Signs Of Arthritis In Dogs And What To Do If Your Dog Has It? 

While arthritis is a disease that occurs in human beings at a later stage in life, it is widespread in dogs of young ages as well. In fact, arthritis is a common disorder that affects many dogs in their lifespan. Unfortunately, even with its dramatic prevalence rate among dogs, it is a disease that is often untreated and undiagnosed because pet parents fail to notice the signs of arthritis in dogs. 

There is no denying that providing a diagnosis of arthritis for a dog is extremely challenging for a veterinarian and the pet owner. Since it is a rather painful disease that is progressive in nature, it can be heartbreaking to know that your pet is suffering from a lot of pain. However, understanding the predisposing factors, the risk factors associated with this disorder, and the signs of arthritis in dogs can help you to provide early treatment to your dog, which will help manage the symptoms and the progress much better.

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Can dogs get arthritis?

If you want to know do dogs get arthritis, yes, dogs can get arthritis. In fact, arthritis is widespread in dogs and can affect even dogs in their younger years. However, unlike humans, where the disorder appears at old age, dogs with arthritis can belong to any age range, and it is an excruciating state for them.

Why do dogs get arthritis?

Both human and dog bones have cartilage at the end, providing insulation and acting as a cushion to prevent bones from rubbing against one another. Cartilages are very important since they act as shock-absorbing and friction-reducing pads. However, often with old age, the cartilage can become weak and often gets eroded. Erosion of the cartilage leads to inflammation and severe pain, which is what is meant by arthritis. 

Arthritis can be caused by development issues such as elbow dysplasia or luxating patella. Development problems can also lead to underdeveloped cartilage or improper development of joints. Obesity has also been linked to arthritis because excessive weight often puts a lot of pressure on the joints, damaging the cartilage in the long run. Besides, a previous fracture can also lead to arthritis in later years.

At what age do dogs get arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease that can affect dogs as young as one year of age. Although this is a disorder that is often associated with old age, it is not the same when it comes to dogs. Dogs can get arthritis and start showing the symptoms of it from a very young age and can progress into more severe states as age increases. For the most part, 80% of dogs get or start showing the signs of arthritis at 8 years of age. However, it is not a disorder that is only limited to old age in the case of dogs.

What does dog arthritis look like?

Dogs are usually extremely active and curious in nature. No matter what breed of dog you have, puppies stand to show a lot of energy and get excited easily. However, for the first few months after their birth, it sometimes gets really frustrating trying to find healthy ways for them to dispense that energy. Puppy energy can last in dogs even after their puppyhood, with a burst of energy coming now and then even in older dogs. However, arthritis may considerably curtail this energy. 

Arthritis is undoubtedly a painful condition that can make your dog feel physically unfit and psychologically exhausted. As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to keep a close eye on your dog because it is with the help of keen observation that you can determine whether something is wrong with your dog. Many behavioral observations can be made in a dog that is suffering from arthritis in comparison to a healthy dog. For example, you will see that they are generally less active and are showing stiffness and difficulty when it comes to moving around. Therefore, it is vital to be observant of the signs of arthritis in dogs so that they can be provided immediate care and attention.

Symptoms of arthritis in dogs

Suppose you are wondering does my dog have arthritis. In that case, it is important to look at the symptoms of arthritis that will help you to understand whether your dog needs treatment or a visit to the veterinarian. The following are some symptoms of dog arthritis:

Disinterest in moving

As already mentioned, dogs are generally active creatures who like to move about to dispense their energy healthily. Suppose you suddenly notice that your dog is reluctant to move around or not showing interest in going for a walk or doing things that they would usually do. In that case, it might be because of arthritis.

Inflammation in joints

Arthritis is commonly associated with inflamed joints, which are extremely painful to touch. However, suppose you suddenly notice that your dog is barking or showing distress when touching. In that case, it might be time to visit the veterinarian.

Limping and stiffness

In most cases of arthritis, joint pain in dogs back legs is extremely common, which leads to limping and stiffness while walking. If you suddenly notice that your dog is limping while walking or preferring one leg over the other to move around from one place to another it can be considered a sign of arthritis.

Behavioral changes

Even the most social and lovable dogs can start to show behavioral changes because of the pain associated with arthritis. Dogs with arthritis often have an irritable nature because of the frustration caused by the pain. They generally want to be left alone and do not like touching or cuddling anymore.


Arthritis is an excruciating disorder that leads to fatigue and tiredness in your dog. For example, suppose your dog previously used to be extremely active and energetic. In that case, arthritis can make them rather tired all throughout the day.

Muscle atrophy

Arthritis can sometimes lead to muscle atrophy. For example, dogs with arthritis in back legs start to decrease the use of this leg, which accounts for a reduction in activity. This can lead to degeneration of the leg muscle, which can become atrophied. As a result, you will be able to notice muscles looking thinner in your dog.

How long can a dog live with arthritis?

Although arthritis in old dogs is a condition that worsens with age, your dog can live for many years after the diagnosis as well. Proper management and treatment are all required to ensure that your dog has a long and fulfilling life.

What to do when a dog has arthritis?

While dog joint pain is heartbreaking for a dog owner, it is important to be caring and provide them with the best treatment. So that they can manage arthritis in the front leg or any other area in a seamless fashion. Dogs with arthritis in the knees can be managed with the help of providing the proper diet or supplements along with prescribed medicine from a veterinarian. 

When you have dogs with arthritis in back legs, it is essential to be proactive and observant at all times. It is only with the help of your utmost care and attention that dog joint pain can be managed to provide them with a long life. 

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