Do Dogs Also Suffer From Arthritis?

As happy as they always seem, many dogs suffer in silence. Once their discomfort becomes obvious to us, our fur babies might already be in an excruciating status.

Arthritis is a universal ailment for aging dogs, regardless of breed. However, larger types, such as German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Bullmastiffs, and Great Danes, are more prone to this debilitating condition.

The sound of these four-legged friends having to endure the pain humans often cry about may be harsh. But it is a reality every dog owner must face and be knowledgeable about applying remedies or treatment before the suffering worsens.

dog in bed

Symptoms Of Arthritis

The trickiest characteristic of arthritis on dogs is its silent manifestation. Dogs may suffer minor discomfort, and it isn’t worth the whine for many breeds. As a result, fur parents miss these early onsets, and it is only when the health issue progresses to an advanced stage will it become more evident that something isn’t right.

Still, some signs could help with the early detection of arthritis in dogs. Some of these include:

Difficulty Getting Up

Arthritis also makes it hard for dogs to get out of bed, as it is for humans. An owner should easily notice when a dog is having challenges getting up from a sitting position. While some pooches are just lazy, we should sense a slight discomfort in their movements, especially if they don’t move slowly and cautiously, unlike before.

Laziness In Jumping and Getting Off Of Couches

Aching joints would discourage anyone from too much movement. This includes the lesser times they get out of their favorite spot and that hesitation in following orders to come over. If you notice these odd changes, there’s a good chance that these are signs of progressing arthritis.

Lesser Interest In Play Time

It’s sad when an energetic dog refuses your calls for playtime or exercise. When arthritis symptoms or any degenerative condition begin to impact your furry friend, even morning walks would be draining and painful for them.

Behavioral Changes

Due to the pain, dogs suffering from arthritis have increased irritability. They’d prefer to be alone most of the time and lash out at other dogs who come near. Sleep, eat, and sleep will be their daily routine, which will remain unless they start to feel better.

Limping When Walking

In the early stages, dogs experiencing joint discomfort would be slower. Once it develops to advanced or full-blown stages, affected dogs begin limping when walking or running.

Arthritis Treatment For Dogs

There are arthritis remedies for dogs, though surgery is one of the most recommended for more serious cases such as degenerative arthritis. This procedure involves making incisions through the joints so the surgeon can clean away the cartilage debris. A veterinarian specialist may also recommend invasive medical operations for bone deformity, repairing a severely damaged joint, and sometimes, replacing it.

While these procedures have been proven effective, the risk to your dog’s life is always there. Even expert surgeons can’t give their 100% guarantee before applying the anesthesia, though most of their operations result in life-changing success.

It is due to these small risks that dog owners tend to look for an alternative. Undergoing the doctor’s knife is always the last resort for some. Apart from the chance of a failed operation, the cost of this procedure is also a hounding worry.

Fortunately, non-surgical arthritis treatment for dogs exists. They range from non-medicinal applications, use of NSAIDs, diet, animal rehabilitation, and many others. We explained some of these below:

Over-The-Counter Medicines

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate pills or tablets are available in medicine boutiques and convenience stores. These medications help alleviate symptoms of arthritic aches.

Food Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids help manage the symptoms of arthritis in humans. This healthy chemical sold in stores does the same for dogs. Hence, it is sometimes used to fortify animal food products.


Short for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, these prescriptions help reduce inflammation in joints that trigger arthritis attacks. However, vets would conduct regular blood tests before they ask you to continue using these medicines due to their potential side effects. Some of the most recommended brands include Galliprant, Meloxicam, and Carprofen, as they are the safest and most efficient in managing pain brought by the condition.

Steroids or Cortisone

Also known as glucocorticoids, these injectables have greater anti-inflammatory content than NSAIDs. However, they are not good for long-term use due to serious side effects that could lead to complications and organ failure.


Different animal rehabilitation centers are becoming more popular with fur parents. While they attend to many health issues, plenty of facilities are allotted for treating arthritis in canines. These include ultrasound therapies, aquatic exercises, electric stimulation, and physical therapies.

Other Natural Interventions

There have been some anecdotal claims that acupuncture and massage effectively relieve pain caused by degenerative arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Changes In Diet

One of the leading causes of arthritis on canines is obesity. Therefore, depending on their vet’s recommendations, parents may need to put their canines under drastic diet changes. Providing food with eicosapentaenoic acid help prevent cartilage damage and alleviate arthritic pains. The doctor may also ask you to stop giving human meals, which may trigger allergies and an increased appetite.

Dog Resting

Arthritis Prevention

Dog owners can thwart or delay the onset of arthritis with many preventive measures. They can begin these healthy practices during puppyhood.

One way is by making sure that the puppy won’t overeat or exhaust itself with too much exercise. A balanced diet with enough calcium and omega-3 fatty acids should strengthen their joints and minimize the tears in the cartilage as they grow older.

The right amount of physical activity should keep the canine’s body strong. Overworking or excess movement would stress their joints and bones, leading to the earlier emergence of arthritis.

More importantly, regular checkups with the vet and giving your puppy enough space for sleeping should keep them in optimal condition — safe from various diseases and other physical ailments.

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