Caitlin UltimoHealth / Symptoms & Solutions

Dog Arthritis Symptoms and What You Can Do to Help

Most pet owners are familiar with the approximate age rule of 1 human year being equivalent to 7 dog years. While the jury is still out on the exact math behind the equation, one thing is for certain—our pets age much faster than we do.

And, just like humans, certain health conditions that accompany old age, such as arthritis, can sneak up on our four-legged family members if we aren’t familiar with dog arthritis symptoms and signs of pet pain or discomfort. Arthritis is the painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. This condition is a common ailment seen in old dogs and can be difficult to manage if not identified and cared for properly. According to Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, consulting veterinarian for and small animal veterinarian of Greeley, CO, “Arthritis is a… disease that causes pain and suffering in millions of dogs [and] there are several causes of [the condition]. The most common [being] simple wear and tear [with] a majority of dogs over the age of seven [having] some level of arthritis, simply due to age.”

As with most health-related conditions, prevention and early detection of dog arthritis symptoms are key to hindering the disease. Arthritis prevention includes owner education and utilizing the proper supplements to help avoid early onset. “Developmental joint disease, such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, causes joints to grow abnormally, which can predispose animals to develop arthritis, but… even Chihuahuas can develop [the condition],” says Dr. Wooten. VetriScience GlycoFlex Stage III Ultimate Strength Joint Support Bite-Sized Dogs Chews are recommended by veterinarians and are designed to maintain comfort and mobility in pups of all weight ranges and activity levels through all stages of life. These chews have been clinically proven to increase hind leg strength by up to 41% in just 4 weeks and are naturally flavored with real chicken.

Dog arthritis symptoms can be subtle, so knowing what to look out for is critical in identifying any signs of pain or discomfort your senior dog may be experiencing. Although commonly believed that slowing down is a normal behavior in older pets, it can actually be a sign of disease, pain or dysfunction, and should not be taken lightly. “Some dogs… are incredibly stoic and will wag their tails happily, even if they are in severe pain,” says Dr. Wooten. So, if your furry friend is exhibiting symptoms such as limping, decreased muscle mass, lack of interest in activities, increased moodiness, more frequent sleep, hesitation with stairs or entering the car, stiffness in cold weather, dragging on walks and trouble sleeping or getting comfortable, he may be suffering from arthritis pain, which should be assessed by a professional. Because larger-breed dogs are more prone to the disease, providing your pup with an appropriate health supplement for dog joints specific to his needs is key. The Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Soft Chews Joint Health Large Dog Supplement is formulated with the highest quality ingredients, including natural avocado and soybean extracts. It helps block enzymes in joints that break down cartilage while supporting the reparation and regeneration of new cartilage in dogs over 60 pounds.

“It isn’t always possible to prevent arthritis, but there are steps you can take to help safeguard your dog from this debilitating disease, [and] the most important thing… is nutrition and proper weight management,” says Dr. Wooten. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available to help keep your pup healthy. American Journey Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Liquid Dog Supplement is a multi-benefit supplement that can boost your pet’s skin, coat, immune system and joint health. In addition to its tasty flavor and natural, omega-3 fatty acids to support skin and coat health, this supplement comes in a convenient squeeze bottle with drip-free cap, making it easy to add to your furry friend’s dog food at mealtime.

When considering a supplement for dog joints, it’s important to review your options and choose one that is right for your four-legged family member. “It’s important to keep [dogs, especially those]… with arthritis… active to preserve muscle mass. Keep in mind that if a dog is [in pain], he… won’t want to exercise, so make sure that his pain is controlled,” says Dr. Wooten. For multi-pet households, NaturVet Glucosamine DS Plus MSM & Chondroitin Dog & Cat Soft Chews are formulated to maintain joint flexibility and function while supporting healthy hips in adult pets. Containing important antioxidants to help protect against cell damage and alleviate aches and discomfort associated with daily exercise, these chewy bites are an option your whole furry family can enjoy.

Arthritis can be an emotional and physical challenge to humans and animals alike. And because our four-legged best friends can’t fend for themselves when it comes to health, it’s up to us, as owners, to stay informed of the ways to prevent the disease as well as the signs and symptoms that can indicate a problem. With the variety of products that support dog joints and pain meds for pets, there are many helpful choices to help slow down the progression of arthritis, reduce pain and improve your pet’s quality of life. And remember, if you suspect that your pup is suffering from dog arthritis symptoms, be sure to speak with your veterinarian about the supplement options that are right for your pup before introducing any changes into his diet.