Dog Health and Nutrition 

Arthritis in dogs – symptoms and treatment

Arthritis in dogs is an extremely common disease and the main cause of chronic pain in dogs. According to Canine Arthritis ManagementOsteoarthritis affects an estimated four in five older dogs and is, unfortunately, progressive – meaning that it cannot be cured and gradually worsens. However, there are numerous management options available to slow the progression of the disease and relieve the symptoms. Many dogs continue to live happy and otherwise healthy lives after diagnosis.

If you suspect that your older dog has arthritis, you are likely to be amazed at the symptoms and currently available treatment and treatment options for arthritis in dogs. To help you out, we’ve created this guide, which explains everything you need to know about arthritis in dogs.

What is arthritis in dogs?

There are several types of arthritis in dogs, but we usually refer to osteoarthritis (OA). In a healthy joint, the bone surfaces are covered with a thin layer of smooth cartilage with a small amount of synovial fluid to lubricate them. This allows them to glide smoothly over each other so that your dog can move freely.

In a joint affected by OA, there is degeneration of the cartilage and the underlying bone, which leads to joint instability and pain. The process is a cycle in which these structural changes cause further inflammation and degeneration. This can also lead to bone remodeling, in which new bone growth further impairs joint movement and weakens the soft tissue structures around the joint – the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Possible causes

Arthritis in the legs of dogs or other joints (e.g. the neck) is associated with aging and is most common in older pets. There are other risk factors that predispose a dog to develop arthritis. Any cause of abnormal joint weight can increase cartilage degeneration. These include joint abnormalities such as hip dysplasia, incorrect joint development due to under or overexertion as a puppy, or an injury to the joint such as ligament damage and fractures.

There are also certain breeds that can be genetically predisposed to arthritis, including Labradors, Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rottweiler, and Golden Retrievers. It is not worth that while these breeds are more predisposed to it, arthritis can affect any breed of dog in old age.

Symptoms of arthritis in dogs

Arthritis in dogs is associated with a number of symptoms, including:

  • Stiffness, which generally gets worse after training or after waking up
  • Lameness or limp
  • Lethargy and unwillingness to move
  • Restraint when jumping or climbing stairs
  • Gear changes, shorter steps
  • Muscle loss and tone
  • Lick or chew painful areas
  • Groan when lying or getting up
  • Difficulty with toilet positions, e.g. A man stretched his leg


If your dog has any of the symptoms listed above, take him to the vet for examination. Early diagnosis and high-quality arthritis management can help your pet feel more comfortable.


At a veterinarian appointment, the veterinarian asks a number of questions to understand what your pet’s signs are and how it affects their life. If your veterinarian suspects that your dog has arthritis, he will do a thorough health check. This includes an orthopedic exam where your dog’s joints need to be bent, stretched, and observed while walking. This provides an initial indication of whether your pet is experiencing pain in certain joints and helps to rule out or rule out other causes of joint disease. Your vet will likely suggest additional diagnoses, such as x-rays, to look for signs of joint disease.

Canine arthritis therapy

Treatment of dog arthritis

There is currently no cure for arthritis in dogs, but with lifelong treatment and proper veterinary care, you can help your dog feel good and happy. A veterinarian advises the most appropriate management plan for each individual. This usually includes an anti-inflammatory pain reliever and possibly joint supplements. The veterinarian also gives advice on a suitable training plan that includes shorter, more frequent than long or sporadic walks. You can also make your pet more comfortable by providing soft, padded bedding, laying carpets on slippery floors, and providing ramps to get in and out of.

In some cases, other options such as physiotherapy, massage, and hydrotherapy may prove beneficial. If you want to try them out, talk to your vet to make sure they’re suitable for your pet and to get a referral. In more severe cases, joint surgery or replacement may be suggested, but there may be significant rehabilitation times.


It is not always clear why certain people are more predisposed to arthritis than others. However, certain risk factors for the development of arthritis in the legs of dogs or worse progression of the disease can be reduced by taking suitable preventive measures.

  • Weight control: Keep your dog in good physical condition to avoid additional stress on the joints. Ask a veterinarian how to assess your pet’s physical condition using a pet owner table and how to implement a diet and exercise program to maintain the pet’s optimal weight.
  • Exercise Regularly: Keep your dog fit by exercising regularly. Sporadically long walks can predispose your pet to injury.
  • Feed them good quality dog ​​food: Talk to a veterinarian about your pet’s proper diet, especially if there is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis such as joint dysplasia.


This is our guide to canine arthritis. Remember that this is a progressive disease and lifelong management is critical to ensuring that your dog can live a happy and long life. Always seek veterinary help as soon as possible.

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