Dog arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects one out of five dogs and in most cases, occurs most
frequently in older dogs. However arthritis isn't confined to older dogs and can also strike your furry canine
regardless of age, health or breed.
The most common form of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis and is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of
the joint, or age.
Types of Dog Arthritis
Arthritis takes many forms in our canine friends, including:
Osteoarthritis that is a progressive degenerative joint disease where the cartilage breaks
down causing the bones to rub against each other and the result is dog joint pain and stiffness.
Hip Dysplasia is a genetic degenerative disease cause by a malformation of the hip
sockets. Chronic inflammation of the joints occurs and the tissues surrounding the area begin to deteriorate and
Elbow Dysplasia is also a degenerative hereditary disease where the bones do not form well
and causes the bones to chip. It is considered to be hereditary and is seen as a common cause of front-leg lameness
in larger breeds of dogs.
Knee Dysplasia is a malformation of the leg bones that causes the loosening of bone at the
kneecap which is painful, and causes lameness and limping in your dog.
Hypertrophic Dog Arthritis is excessive bone growth or spurs in the joints.
Osteochondrosis results from poor breeding practices caused by a poor diet that leads to
Degeneration of the Shoulders whereby unstable joint or trauma cause the breakdown of
cartilage in the shoulder, leading to inflammation and pain on movement, and consequently, chronic canine arthritis
that affects other parts of the body as well.
What Causes Arthritis in Dogs
Dog arthritis is common in older dogs that are overweight and inactive because their joint health has
deteriorated over the years from wear and tear.
Younger dogs are not immune from dog arthritis either. Some are born with degenerative diseases such as
osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, or simply have an accident that can cause arthritis and inflammation of the
joints for the rest of its life.
Degenrative arthritis is a painful condition and can make your dog's life miserable, therefore the sooner you
detect the signs of dog arthritis, the faster you can adopt measures to slow its progression and help save your dog
from further pain. Here is a rundown on some of the signs and symptoms that your dog may have athritis:
Stiffness, lameness, or limping after rest
Loss of appetite or unusual weight gain
Inactivity and sleeping a lot more
Relutance to walk, run or climb stairs
Unusual urinating in the house
Irritability and behavioural changes
Depressed or withdrawn
If your dog has any symptoms of canine arthritis, take it to a vet for a full diagnosis. Typical dog arthritis
evaluation will involve some physical examinations, blood tests and X-rays. In some cases, a synovial (joint) fluid
analysis may be performed if joint swelling is noticed.
Treatment of Dog Arthritis
Once you confirm that your dog has joint pain due to arthritis, you will need to know what you can do to help
relieve the pain and minimize your pet's arthritic discomfort.
There are many ways to keep your dog's arthritis condition under control and to substantially improve the
quality of your dog's life. Some treatment options available for canine arthritis include:
Light to moderate exercise is encouraged because it helps maintain your dog's muscle mass and perserves joint
flexibilty. Swimming is an exccellent exercise that improves muscle mass without overstressing the joints.
Overweight dogs should be encouraged to lose weight to delay the onset degenerative arthritis.
There are always conventional medications to treat arthritis and help relieve dog joint pain. The use of
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and their anti-inflammatory properties can help provide rapid relief
for your dog's arthritis pain, but they do not repair or heal cartilage. Medications like aspirin, vedaprofen, and
meloxicam can be easily acquired from your vet
Other possible medication that your vet may prescribe for quick relief is steriods
or oral glucocorticoids (corticosteriods) if your dog failed to respond well to NASIDs.
Note: Never give your dog any human form of medication such as common household aspirin.
If you are going to give your dog aspirin or steriods for arthritis pain, make sure you understand the possible
side effects that may affect your dog.
Possible Side Effects of Dog Arthritis Aspirin
Typical side effects of dog arthritis
aspirin may include increased risk of kidney damage, life-threatening stomach
punctures, bleeding, and gastro-intestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Aspirin can also interact badly with other drugs that your dog is taking so make sure you let your vet
know about any other medicines you are giving your pet.
Surgery is usually recommended as a last resort treatment for dogs with canine arthritis because the treatment
is expensive and it may also cause even further pro-longed pain for your dog. Your vet will only suggest surgery
when all other possible non-surgical treatments are exhausted to relieve your dog’s pain. The types of surgery
available include joint repair, fusion, hip replacement and arthroscopic surgery.
Alternative Supplements for Arthritis Pain Relief and Joint
In the past, for many dogs that suffer from arthritis, it is
usually a foregone conclusion that NSAIDS analgesic like aspirin or cortisone-like drugs will be prescribed to help
your dog cope with the pain. However, in recent years, there have been newer treatments and safer remedies being
introduced that will help your dog alleviate arthritic joint pain.
Supplements containing glucosamine sulphate or glucosamine
hydrochloride (both commonly known as glucosamine for short) can be very helpful for dogs primarily where
the joints are involved. Glucosamine is naturally present in animal bones and as a dietary supplement, it can help
to promote new cartilage growth, relieve joints and muscle pain and improve joint mobility.
In a number of clinical studies, glucosamine has also been proven
medically to be an effective alternative remedy in the treatment of both human and dog arthritis since there are no
harmful side effects as compared to NSAIDS.
Sometimes, glucosamine for dogs
is also sold in combination with other supplements such as chondroitin sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane to help
maintain healthy joints in your dog.
If your dog is diagnosed with canine arthritis, work with your vet to establish a holistic treatment plan to
help your dog live each day as pain free as possible.
Good healthy diets and proper exercise help your dog either avoid canine arthritis or reduce its affects.
A good healthy diet that prevents your dog from gaining too much weight is ideal. Diet is even more important
when your dog is a puppy. Puppies need well-balanced, wholesome diets, with added calcium, to help minimize the
likelihood of joint displacement. Adding omega 3 oil to the diet will also help to balance out its diet and add
valuable vitamins and minerals it needs every day.
Contrary to what many people think, exercise is vital for dogs with arthritis. It should start out as gentle
exercise to get your dog’s joints moving and progressively increase it as your dog’s fitness levels rise. Try
gently massaging your dog’s painful joints to help restore the blood flow.
A dog with arthritic conditions can live normal, healthy lives and are better off out playing with a ball to
keep their joints and muscles moving. A dog that gets little exercise puts on weight, and its joints and muscles
Buy a good orthopedic bed made for dogs with arthritis. Just like us, a dog’s painful joints may become inflame
in cold weather so a good bed will keep your dog warm, support its weary bones and help your furry friend get a
good night’s sleep.
Remembe as a dog owner, there is much you can do to make a huge difference in the quality of your dog’s life to
help your dog lead a pain free life especially if he/or she is suffering from joint problems like dog
Information provided on this site about
dog arthritis is not intended as a
substitute for the medical advice of veterinarians. Dog owners should consult with a veterinarian in
matters relating to their dog's health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require medical