Dog Joint Pain

Dog joint pain can impact your pet's life in many negative ways. Mild joint pain in dogs can lead to difficulty with basic movements, while severe joint pain can virtually paralyze your pet, limiting his movement and making it difficult and painful to get up or sit down. Dog joint pain can be indicative of several different conditions, and while some joint pain is common as your pet ages, severe or premature joint pain may be due to a treatable condition. As such, it is important that you be aware of your pet's joint health and that you monitor him carefully for signs of discomfort or pain as he ages.

Causes and Symptoms of Dog Joint Pain

As your dog ages, his joints and bones begin to weaken. This is a natural process, although you can help to remedy your dog's pain as you notice it. Diseases and conditions such as arthritis, bone cancer and rheumatism can contribute to canine joint pain as well. In still other cases, dog joint pain can be due to insufficient nutrition, obesity, genetic causes or other injuries. Diagnosing the source of your pet's joint pain, therefore, depends upon a thorough analysis of his symptoms. Before you take your dog to a veterinarian, take note of any of the following symptoms:

  • Reluctance to jump or play
  • Difficulty walking
  • Walking with unusual gait or posture
  • Slowness or difficulty while sitting down or standing up
  • Whining or crying out while moving
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Swelling around the joints

Diagnosing Dog Joint Pain

Although the diagnosis of dog joint pain is, of itself, a relatively easy process, it can be much more difficult to pinpoint the source of your dog's discomfort. Your vet will likely conduct a thorough physical exam to look for other symptoms. He might also conduct a series of x-rays to locate the source of the pain. Finally, he will review your pet's medical history and home life to investigate your pet's diet, exercise and other potentially complicating factors.

Treating Dog Joint Pain

Canine joint pain can be alleviated through anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers. These reduce swelling and inflammation, and ease your dog's pain. Your vet might also prescribe adjustments to your pet's home environment and lifestyle. For instance, your pet could benefit from increased exercise or a different diet. These treatment methods are intended to improve your pet's overall health over the long term, and will not immediately relieve his pain and discomfort.

While dog joint pain can negatively impact your pet's life, it is a condition that may be moderated with medicines and lifestyle changes. The first step toward alleviating your pet's pain is to recognize the symptoms and warning signs of joint pain. If you have any other questions regarding these symptoms or your pet's specific situation, consult with a veterinarian.