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Dog Arthritis, What is it?

Old lab with arthritis laying in a starred dog bed

Many of us know all too well about the painful effects of arthritis in our bodies, and sometimes, it’s so bad it almost feels like we can’t get up in the morning. For some, it is a totally crippling disease. But did it occur to you that your pet friend might have those very same symptoms in his own body? You might not know this, but one out of five dogs experiences arthritis in his lifetime. Most of the time, like in humans, it does affect the more senior dogs, and osteoarthritis is the arthritis type that is most commonly seen in dogs.

If you have a dog who you suspect has arthritis, you need to start treating him because you need to know that it is painful for him; he is in discomfort, and it is very disruptive to his doggy life. You will notice the areas most affected on your dog will be lower back, hips, elbows, wrists, and knees.

Briefly, arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. When inflamed, they develop stiffness in them, heat, redness, pain, and swelling. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common ones are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.

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Why did your dog get arthritis?

Paws of a German short hair pointer

Like in humans, a dog will experience arthritis due to natural aging, or in situations when his joints did not develop properly (this is known as dysplasia), or trauma. You will notice that your dog might be starting to limp a little bit; here and there. As time goes on, you might notice more intense limping and stiffness, with your dog resting more than he usually does, signified by a lack of energy and an ability to do things like he used to like running and jumping, and going on his daily walks. Look out for these symptoms in your dog:

  • Difficulty getting up after lying down
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lameness in one or more legs
  • Unexpected aggression towards you and other dogs
  • Lethargy
  • Disinterest in running and jumping – battling to climb stairs and playing less
  • Weight gain and changes in his appetite
  • Irritation when touched or petted
  • Depression
  • House soiling
  • Behavioral changes
  • Sleeping more than usual

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If you notice symptoms in your dog

Old shaggy black dog standing in a field of taller grass

Then it is very important to take your best friend to the vet straight away, because that’s what you would do for yourself if you got arthritis, right? And also, many other illnesses and injuries can cause similar problems to those above which means it is important to get your dog diagnosed. Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination to come to his diagnosis of arthritis, basing his diagnosis on the dog’s age, his medical history, and physical examination. Maybe he will order some X-rays so he can see how advanced the joints have degenerated. 

It is the larger breeds of dogs, overweight dogs, and hereditary factors, a trauma in earlier life, abnormal joint development, bacterial infections, immune system irregularities and tick-borne illnesses that could have been risked factors for your dog developing arthritis.

It is important, though, to note that if your dog goes untreated, his uncomfortable, painful situation, with limited mobility will deteriorate. With proper treatment, your dog can live comfortably, and you can expect him to have a normal life expectancy.

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Treatment options for a dog with arthritis

Two white Greyhounds laying in a park with fall leaves around

The non-medical treatment options for treating arthritis in dogs include:

  • Weight management – to decrease further stress added to your dog’s joints
  • Dietary changes – eating dog food with high levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid that has shown to have success in decreasing joint inflammation
  • Exercise – to help loosen stiff joints
  • Physical rehabilitation – includes cold and heat therapy, canine massage, stretching, and range-of-motion exercises 
  • Acupuncture – to relieve pain in joints

Medical treatments may also be prescribed with drug treatments to further increase your dog’s comfort levels, probably from these families of drugs:

  • Cartilage protectors
  • NSAIDs 
  • Feed supplements.

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Other fantastic natural solutions for your arthritic dog

Pomeranian laying on a plush white bed
  • Natural herbs
  • An excellent idea is to choose holistic vets, where the natural healing wisdom of nature and the body come into play. And fortunately, new research into homeopathy and holistic foods and medicines are now being funded by the American Holistic Veterinary Foundation.
  • Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy: It’s a type of regenerative medicine.
  • Memory Foam Orthopedic Dog Mattresses are important for your pet because they actually help to alleviate the pain that dogs feel through the support and cushioning effects of memory foam beds. A lot of orthopedic beds have high-quality layers of comfortable memory foam cooling energy gel in them that help in regulating a dog's body temperature.
  • Diet: If you want to follow a more holistic type of way to feed your dog, discuss it with your vet.
BuddyRest Romeo Orthopedic Bolster Dog Bed

BuddyRest Romeo Orthopedic Bolster Dog Bed


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CBD oil for arthritis

CBD or cannabidiol is a compound that has become a very hot topic in today's society. Many people are using this supplement to help their ailments in many ways. One problem that is being alleviated by CBD oil is Arthritic pain and this is true in both humans and dogs. This compound derived from hemp is an all-natural anti-inflammatory and even blocks pain receptors to assist with arthritis and joint pains. To find out more check out this article all about CBD oil for arthritis!

Natural Doggie NON GMO All-Organic CBD Oil for dogs

Natural Doggie NON GMO All-Organic CBD Oil for dogs


Holistic Hound Full Spectrum Hemp Oil

Holistic Hound Full Spectrum Hemp Oil For Dogs


Natural Doggie CBD Infused Bacon Flavor Soft Chews

Natural Doggie CBD Infused Bacon Flavor Soft Chews


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Our dogs are one of the most important things in our lives and it can be heartbreaking to see one go through pains such as arthritis. Luckily there are ways you can help and by talking to your vet and making a plan you are taking the first step to your dogs taking many more steps. They look up to us and it is our responsibility as the pet parent to help!

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Dog Arthritis By Molly Boman

Molly Boman
Molly enjoys writing with experience covering topics all about dogs. she is an ardent lover of dogs and all other animals which is where her love of nature comes! When she gets the chance to be in the great outdoors she loves watching her grandchildren play with her pups in the sunshine!

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