Whether it’s because he’s getting older, overweight, or just because of a health problem common in his breed, there are many reasons your dog may experience joint pain. Because no dog owner would like to see their pet in pain, we’ve put together a list of warning signs that can help you tell if your dog is suffering from joint pain.
Dog breeds that are most affected by joint pain
As we mentioned earlier, dogs of any age can develop pain in the hips and joints. However, there are certain breeds of dogs that are predisposed to joint pain.
These breeds include:
- Saint Bernard
- English shepherd
- German shepherd
- Golden retriever
- Alaskan Malamute
- Labrador retriever
- Great Dane
Generally, dogs that are longer than average, those who have higher BMI levels and small dogs that are bred to have specific features are the most prone to joint problems.
Symptoms of joint pain
While the signs of joint pain may be more or less noticeable, here are the main ones:
- Lack of motivation during walks
- Slower to get up in the morning
- Stiffness, lameness or slowing down
- Longer sleep
- Lack of interest in games
- Reluctance to jump in the car or get on and off the sofa.
- Excessive licking of a painful joint
- Swelling of the joints
- Muscle loss
- Moan when touched
- Sudden aggression
Causes of joint pain in dogs
Generally, joint problems in dogs fall into two main categories:
- Primary osteoarthritis related to ageing and wear and tear of one or more joints, it usually occurs in older or overweight dogs.
- Secondary osteoarthritis that develops in a joint that is not functioning correctly or has not developed properly. It can also be the result of illness.
Here are some common dog illnesses that can trigger joint pain:
- Ligaments, tendons, or muscles diseases that cause them to tear or rupture over time
- Joint fractures and injuries
- Birth disorders such as Wobbler’s syndrome or a dislocated kneecap
- Food or hormonal issues
- Metabolic disorders
- Inflammatory joint diseases such as Lyme disease or rheumatoid arthritis
Medical dog treatment for joint pain
Anti-inflammatory drugs are the primary treatment prescribed for joint pain in dogs, which many dog owners dislike. Unfortunately, these drugs have side effects in the long run. Here are some of the most common ones:
- blood in stool
- sudden weight loss
- kidney problems
How to relieve joint pain in dogs, naturally?
Not all joint pain can be treated; in many cases, dogs will have to live with their condition. It doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your companion’s quality of life and help him overcome the physical challenges he faces.
Make your home as comfortable as possible
- If your house has steps and stairs, consider installing ramps to help your dog move easily. That way, he won’t have to jump or climb any more, causing him unnecessary pain.
- Sometimes dogs ignore their pain and injure themselves while trying to climb stairs or jump on their favourite couch, so dog or baby gates can also be helpful.
- Walking on rigid and slippery surfaces can be painful for your dog, so having rugs and cushions placed in his favourite spots in the house can make his life easier.
- Invest in a soft basket or a well-padded bunk. Dogs spend an average of 12 to 14 hours a day sleeping; it is important to make this relaxation time as comfortable as possible.
Keep food and water accessible
Place their food and water bowls at a comfortable height to avoid extra pressure. If you live in a multi-story house, keep food and water bowls on all floors for easier access. Also, place the bowls on non-slip surfaces, so they stay in place while your dog drinks or feeds.
Relieve your dog with heat
You can give your dog a little extra warmth at night by wrapping a hot water bottle or microwave heating pad in a towel and placing it in his bed. It helps ease pressure and inflammation pain.
If you want to pamper your dog, consider regular grooming. Unfortunately, when dogs become less mobile, they find it difficult to reach all areas of their body during their self-grooming. With regular grooming sessions, you will be able to reach these places and in doing so, bring comfort and pleasure to your canine friend.
Help him regain his healthy weight
Dogs, like humans, tend to put on extra weight as they age. This excess weight puts tremendous additional pressure on already painful joints.
Add natural supplements to your diet
Add natural supplements to the food like turmeric, CBD from hemp, and omega-3s found in fish oil, they have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce joint pain.
Massage your dog
Dog massage not only relieves pain, but it’s also an excellent way to show your dog how much you love them.
Maintain physical activity
Continue to take your dog for a walk but keep it comfortable and avoid overexerting him.