Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis is a common ailment that affects not only humans but also our beloved canine companions. Just like us, dogs can suffer from the pain and discomfort of arthritis as they age. This degenerative joint disease can significantly impact their quality of life if left unaddressed. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of arthritis in dogs, exploring its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and ways to improve your furry friend’s overall well-being. If you want to know more about dog health guidance, please follow “Puainta“.

What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs?

Arthritis in dogs is a common condition that affects their joints, causing pain and discomfort. The severity of symptoms can vary, and it typically progresses over time. Here are signs of arthritis in dogs at different stages:

Early Stage Arthritis:

  • Limping or favoring one leg: Dogs with arthritis may start to limp or avoid putting weight on a particular leg, especially after exercise or when they first get up.
  • Stiffness: Dogs may appear stiff, particularly after resting. You might notice them having difficulty getting up or lying down.
  • Decreased activity: Dogs in the early stages of arthritis may become less active. They might not want to play as much or go for walks.
  • Muscle atrophy: Over time, the muscles around the affected joint may start to shrink (atrophy) due to decreased use.
  • Licking or chewing at joints: Some dogs will lick or chew at the painful joint in an attempt to alleviate discomfort.

Intermediate Stage Arthritis:

  • Increased limping: The limping or favoring of one leg may become more pronounced.
  • Swelling and heat: The affected joints may become swollen, warm to the touch, or appear larger than usual.
  • Reluctance to climb stairs or jump: Dogs may find it increasingly difficult to navigate obstacles, such as stairs or getting in and out of the car.
  • Behavioral changes: Dogs in intermediate stages of arthritis may become more irritable or anxious due to chronic pain.

End Stage Arthritis:

  • Severe pain: Dogs with end-stage arthritis often experience significant pain, even at rest.
  • Limited mobility: They may struggle to walk or may not be able to walk at all. Some dogs may drag their back legs.
  • Loss of appetite: Chronic pain can lead to a loss of interest in food, resulting in weight loss.
  • Lethargy: Dogs may spend most of their time lying down and seem uninterested in their surroundings.
  • Incontinence: In severe cases, dogs may have difficulty controlling their bladder and bowels.

Causes of Arthritis

Several factors can contribute to the development of arthritis in dogs:

  • Age: As dogs get older, the wear and tear on their joints naturally increase, making them more susceptible to arthritis.
  • Genetics: Certain breeds are genetically predisposed to joint problems, which can lead to arthritis.
  • Obesity: Excess weight places added stress on a dog’s joints, increasing the risk of arthritis.
  • Injury or Trauma: Past injuries, such as fractures or ligament tears, can lead to arthritis in the affected joint.
  • Infections: Joint infections can cause long-term damage and result in arthritis.
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can affect dogs as well, leading to joint inflammation.

What’s Good for Arthritis in Dogs?

Arthritis in dogs is a common condition, especially in older dogs, and it can cause pain and discomfort. While there is no cure for arthritis in dogs, there are several strategies and treatments that can help manage the condition and improve your dog’s quality of life. 


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These are often prescribed by veterinarians to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritic dogs. Common NSAIDs for dogs include carprofen, meloxicam, and firocoxib. It’s crucial to use them under veterinary supervision, as they can have side effects.

Joint Supplements:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These supplements can help support joint health and reduce cartilage deterioration. They are available in various forms, including chews, tablets, and liquids.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Sardine Oil for Dogs, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can have anti-inflammatory properties and benefit dogs with arthritis.

Weight Management:

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for dogs with arthritis because excess weight puts additional stress on their joints. Consult with your vet to develop a weight management plan if your dog is overweight.

Physical Therapy and Exercise:

Gentle, low-impact exercise can help keep the joints mobile and strengthen the surrounding muscles. Activities like swimming and short walks are often recommended. Physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions may also be beneficial.

Hip Dysplasia vs Arthritis in Dogs

Hip dysplasia and arthritis are two common orthopedic conditions that can affect dogs, particularly in their hip joints. While they share some similarities, they are distinct conditions with different causes and characteristics.

Hip Dysplasia:


Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that is often present at birth but may not become apparent until the dog reaches a certain age. It is more common in larger breeds.


Hip dysplasia occurs when there is an abnormal development of the hip joint, leading to an improper fit between the femoral head (the ball of the hip joint) and the acetabulum (the socket). This can result in various degrees of joint laxity and instability.


  • Pain and discomfort
  • Lameness or limping, especially in the hind limbs
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Difficulty getting up, jumping, or running
  • Muscle atrophy in the hindquarters


Typically diagnosed through physical examination, X-rays, and sometimes other imaging techniques.


Treatment options may include medication for pain management, weight control, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgical procedures like hip replacement or femoral head ostectomy.

Arthritis (Osteoarthritis):


Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can occur as a result of various factors, including aging, previous joint injuries or trauma, or as a secondary condition to other orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia.


Arthritis involves the progressive breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the joint surfaces. This leads to inflammation, pain, and loss of joint function.


  • Joint stiffness, especially after rest
  • Swelling and heat in the affected joint
  • Pain and discomfort, often worsening with physical activity
  • Lameness or limping
  • Reluctance to engage in physical activities


Arthritis is typically diagnosed through physical examination, X-rays, and sometimes other diagnostic tests like joint fluid analysis.


Treatment for arthritis aims to manage pain and improve joint function. This may include medications (pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs), weight management, physical therapy, joint supplements, and lifestyle modifications. In some cases, surgical procedures may be considered to address severe joint damage.

In summary, hip dysplasia is a congenital condition involving improper development of the hip joint, while arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can develop over time due to various factors. Both conditions can cause pain and discomfort in dogs and may require similar management approaches, but their underlying causes and diagnostic criteria differ. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan for your dog’s specific condition.

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