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Canine joint pain is a big concern among dog owners. Research shows that 20% of dogs will experience some joint inflammation during their lifetime. Osteoarthritis and joint pain in dogs are among the most common causes of canine mobility problems. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of canine joint pain.
Watching your closest companion get more seasoned is in no way enjoyable, yet there are a few things you can do around your home and as a team with your veterinarian to assist canines with joint pain deal with their torment and improve their joint wellbeing.
What Causes Joint Pain and Osteoarthritis in Dogs?
Painful joints can be caused by any number of things, but here are a few of the leading causes in dogs:
Genetic predisposition and dog breed
Poor conformation – often caused by poor breeding in an attempt to meet ‘breed standards’
Past joint injury or trauma
Underlying disease or condition
Osteoarthritis impacts a pet’s joint and leads to cartilage loss, causing painful joint rubbing and inflammation. Joint pain is a serious concern among senior dogs; 80% of dogs over the age of 8 suffer from joint pain. Although a dog may experience joint pain in any joint, it most commonly affects their elbows or hips. An overweight dog is four times as likely to develop a knee joint condition than a dog at their ideal weight.
Specific dog breeds have a higher risk of developing joint pain. Larger dog breeds that are considered at higher risk for developing hip or elbow issues include:
Bernese Mountain dog
Whereas some smaller purebred dog breeds have a higher risk of a patellar luxation such as:
How can you tell if your dog is experiencing joint pain?
Signs and Symptoms of Canine Joint Pain
Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of a dog’s joint pain, and the condition is also known as degenerative joint disease. Left untreated, osteoarthritis can impact a pet’s quality of life, limit their mobility and lead to expensive Veterinary bills for their parents. It affects a pet’s joint and loss of cartilage, causing painful rubbing of the joint and inflammation.
The symptoms of a dog’s joint pain will vary based on the case and the joint affected. Joint pain in dogs signs include:
Difficulty standing up
Lameness or leg weakness
Joint is painful when touched
Noticeable loss of muscle mass in the hind end
Many physical changes in a dog’s body are dismissed as a normal part of aging or signs a dog is starting to “slow down.” Any change in a dog’s behavior, routine, or mobility needs to be brought to your vet’s attention. They may be signs of mobility loss caused by joint pain or arthritis. These symptoms can be managed.
Treating a Pet’s Joint Pain
The sooner your pet sees their vet the sooner they can get on the path to healing. Your veterinarian will assess your dog’s joints and range of motion as they look for any indicators of joint pain or arthritis.
Once diagnosed, your vet will help determine the right treatment plan for your pup based off their unique case. Here are a few ways you can help your best friend:
Excess weight puts additional stress on a dog’s joints. Pet obesity can impact your dog’s health in many ways. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight can reduce the risk of them developing a joint condition later in life. Talk with your veterinarian about the ideal weight for your pet. Getting your canine down to a healthy weight reduces strain on the joints, help them feel better, and can likewise improve a dog’s mobility.
Exercise and Canine Rehabilitation for Joint Issues
Many dogs with joint issues, especially arthritis of the spine or hips, will experience muscle loss in their back legs. Working with a canine rehab specialist can help a dog maintain strength and increase its range of motion through exercise. Underwater treadmill walks and other low-impact exercises strengthen muscles that work to secure your canine’s joints.
Food and Supplements
Proper nutrition and a healthy diet can improve joint wellbeing for canines. For instance, fish oil helps decline irritation, and chondroitin and glucosamine for canines have regenerative properties for joints. Joint supplements like glucosamine can help improve a dog’s joint health. As dogs age, their nutritional requirements will shift. A routine diet of the best adult dog food, regular exercise, veterinary care, and joint supplements can help improve your dog’s joint health.
For dog’s with limited mobility due to their bad joints they may need extra help. A sling or canine lift support may the boost your dog needs to help them walk outside, up the stairs, or jumping into your car.
Dog harnesses are designed to help safely lift and support pets dealing with mobility loss. Different style harnesses are used for dogs needing support in their hips, knees, shoulders, and elbows. A harness reduces the pressure your dog places on their joints, allowing you to aid them as they stay active.
Dogs with joint problems may struggle to maintain their grip with their feet. Additional tractions helps them keep their paws securely under them for better footing. Dog boots or traction socks prevent slipping, sliding, and provide a better foothold to avoid slipping in senior or arthritic dogs. Proper paw traction gives dogs confidence to walk safely across slippery indoor floors.
Provide Joint Support
Supporting the joint with a soft wrap or splint can help relieve joint pain. A dog leg brace can help pets with arthritis and joint issues to restore mobility and relieve pain. When light joint support is needed a soft wrap the hugs the joint can be used, however a dog splint provides more rigid support for more advanced joint conditions. Support a dog’s joint to encourage mobility during exercise and promote an active lifestyle..