The Most Common Signs of Canine Arthritis and How to Spot Them

Arthritis is a common ailment for dogs, especially as they get older. In fact, 20 percent of dogs develop arthritis, which causes pain, reduced mobility and permanent joint damage. If you’re worried that your pet may have arthritis or wondering what the first signs are, here is a list of the most common symptoms and how to spot them.

1. Limping

If your dog has recently developed a limp, it’s possible that he may have a minor injury. However, it’s also possible that the limp is related to arthritis. Usually, if your dog has arthritis, the limp will be more pronounced when he first wakes up or starts walking because the joints are stiff. As he starts moving, however, the limp may gradually get better.

2. Decreased Mobility

If your usually active dog no longer wants to play or even move, arthritis is often to blame. Dogs with arthritis often have trouble climbing stairs, jumping into cars, running, playing or even climbing in your lap. Your dog may attempt to do these actions but have difficulty succeeding, or he may just fail entirely. He may even refuse to try.

3. Lethargy

Pets with arthritis often lay around a lot. They may even sleep more than normal. When you go for walks, he may get tired and need more breaks – or he may even need to be carried home. If you catch your pet napping or resting more than he used to, that’s often a sign of arthritis.

4. Excessive Licking or Biting

Because arthritis affects specific joints, your dog may try to soothe the pain himself by licking or biting the affected area. If you regularly see your dog chewing on one or more of his joints, it’s possible that he is trying to lessen his pain from arthritis. He may even chew all the hair from the area or cause painful skin inflammation from excessive licking.

5. Muscle Atrophy

When dogs have arthritis, their muscles may start to atrophy (or waste away). This may not be noticeable at first, but you may eventually notice that one of your dog’s legs is thinner than the others. If so, that leg probably has arthritis.

6. Irritability

It’s not uncommon for dogs to become more irritable as they get older, but this irritability is often related to arthritis. Dogs with arthritis often growl or snap at children or other pets who try to pet or play with them. Often, they react this way because the petting or playing causes pain to their joints, but they may be irritable simply because they need to rest and want to be left alone.

7. Back Problems

It’s possible for your pet to develop arthritis along his spine, but even leg arthritis can cause back problems. Your arthritic dog may walk with a hunch, be lame in one leg, or have trouble turning his head due to neck pain. A possible solution is to find a healthy amount of rimadyl dosage that will help to relieve arthritis in your pet.

When in Doubt, See a Vet

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, it’s time to make an appointment with your vet. Your dog very likely could have arthritis, or he may have another health condition that’s just as serious. Whatever the diagnosis, your vet can recommend proper medical care. A possible solution is to work with your vet to prescribe something like Carprofen, which is a wonderful arthritis medication for dogs that will help to greatly reduce symptoms.  With a little extra care, your pet can get back to enjoying the mobility he had before arthritis.


Lannie, writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all of which can be purchased online.

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