With over 9 million dogs suffering from dog arthritis in the U.S. alone, the chances are good that your best friend is either developing arthritis right now, or will be as he ages.
The sad thing is, unlike people, your dog may not exhibit any exterior signs that he is in great pain. In fact, dogs are genetically averse to showing pain because, in their ancestral ‘pack’ days, showing pain could get a dog banished from the pack or even attacked and killed.
So even though dog arthritis is every bit as painful and debilitating as human arthritis is, you could be condemning your dog to a life of pain and misery without your even knowing it. I’m sure you don’t want to do that, so take a few minutes to learn the symptoms of dog arthritis so you can get your furry friend the treatment he deserves.
Outward Symptoms of Dog Arthritis
If your dog is favoring one of their legs, especially a hind leg, it may be a sign of a joint-related lameness problem. Dog joint health problems are either symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs or, if left untreated, will lead to dog arthritis.
Is Your Dog Lazy?
If your normally active and frisky dog begins to exhibit signs of mobility problems, like avoiding stairs, no longer jumping up on the couch to watch TV with you, or lagging behind on his daily walk, don’t chalk it up to laziness. Sudden changes in mobility patterns are a prime indicator that your dog is experiencing pain. Get him to the vet as soon as you can.
Licking or Chewing Over Joints
Dogs can’t rub or massage their aching body parts like humans can, so their only choice is to lick or chew on the affected areas. If you observe this happening frequently, check your dog carefully for external injuries or any signs of skin allergies. The activity may not indicate anything more serious than a bad habit, or the dog’s attempt to regulate their body temperature, but it also could be a sign of dog arthritis. If you can’t determine the cause, let your vet decide.
Changes in Common Behavior
Because dogs work so hard to hide pain, symptoms may manifest themselves in unusual ways. Be alert to changes in your dog’s habits, behavior and personality. Watch for changes in the amount of food they eat, unusual aggressiveness, or an increase in ‘accidents’ by a normally housebroken dog. Any or all of these occurrences could be your dog’s way of asking for help; and they could all be signs of dog arthritis.
Your Next Step
If you recognize any of these dog arthritis symptoms, don’t make your dog suffer in silence. A trip to the vet should be your immediate next step.
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