Dogs can suffer from joint pain, and unfortunately it may become debilitating for certain dogs. While larger dogs tend to be more affected by joint pain, all dogs are susceptible. There are several common causes, as well as many typical symptoms.Additionally, there are also numerous forms of treatment, many of which do not include medication.
What Causes Joint Pain In Dogs?
Joint Pain in dogs is usually due to a breed specific or hereditary trait that predisposes a dog. With larger dogs that weigh more, that weight is of course placed on the joints. Those dogs are more likely to have joint related problems, such as dysplasia in various joints, such as the hip or elbow.
Additionally, joint pain can be caused by issues that have slowly developed in a specific dog. This is often due to overuse, age, or excessive weight. Smaller dogs are especially susceptible to joint pain when they are overweight. For some smaller dogs, one extra pound may increase their risk of joint pain. This in turn may cause osteoarthritis as their joints/ligaments/tendons have been excessively used.
What Are The Symptoms of Joint Pain?
While joint pain does not appear over night, common symptoms throughout all breeds include:
- Pain while sitting, lying down, and of course standing.
- Difficulty when getting up or moving from one position to another
- Swelling in the joint(s)
- Limping or favoring one side or another
- Decreased activity for the specific dog compared to previous behavior
- Difficulty maneuvering up and down stairs
What are the treatment options?
First and foremost, if your dog’s symptoms persist longer than a week, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she will be able to assess the situation and provide a concrete treatment plan tailored for your dog.
Typically, joint pain is treated with a variety of non-surgical options. For many dogs, the first step in treating joint pain is reducing and/or managing the dog’s weight. A dog that weighs less will reduce strain on the joints and consequently reduce inflammation caused by the excess weight.
Also, dogs with joint pain typically benefit from strengthening its muscles. A higher percentage of muscle mass aides in protecting the joints. For many dogs, this could simply mean additional walking or other exercise.
A veterinarian may also recommend diet change. Many commercially available dog foods contain ingredients which may be more beneficial than others. For example, certain foods, like fish, have been shown to decease inflammation. Other foods, like grains, are said to cause inflammation.