Early Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

The symptoms of arthritis in dogs may not appear until the joints are severely damaged and the dog experiences pain. The condition progresses slowly and it is not reversible, but recognizing the early symptoms of arthritis can help manage the condition and slow down the development of the disease.

Early Symptoms of Arthritis

The arthritis is more common in dogs over the age of 5 and is the condition that causes the inflammation of the dog’s joints. The cartilages of the joints are gradually destroyed and this can be partly due to aging and the fact that the body produces less glucosamine, a substance that maintains the health of the bones and cartilages.

Some dogs may develop arthritis at a younger age, especially if they are genetically predisposed to arthritis.

The symptoms may not start to show from the early stages of the disease, as the dog will not feel pain while the joints are not severely damaged. However, you may notice a few signs that can point to arthritis:

  • Lameness, which may affect 1 or several limbs, depending on which joints are involved
  • Limping
  • The dog may hesitate to perform a few moves, such as climbing stairs
  • Joint stiffness, which can worsen after workout
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Inflammation of joints

The symptoms may be easy to miss. However, the severity of the symptoms may depend on the age, weigh and even breed of the dog.

Symptoms of Arthritis

The early symptoms of arthritis will worsen in time. You will notice that your dog will have a hard time moving, standing up and he will prefer to sleep more and spend his time in the same spot.

Some symptoms that you may notice when the disease is in an advanced stage include:

  • Lethargy, more sleeping hours
  • Weakness
  • Severely inflamed joints
  • Joint pain, the dog will retract his limbs if the joints are touched; the dog may even become aggressive if his in a lot of pain and the joints are touched
  • Joint deformities
  • Depression
  • Behavioral changes and the dog can be easily irritable, due to the pain
  • Lack of appetite, but the dog may gain weight as he is more sedentary
  • Abnormal position (i.e. tucked pelvis when standing) or walk
  • The dog may even avoid using a limb that is severely affected

Arthritis Management

Arthritis cannot be cured, but it is a condition that can be managed with several treatments.

Joint supplements and pain medication is prescribed to the pet. Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs are also recommended to reduce the swelling and pain.

Physical therapy can also be used to reduce the pain and help the dog lose some weight, which can aggravate the condition, as additional weight can affect the joints.

There are also a number of alternative arthritis management options including aqua therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal supplements.