A Dog’s Age and Signs of Arthritis
Degenerative diseases like arthritis in dogs can be a huge cause for concern. Not only is arthritis painful, but it often has a big impact on the quality of life of the dog. The good thing is that arthritis can be managed with a good diet and proper exercise. Therefore, knowing what age dogs typically present with signs of arthritis is important.
Determining the at what age the dogs arthritis signs become noticeable will vary depending on the dog.
Dogs usually get arthritis from the age of 8 years onwards. These are seniors and arthritis around this age is not uncommon. However, some dogs can experience arthritis from an incredibly young age. With some dogs showing signs of arthritis from as young as one year old.
Some of the causes of early-onset arthritis may include:
- Injury to the joints
- Obesity causing pressure on joints during movement
- Genetic factors
Whatever the underlying causes, it is a good idea to notice and deal with the signs of early-onset arthritis promptly.
Signs of Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis can present itself in many ways. Some arthritis signs can be spotted from the combination of the symptoms below:
- The dog seems lazy or reluctant to play or get out of bed, particularly during exercise time.
- The dog experiences stiffness when he or she gets up. Some signs of this may include limping, wimping from pain, and reluctance to move around. However, please note that your dog may be very skilled at hiding pain. Therefore, limping may not always be there in the beginning. But stiffness in the joints is always a good sign to check out.
- There is a significant reduction in muscle tone and muscle mass because of the reduced exercising.
- You may also note a loss of appetite and this could be due to the physical and emotional stress emerging from limited mobility.
If you repeatedly notice some of these symptoms, it’s time to speak to your vet. Your veterinarian will likely recommend conducting a full physical examination and an X-ray scan of the affected areas. The X-ray scan is important because it may reveal the extent of the damage to the joint – even as it confirms or rules out arthritis.
Note: All dog breeds are at risk of getting arthritis, especially in their sunset days. However, some breeds have been known to get arthritis more often than most, even in their earlier days. Some of these breeds include Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds. Small to medium dog breeds can also get arthritis, but it is less common.
Also, some conditions such as hip dysplasia make a dog more prone to developing arthritis. Hip dysplasia is attributed to genetic causes and can be a significant factor contributing to arthritics in younger dogs.
Dealing with Canine Arthritis
Thankfully, there are more than a few ways to manage the condition of arthritis in dogs. Let’s explore a few of these treatment plans.
1. Canine Chiropractor
Working with a canine chiropractor to maintain some activity to the affected joints. There have been great results with this method. A chiropractor can assess a dog’s musculoskeletal issues. Helping them to eliminate pain and stiffness to improve the dog’s overall mobility.
Acupuncture may also be applied in the affected regions to relieve pain. How does acupuncture for dogs work? Acupuncture relaxes muscles and increases oxygenation in a dog’s tissues. This helps to relieve pain not only in the affected area, but through out the dog’s body. Regular acupuncture has even helped dogs to lower the need for some medications.
At home massage can be a good way to not only provide relief to your dog but can also provide an opportunity for bonding at a difficult time in his or her life. In the same vein, regular walking and happy active games can be a good way to work the limbs of the dog. Just be sure to speak with a licensed vet or, better yet a chiropractor, so that the exercising or walks do not worsen the degenerated joint regions causing arthritis.
4. Daily Joint Supplements
Joint supplements can also help to fortify the nutrient levels necessary for strong bone and joint development. They also help to reduce inflammation and slow down the damage to the joint region. Some good joint supplements include glucosamine, chondroitin, and Green-lipped mussel or GLM.
GLM is a joint supplement that provides nutrients such as antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and glycosaminoglycan. Therefore, it makes the joint region function better. Earlier on, Glyde Mobility Chews are often prescribed because they have minimal side effects and can be used for prolonged periods of time.
5. Provide a Comfy Space to Rest
Just like humans, the area where the dog chills should be as comfortable as possible – especially when dealing with a painful region of the body. Therefore, just like you would, provide plenty of cushions so that your furry friend is not resting the affected joints on hardwoods or other hard surfaces. Comfy or cozy beds will also be much welcome.
6. Manage Your Dog’s Weight
Weight management is key to dogs dealing with arthritis and keeping your dog healthy. As previously mentioned, obese dogs are at higher risk of developing arthritis when they put pressure on joints for extended periods of time. When the dog is diagnosed with arthritis, it is a good measure to reduce the weight of the dog. Therefore, weight management is key. Physical exercising can help to keep the weight under ideal levels –so that your dog can fight arthritis effectively. Swimming is a good physical activity that helps exercise limbs while also exercising the cardiovascular system. Nonetheless, speak with your vet to determine the best regimen for reducing weight in your dog – exercise, dieting, and all.
Final Thoughts on Dog Age and Arthritis
Arthritis can be a tough condition for dogs. It is more common with older dogs that are larger sized breeds. However, they are also occasionally seen in younger and small to medium-sized dog breeds. Ultimately, arthritis is a progressive condition, meaning that earlier detection and starting treatment options earlier can be a good way to delay or stop the condition.
Therefore, keep an eye out for symptoms such as stiffness in the joints, reluctance for movement and play, and pain when moving about. Then, consulting your vet will ensure that you’re able to get the proper testing done before diving straight into panic mode. If indeed, the diagnosis is arthritis, your vet will be in a better position to advice on the next steps – with the sufficient information that the testing has generated.