Dogs are adorable animals that make good pets, but when your dog reaches an advanced age, you may notice that it slows down and acts a little different than it did before. Those changes may occur because your dog suffers from arthritis, which is a medical condition that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. Though you might think that arthritis only affects humans, it also affects a number of dogs every year. There are some common signs of arthritis that you can look for in your dog before scheduling an appointment to talk about treatment options with your vet.
Deformities in the Joints
One sign you should look for is any type of deformity in the dog’s joints. Many dogs that suffer from an advanced and untreated form of arthritis develop knots in the joints. Even if you cannot see those deformities yourself, you may feel the knots when you move your hand over the joint. These deformities can also make the joints look larger or stretched out.
Lack of Activity
You also want to keep your eyes peeled for any changes in the regular activities of your dog. If your dog always loved fetching outside, bringing you the newspaper and running through the house. You might notice that your dog slows down in its later years. Though some pet parents assume that all animals slow down as they age, your pet may no longer enjoy its favorite activities because it suffers from arthritis. The pain and swelling that your dog experiences in its joints may make it impossible for your dog to do all those activities.
Joint stiffness is another common symptom of arthritis in dogs. This often occurs after the dog sits or lays down for an extended period of time. That break period allows the joints to cool down. When the dog attempts to stand, run or move in any other way after taking a break, it may move in a jerky or stiff manner.
Your vet will determine the best course of treatment for your dog based on the severity of its arthritis. The vet may recommend a supplement like dog glucosamine, which helps build stronger and healthier joints. Some vets even recommend giving younger dogs these supplements to reduce the risk that they pet may develop arthritis later. Even with arthritis, your dog can still live a long and healthy life with your family.