Symptoms of Canine Arthritis: Dogs' Legs and Hips

Arthritis in dogs typically occurs when the dog is older and can be a very painful condition. Typically, the joints get swollen in the leg and hip area. The symptoms of arthritis develop gradually and you will notice some changes in your pet’s behavior and routine. Detecting arthritis in a timely manner can ease the pain and give a more qualitative life to your dog.

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition in dogs and may occur due to different factors:

  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Joint infection
  • Trauma
  • Degenerative joint disease

Symptoms of Arthritis

As the dog gets older, he may start developing symptoms of arthritis. The symptoms will develop gradually and the dog will become less active and the arthritis progresses.

The joints get swollen and this may hinder the dog from performing normal activities such as standing up, running or walking up the stairs. Movement may cause pain and the dog will avoid performing certain movements.

The symptoms will get worse in time.

You may also notice symptoms such as:

  • Limping, due to leg and hip joint pain and stiffness
  • Staying behind when you walk him; the dog may be in a lot of pain and the walk is not enjoyable
  • Reluctance to jump up the stairs or over fences
  • Withdrawing when you touch the limbs that are aching
  • Barking when touched
  • Behavior changes that may include aggressiveness, hiding behavior, lack of energy to play
  • Lethargy
  • Depression due to the constant pain
  • Weight gain due to the lack of activity

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should consult a vet.

Diagnosing Arthritis

The symptoms of dog arthritis are similar to symptoms displayed in the case of the Lyme disease or other infections and diseases.

A proper diagnosis is important in determining the treatment.

Arthritis develops mostly in older dogs. Some x-rays may confirm if the dog suffers from a joint problem.

Dog Arthritis Management

Dogs with arthritis require more attention, so make time for your pet.

Unfortunately, arthritis is a condition that cannot be treated, but the pain can be managed and there are a few ways to decrease the pressure on the joints, so that the pain is diminished.

Pain medications should keep the dog comfortable. Some light exercises should also be introduced, to prevent joint stiffness and the atrophy of the muscles. Swimming is a type of exercise that can be particularly helpful in a dog with arthritis.

If the dog is overweight, his diet should be changed to promote weight loss; the extra weight can add to the pressure on the joints and this may mean more pain for the dog.

The diet may also influence the quality of life of the pet; opt for a few supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids that can have anti inflammatory effects. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can also be added to the dog’s diet.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may also be administered to reduce the joint swelling.

Corticosteroids can also relieve pain and reduce swelling.