In this article, we’ll explore six of the most common symptoms of arthritis in dogs. Look for these signs to determine whether or not it’s time to talk with your veterinarian about arthritis treatment and management solutions for your pet. Your vet can give you more specialized information for your own individual pet from there. Call Evergreen Veterinary Clinic in San Jose at (408) 238-0690.
1. Difficulty Getting Up
One of the earliest symptoms of arthritis in dogs is difficulty getting up out of bed after sleeping or taking a nap. If your dog sleeps on the floor, the furniture, or in a dog bed, you may notice them taking a lot longer to stand up and stretch after they’ve been asleep for a long time. It may also be harder to convince them to get out of bed once they’ve found a comfortable position to lay in.
You can help your dog by giving them a good quality orthopedic dog bed that may ease their sore and stiff joints while they sleep.
2. Limping and Lameness
Some dogs with more advanced arthritis may develop limping and lameness in one or more legs. It’s important to determine whether or not there is another cause for this condition, however, as acute trauma and some cancers can also cause the same symptoms.
You should take your dog to the vet if they suddenly becomes lame in one or more legs or if he develops a limp that seems to be associated with a lot of pain. You should also take them to the vet if either of these symptoms accompanies a known injury or accident of any kind.
3. Inability to Jump
Your dog may not jump nearly as much as they used to, and there may be more to blame for this change than simply getting older. If your dog has arthritis, it may be very painful for them to jump up and to land on their feet again after the fact. You may see them showing their excitement in other ways but refraining from leaping the way they once did.
If your dog isn’t jumping anymore but seems fine otherwise, you may be able to save this concern for your next regularly scheduled vet visit. If your dog seems to be in pain or is showing other signs of distress, however, a vet visit may be needed sooner.
4. Inability to Climb Stairs
If you have stairs in your home, your dog may no longer be willing to go up and down them. This is often related to arthritis reaching more advanced stages in affected dogs. You may want to schedule a vet visit to discuss this change, or bring it up at your dog’s next checkup.
If this is happening with your dog, you can make them more comfortable by creating a safe, dog-friendly space for them on the first floor of your home.
5. Stiff Gait
One of the earlier signs of arthritis in dogs is a stiff gait. You may notice your dog moving a little more stiffly than they used to do, even before they show other signs or symptoms. If you see this going on, it may be a good idea to talk with your vet about arthritis treatment and management before it gets more out of hand.
A stiff gait may go along with other ailments and conditions too, however, so keep this in mind. Your vet will need to diagnose your dog to make sure he isn’t suffering from another condition.
6. Licking Joints
A dog who obsessively licks their joints—sometimes to the point of causing hot spots to form on their skin or causing their fur to fall out—may be in pain. Dogs lick areas of their body that are hurting, and if your dog’s joints hurt, they may pay extra attention to them by trying to soothe them with licking.
Look for this behavior in the early to middle stages of arthritis. You can bring it up with your vet and figure out some pain medication options that might help your dog get back on their feet and feel better too.
When to See Your Vet
There are many symptoms of arthritis in dogs to be on the lookout for, but these are some of the most common. If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, take him to the vet to have him checked out thoroughly.
Arthritis is a common problem in older dogs, but there are many pain management options you can discuss with your vet. Give us a call today at (408) 238-0690.