Have you noticed that your dog no longer wants to play quite as much? This is one of the first signs of arthritis in dogs.
The early signs of arthritis in dogs can be anything from reduced activity levels to a slight wobble as they try to get up after a nap or some difficulty going up the stairs.
What Are the First Signs of Arthritis in Dogs?
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is a common ailment that affects many dogs as they grow older. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition, and the situation can get worse over time. Hence, it’s crucial to prevent arthritis by ensuring a nutritional diet regimen and adequate exercise to keep the joints healthy.
For larger dogs like Labradors and Golden Retrievers, arthritis may be inevitable. Bad genetics can also be a factor to determine whether your pet will develop arthritic bones. Like all diseases, treatment for arthritis is more effective when it is caught early. Here are a few early symptoms of arthritis in dogs that you should look out for.
The first sign of a dog with arthritis is that their activity levels reduce drastically. A dog who could barely wait for his daily walk may become unenthusiastic about moving or playing. Excitement levels drop, and it may be challenging to get them to move around or engage in activities that usually interest them.
Since they are not willing to exercise as usual, there’s a higher tendency for your dog’s weight to increase. This worsens the condition and puts them in more pain.
#2. Limping or Difficulty in Movement
This is another visible sign that you’ll notice when your dog has arthritis. This can be worrisome, especially if your dog has always maintained a bubbly and hyperactive personality until recently. Arthritis eats away at the cartilage that cushions the effect of the joints rubbing against each other when you move.
Imagine a well-oiled wheel that suddenly doesn’t have enough grease to roll smoothly. The creaking sound you hear when this happens is what’s happening with your dog’s joints. With arthritis, the joints begin to rub against each other, causing inflammation and making it incredibly painful to move around.
#3. Muscle Atrophy
Muscle atrophy usually occurs as a result of weakness in the hind legs. Due to inactivity and the deteriorating state of the bones, your dog’s muscles will begin to weaken.
One of the ways to quickly identify muscle atrophy is by examining your dog’s legs. One of its legs may look significantly look stiffer and smaller than the rest. Your dog may also yelp when you try to examine him – a clear sign that he is in a significant amount of pain.
#4. Licking or Nibbling at The Affected Joints
One of the tell-tale signs that your dog is uncomfortable with a part of their body is that they’ll constantly lick or nibble at the spot. When you notice that your dog is fixated on his legs, it indicates that something is wrong.
Nibbling can get so intense that the spot becomes bald as they bite off their fur, so make sure to visit the vet as soon as possible.
#5. Change in Personality
Everyone gets irritable when they’re in pain, and it’s no different for dogs. Although dogs would generally hide their pain, bothering them when they’re sore may cause them to lash out angrily.
#6. Treating Signs of Dogs with Arthritis
As your dog gets older, you’ll need to watch for any symptoms that show that they’re uncomfortable or in pain. Catching the early signs of arthritis will help you restructure your dog’s diet and routine to help ease the pain.
Pet Life can help significantly with easing your dogs pain and helping them become more active again.