Spinal Arthritis in Dogs: Signs & Treatment

Just like humans, dogs also suffer from arthritis during their old age. Spinal arthritis happens to be one of the most common types of bones diseases in dogs. They are caused by a prolonged degeneration of the joints and the connective tissues in the spine.

Degeneration is a gradual process and continues to become severe as the years pass by. Spinal arthritis is not fatal but causes your dog a lot of discomfort and pain. It also leads to various other problems related to health in your dog and makes him lethargic.

Symptoms of Spinal Arthritis in Dogs

Dog back brace for spinal arthritis

Spinal arthritis leads to stiffness in the whole body, impacting the dog’s range of motion, making your pet less agile, and affecting mobility. Along with back pain, dogs with spinal arthritis can also experience bone spurs and swelling around the nerves.

The difference in the pet’s mobility can be easily seen, and the changes in activity level is noticeable. Running becomes clumsy and stiff. And it may take longer for your pet to climb up the stairs. These symptoms can also be contributed to getting older, but it is important to let your Vet know what you’re observing.

What is Spinal Arthritis?

Arthritis affecting the spinal cord is more common in dogs than you may think. As the dogs age, the cartilage present in their joints becomes thin and the cartilage cells die. While the cartilage cells die, they produce enzymes that cause inflammation of the joint and excess release of the joint fluid. Over a period of time, the cartilage becomes thinner and causes the bone beneath it to deteriorate.

Osteoarthritis of the spine primarily impacts senior pets, as the dog ages their spine gets weaker. Most often the condition occurs due to wear and tear on the spinal column. This form of arthritis can be painful and many dogs experience extreme stiffness.

Common signs of Arthritis of the Spine include:

  • Difficulty in moving up or down the stairs
  • Struggling to lay down or get back up
  • Crying out in pain while moving
  • Altered gait or standing positions
  • Slow response rate
  • Lethargy or clumsiness
  • Stiff gait, especially when it is cold outside
  • Obsessive licking in the joint area

How Can I Manage My Dog’s Arthritis?

There are several different treatment options to manage your dog’s arthritis pain. After the diagnosis, the vet may recommend a natural supplement to stimulate the bone tissue and ligament growth. A change in your pet’s diet may help to slow down the degeneration of your dog’s bones and joints. Adding exercise to your dog’s daily routine and changes in his lifestyle will definitely help in improving his arthritis.

Dog Supplements

Dog joint supplements are a great way to ensure that your dog is receiving extra nutrition that he wouldn’t probably get from his kibble diet. Joint supplements aim at building up the bone tissue and accelerating the recovery process. It is very important to pick up the right supplement for your dog. By combining supplements and the right pet food that fit the nutritional requirements of your dog will be beneficial for them. A balanced ratio of fatty acids like Omega 6 and Omega 3 will prove to very healthy for your dog.

Natural Pain Relief for Arthritic Dogs

There is no better way to treat a physical ailment than a natural remedy that causes no side effects. However, make sure you have done your research and speak to your vet before changing your pet’s treatment plan. You will find hundreds of natural remedies and recipes on the internet, but they not be given by a well-qualified scientist or practitioner.


Tumeric is added to dog-supplements as it has anti-inflammatory properties that help with reducing inflammation and redness. It also acts as an antiseptic. Give it to your dog in the form of a paste or just mix some with milk and serve it to your dog. It has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and is guaranteed to give the desired results over a period of time.

Mobility Assistance for Arthritic Pets

dog wheelchair for disabled bernese mountain dog

Ensuring your dog gets proper exercise and maintains a healthy activity level will help to keep your dog young. With spinal arthritis, make sure they are getting proper back support. Sudden movements may jar your dog’s back or cause unneeded pain.

A back brace will help to support the spine and encourage proper movement. If your dog’s arthritis pain is more severe they may also ache in their legs and hips. With the help of a dog wheelchair, you can relieve some of the stress on your best friend’s legs with proper support and help them to get the exercise they need. If additional spinal support is need while in their wheelchair a neoprene belly support is a great solution. Keep your dog moving, an active dog is a happy dog!

Hydrotherapy Benefits for Pets with Arthritis

Chow Swimming

During hydrotherapy sessions, a physical therapy specialist guides your pet through water-based activity. These activities have therapeutic benefits and are great exercise. A treadmill is placed inside the water tank and allowing the dog to run or walk on it. While the water supports the body, it also acts as a resistance, applying pressure on the desired joints.

If additional support is needed during the session, your dog wheelchair can join them for their treadmill sessions! Hydrotherapy is the perfect blend of weight training and also reducing the pain while working out.

Hydrotherapy is beneficial for pets with many conditions including rear end weakness and post-surgery recovery.

Pharmaceuticals for Canine Arthritis

Adequan injections have been considered a standard for treating arthritis and other degenerative bone diseases in dogs. Adequan helps in building the cartilage, needed for repairing the body tissues. This treatment can relieve pain and reduce inflammation in the affected joint. However, Adequan is an expensive treatment and a lengthy process. The initial treatment requires six injections over three weeks.

With proper pet care, your dog’s arthritis pain can be managed, your Veterinarian can provide medical advice and discuss the best treatment plan for your pet.

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