Dog owners should keep a eye out for signs of pain affecting their pets’ joints. Joint pain should never be ignored or shrugged off as only being a part of the aging process, because the problem will only get worse if left untreated. Conditions affecting canine joints can result in deterioration that could severely affect your dog’s quality of life.
Things Slow Down
When joint pain begins, it takes a keen eye to spot it in a dog. One indicator may be that your dog is not quite able to do the everyday activities with ease as it once could. Perhaps your pooch is unable to bound effortlessly into the backseat of your car like it had always done in the past. Maybe now it is having trouble making it to the end of your normal walking route. A general slowing down in regular, normal activities could be an indication that the dog is experiencing discomfort within its joints. If this is ignored, further damage may occur; one of the best solutions will be to see your veterinarian at the onset of the problem.
Dogs feeling joint pain may seem to be stiff, lame, or lethargic. They may struggle to get off the floor or to ambulate up and down stairs. Their reluctance to play or run about could be misinterpreted as being lazy when, in fact, they are too sore to do those activities. Depending on the severity of pain in your dog’s joints, you may notice that it becomes irritable or winces when a person tries to pet it or engage it in play. Your dog could begin holding its limb up or using it in a way that seems unnatural.
Accidents Can Happen
Unfortunately, joint pain can affect the animal’s ability to urinate or defecate. It can be a pitiful sight to see the dog struggling to position its body as it relieves its bowel or bladder. Having accidents in the house is another sign of joint pain in a dog. Behavior changes like these should be discussed with your vet. Whether the difference stems from joint pain or something else, it is of the utmost importance to find out for sure. Putting off treatment for any medical condition could be incredibly harmful for your pet’s wellbeing.
Weight Gain and Loss of Muscle Tone
As joint pain intensifies, your dog may begin to lose its muscle mass in its limbs and over its spine because it is doing less and less during each passing day. Without regular exercise and activity, obesity may set in. It may come as no surprise that obesity is actually one factor that can cause joint pain. Dogs that are overweight are at risk for developing joint pain and other serious problems.
Predisposition in Some Dogs
Besides obesity, there are a few other factors that may cause a dog to be more prone to having joint pain than other dogs. First, age and size matter. As your dog gets older, you will want to remember to observe it for problems in its joints. As for size, large dogs like Labradors and German shepherds often experience joint pain at some point in their lives. Some breeds are more likely to have it, too, even though they may not be a large breed; this is an issue that should be discussed with the breeders if you are purchasing a purebred.
Knowing about past problems in its lineage, whether they be degenerative problems or developmental problems, can help you when it comes to training your dog to be easy on its joints. Hip or elbow dysplasia are two common developmental problems that can lead to joint pain. Knowing that your dog could have issues like these in the future may help you in deciding if a particular breed will be the one you want to match your activities and lifestyle. For instance, if you intend to play frisbee or jump from docks into lakes together, know that activities such as these will be hard on your pet’s joints.
Together with your veterinarian, you can discover a range of treatment options for controlling the pain your dog is suffering in its joints. While some dogs may need surgery to repair or replace their joints, others may be able to find relief with medications or diet changes. If you spot the signs of joint pain in your dog, take action without delay.