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Canine Arthritis - Signs and Treatment of Dog Arthritis

Updated on October 3, 2015
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Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing and dog healthcare.

Canine arthritis occurs in the joints. A healthy joint has cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones in a joint. The cartilage does not have any nerves, so when it touches the cartilage of another bone, there is no pain.

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage begins to wear away. The bone becomes exposed, and because bones have many nerves, when they touch, your dog feels pain, as the arthritis persists, the pain increases.

About 20% of dogs in the United States suffers from arthritis.

Arthritis can affect all breeds of dogs, but there are some factors that increase the risk of your dog developing arthritis.

  • Overweight dogs
  • Large or giant breeds
  • Dogs over 5 years old
  • Breed inherited traits, such as hip dysplasia
  • High activity for long periods of time
  • Joint trauma

Signs of Arthritis

  • Sluggishness
  • Tiredness
  • Low activity
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Reluctance to extend rear legs
  • Soreness
  • Aggression or withdrawn behavior
  • Personality or behavioral changes
  • Reluctance to walk, run, climb stairs, jump, or play

Treating Arthritis

When be bones continually rub against each other, they will begin to change shape. The bone reshaping can make it difficult, or even impossible, to walk or move naturally. But, arthritis is not a death sentence.

Arthritis cannot be treated, but it can be managed.

It is very important to know your dog so that you can notice the first signs of arthritis and have your vet diagnose early.

A series of painkillers and steroids, to aid inflammation. Methocarbomol and prednisone are commonly prescribed medications.

If you want a natural arthritis treatment, consider a joint supplement that contains glucosamine and chrondritin. You can combine supplements that contain MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) and hyalauric acid with glucosamine and chrondritin. You will find that these supplements may take 3 to 6 weeks to take effect.

Good Joint Health

  • Reduce treats and the amount of food
  • Eliminate treats
  • Participate in low-impact exercises
  • Minimize stair climbing
  • Use portable ramps


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