Health | 1 Min Read

Everything you need to know about dog arthritis

Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease is one of the most common health conditions we see in dogs. It is more common in older dogs, however many dogs can develop it earlier in life, with some breeds being more predisposed than others. Just like with us humans, it can be incredibly painful but here’s some tips that can help.

What is dog arthritis?

Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative joint condition where the cushioning cartilage between the bones breaks down, causing pain and swelling. Eventually, the two bones connecting in the joint begin to rub against one another through everyday movement, causing pain, inflammation and further damage to the bones.

It happens most commonly with older dogs as part of the normal ageing process. Lifestyle factors such as obesity, repeated trauma, injuries, and high impact exercise all contribute to a dog’s likelihood of developing arthritis. There’s also congenital factors to consider, such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

What are the signs?

Our dogs are incredibly resilient and simply hide their pain by becoming less active or slowing down. Signs of arthritis may include difficulty rising out of bed (especially during cold weather), general ‘laziness’, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, an abnormal gait, limping, or yelping when moved in certain ways. Lethargy, moodiness and even chewing the affected area are all signs they might be experiencing a bit of discomfort.

What treatment is available?

While arthritis can’t be cured, it can certainly be managed by following the below tips:

  1. Healthy weight management
    Overweight pets put more pressure on their joints, so shedding those extra kilos can make it easier for them to move around.
  2. Comfortable bedding
    Provide your pet with soft padded beds that are easy to climb into. In winter, ensure their bed is in a draught-free location and give them extra blankets to keep them warm. Using beds that are elevated from the ground can be helpful.
  3. Arthritis-friendly environment
    Slippery floors and stairs can make it difficult for an animal with sore joints to move around. Consider using non-slip mats and ramps to make it easier for your pet.
  4. Regular, gentle exercise
    Short daily walks are a great way to keep the joints moving. Swimming is also a wonderful way for your pet to exercise without putting any weight on sore joints. There are also pet rehab facilities available that offer physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
  5. Vet checks
    If you are worried that your pet is slowing down or seems painful, it is essential that they are seen by a vet. Your vet will be able to identify any underlying problems and can prescribe pain-relieving medications, supplements and specific diets for arthritic pets.
Comments 4
Our Maltese/Shitzu X (Mia) is 10 yrs old and has arthritis. We put a tea spoon of cod liver oil on her food each day. It has helped amazingly well. Sadly she also has fish breath 😣
Cheryl on

Thanks for your message I think I do the right thing for my baby

Annie on

Thanks for your message I think I do the right thing for my baby

Annie on

Just what we’re dealing with tonight actually. Our 8 month old lagotto limping and sore and a little yep occassionally. it 100% coincides with the cold weather we’re experiencing at the moment. We’re off to the vet first thing in the morning.


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