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How do I know if my dog has arthritis?

May 08, 2023

Duncan Houston

It can sometimes be challenging to determine if your dog has arthritis, as they may not show obvious signs of pain or discomfort. However, there are some common symptoms and signs to watch for:

1. Stiffness and difficulty moving: Your dog may have trouble getting up from a lying or sitting position, be hesitant to climb stairs or jump, or display a general stiffness in their movements.

2. Limping or favoring a limb: If your dog is limping or favoring one leg over the others, it could be an indication of arthritis or another joint issue.

3. Reluctance to play or exercise: Dogs with arthritis may become less interested in playing, going for walks, or engaging in activities they used to enjoy.

4. Swelling in the joints: Arthritic joints may appear swollen or feel warm to the touch.

5. Pain when touched: Your dog may react negatively or show signs of discomfort when you touch or handle their affected joints.

6. Changes in gait: Dogs with arthritis may have an altered gait, such as a stiff, short stride or a "bunny hop" when running.

7. Behavioral changes: Dogs experiencing pain from arthritis may display changes in their behavior, such as increased irritability, aggression, or withdrawal.

8. Decreased flexibility: Your dog may struggle to reach certain areas of their body while grooming or may have difficulty with positions they used to manage easily.

If you suspect your dog may have arthritis, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. They will likely perform a physical examination and may recommend additional tests, such as x-rays or bloodwork, to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other potential causes for your dog's symptoms. Early diagnosis and intervention can help improve your dog's quality of life and manage their arthritis effectively.