the vet!
Osteochondrosis is the abnormality of the cartilage on the end of the bone joint. This condition more commonly affects dogs that have rapid growth from puppy to adult such as Labs, Great Danes, and Rottweilers. This rapid growth strains the joints, which aren’t accustomed to the drastic weight change.
This form of arthritis is a degenerative joint disorder that causes the breakdown of the cartilage in the joints of your dog, which means as your dog jumps, runs, and plays the bones of their joints rub together and cause pain. This, unlike other forms of arthritis in dogs, is very rarely seen in puppies and is mainly a senior dog condition.
Trauma arthritis, much like in humans, happens after an injury where the ligaments or cartilage is weakened and leads to joint instability.
Signs and Symptoms of Canine Arthritis
What symptoms should you look for in your dog that would indicate arthritis? The #1 symptom of arthritis in dogs to look out for is stiffness and difficulty getting up. You should also be on the lookout for pain when you touch your pup, maybe they shy away from pets or yelp and flinch when you touch and pet them. Arthritis can cause pain when moving around so if your dog is starting to slow down and lag behind on walks or isn’t as eager to run and play as he used to be, you may want to bring him to the veterinarian.
How Do I Manage My Dog’s Arthritis?
While arthritis in dogs (and people for that matter) cannot be cured, there are many things you can do to help your furry friend live happily with the condition.
Excess weight causes stress on the joints so it is important to maintain a healthy weight for your dog, while it may seem counter intuitive the more your dog moves the better. If your dog is too stationary, their joints could freeze up and cause more pain when your dog tries to get up and move again.
There are veterinary rehabilitation therapists who mobilize the joints, massage the soft tissues, as well as stretching that will increase the range of motion.
Unfortunately, arthritis does cause pain so depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, your vet will likely prescribe an NSAID (pain killers). It is also helpful to look into joint supplements to promote joint health and slow the arthritic process as well as anti-inflammatories such as turmeric to add into your dogs diet.
Lifting Harnesses For Dogs
We never like to see our animals in pain so Walkin’ Pets has a variety of mobility assistive devices for you! We have a range of harnesses such as the Walkin’ Up-N-Go Leash to add support to your dog’s hind quarters on short walks or bathroom trips.
Canine Hip Support
The Walkin’ Hip-EEZ provides a feeling of lift to the leg by applying leg panels above the knee and secures to the pelvis to provide support to the hip joint. As dogs with arthritis do become stiff and lose some of their mobility they tend to flop to the floor when laying down, this repeated impact can cause sores to form on their elbows and hips, the Walkin’ Hip-EEZ Donuts provide cushion to the joints so the joints don’t hit the floor and open wounds don’t form.
Raised Dog Beds
Another super helpful tip would be to make sure your doggos bed isn’t too low to the ground, the joint stiffness arthritis causes will make it harder for your dog to get up from the floor so a raise bed like the SleePee Time Bed is raised so your dog doesn't have to struggle up off of the floor. It also has a mesh bottom so if your dog suffers from incontinence the bed is easy to clean!