Arthritis and Joint Disease in Dogs

80% of All US Dogs Will Endure this Agonizing, Chronic Pain

Millions of dogs in the USA struggle with stiff, painful joints.

20% of adult dogs (older than 1 year) suffer with arthritis, pain and inflammation in their joints. That’s bad enough, but as dogs age the rate increases, so that a staggering 80% of all dogs aged 8+ are afflicted.

Osteoarthritis is the number 1 cause of chronic pain in dogs.

It’s also known as degenerative joint disease and is caused by deterioration of joint cartilage, which results in chronic joint inflammation and pain. It’s irreversible, meaning it can’t be cured, so life-long treatment is required.

Why Your Dog’s Joints May Fail

A joint is like a hinge where two hard, rigid bones meet.

For a joint to work properly the bones need to be able to move smoothly. Synovial fluid, cartilage, ligaments, muscles and tendons facilitate this movement.

Dogs start to suffer joint problems (osteoarthritis) when their cartilage begins to wear out faster than it is replaced. It becomes thinner, giving less protection as the bones move in a joint.

Further wear or damage to the cartilage causes the bones to begin to grind against each other. This results in inflammation, pain and restricted motion. Over time the joint may lose its shape and become deformed. Fragments of bone and cartilage may break off and float inside the joint space, causing even more pain and damage.

Most dogs will suffer from joint disease during their lives. For some the symptoms will be mild, but for others they can severely affect their quality of life, and even cause complete lameness.

Symptoms usually are usually not noticeable until the latter half of life. However some breeds and larger dogs are more vulnerable and symptoms can appear at a much younger age.

7 Warning Signs Your Dog’s Joints Are Failing

  1. Stiffness, particularly when getting up from rest?
  2. Appears reluctant to walk, jump or play?
  3. Sleeping and resting more?
  4. Lagging behind on walks?
  5. Taking longer to settle?
  6. Licking or chewing a particular joint?
  7. Limping or protecting certain joints?

IF YOU ANSWER YES to any of these questions, then it’s likely that your dog is suffering with joint pain.

Our dogs can’t tell us when something’s wrong so it’s up to us to spot the symptoms:

Remember that these symptoms develop very slowly, gradually impairing their mobility.

Unfortunately your dog’s natural lust for life makes it even harder, because they love being active and will continue to walk, run and play despite being in pain.

If you spot any of these symptoms never assume they are the normal signs of ageing.

This post is the first in a series about arthritis and joint pain in dogs and will also help cat owners too.

Joint Pain in Dogs: 5 High Risk Factors

Dog Joint Pain: How To Immediately Help Your Dog

How Healthy is Your Dog’s Diet?

Exercise For Dogs With Arthritis and Joint Pain

How Painful is Your Home For a Dog With Joint Pain?

Arthritis and Joint Pain Treatment For Dogs: Physical Therapy

Arthritis and Joint Pain Treatment For Dogs: Medication & Surgery

Arthritis and Joint Pain Treatment For Dogs: Glucosamine Supplements