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Arthritis in dogs is the same as arthritis in humans, it affects the joints causing inflammation, swelling and pain. Arthritis occurs in unhealthy joints where the bone ends rub together. This means that when a dog is on the move friction is caused, therefore resulting in pain. There is no real cause for arthritis in dogs, as with humans, but some dog breeds and humans are simply more susceptible to the condition - although there are things that can be done to help reduce the chances of developing arthritis at an older age.
Generally speaking, larger dog breeds are most susceptible to arthritis. In Pugs or Chihuahuas, for example, the cases of arthritis are relatively low. Those that are more susceptible to arthritis are as follows:
Dogs that are prone to injury, for example working dogs or high-activity dogs, have a higher chance of developing arthritis in later stages of their lives, due to more demand being put on their joints.
The symptoms of dog arthritis are very much the same as in humans so, if you yourself are affected by arthritis, it may be quite easy to spot in your furry companion. However, if you are not familiar with arthritis, the PDSA Vets suggests the following signs to look out for:
If you spot any of the symptoms listed above and have cause for concern that your dog may have arthritis, the best thing to do is seek your vet’s advice. Human medication to treat arthritis is not safe for dogs and can lead to fatalities, so you must always seek professional vet advice and dog-friendly medication if that is required. Typically, dog arthritis is managed with dog-safe anti-inflammatories.
Despite there being no current cure for arthritis, managing the pain is a possibility that can ensure your dog lives a more fulfilling and happy life. You can also include joint supplements to their diet, which can be introduced at any time, so if your dog is on the list of most susceptible dog breeds, you may want to introduce these into their diet from a younger age to help maintain healthy joints and bones.
Much like in us humans, sleeping on the floor is no good for our joints, and this can be the same for dogs. Ensure that from a young age your dog has a comfortable place to sleep, whether this is during the day or night, as this will help take pressure off their joints. Investing in a comfortable dog bed, or an orthopaedic dog bed (especially good, as they’re specifically tailored for taking pressure off joints) is certainly worth-while.
Here is our list of top tips to preventing arthritis in dogs. All of which can help support joint health and, therefore, reduce the likelihood of developing arthritis at an older age:
Dogs that are inactive or who do not get sufficient exercise can often develop stiffness of their joints at a younger age, which can then lead to arthritis down the line.
Do not overfeed your dog and ensure that they are fed a nutritious diet. Try to include joint-friendly treats or supplements to their diet from a young age. Laughing Dog’s Wheat Free Oaties and Chewy Boosts are perfect (containing glucosamine, chondroitin and other great ingredients for joint care) and can be fed to any dog over the age of 12 weeks.
Whether it be your bed or their own, you need to ensure they are not frequently sleeping on a hard floor.
If you are bathing them or going out on wet walks always, always ensure that you are drying your pet off properly, so that they are not shivering. The cold can get into your pet’s joints and lead to deterioration.