Arthritis: 6 Signs Your Senior Dog is Suffering

As your dogs grow older it’s important to monitor their health. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from the aches and pains that come from arthritis.

Have you noticed some limping or differences in their walk?

Read on to see some of the most common signs that your dog may be suffering.

Purebred Golden Retriever dog outdoors on a sunny summer day

Differences in Their Behavior

Sometimes you can tell when your dog just isn’t acting right. You might not know what is causing it or what to make of it, but this is one sign to look out for. Any shifts in behavior should be cause for alarm in your pet. They can’t tell you themselves what is wrong so they will ultimately be relying on you to be paying attention.

It could be something small. They could be acting more agitated than normal and snapping at people. Some of the bigger clues would be lack of appetite, soiling in the house, or not acting as cuddly as usual. It’s best to see if there is anything that could explain these changes in your dog and take them into the vet.

Constant Repositioning               

You may notice that your dog just can’t seem to get comfortable. If their joints are hurting them, it makes sense that they would keep shifting their weight and trying out different positions. Dogs don’t really change just to try something new- if they are doing something different it’s usually due to pain and discomfort.

Difficulty Moving

As to be expected, arthritis can make it hard to move and do normal day to day activity. If your dog starts to limp, tremble, or move very slowly they may have arthritis pain they are dealing with. There are even times where the limp is the worst when they first wake up and then gets better as they walk around and move. Overweight senior dogs are going to have a higher risk of developing arthritis.

Expressing Pain

While your dog can’t say “ow!” every time they hurt themselves, you might notice them whining or crying. This could be when they are moving around or while you’re petting them. Alternatively you might find them barking less than usual, because they find it too much of a hassle. If not verbally, you may find them communicating in other ways. If they begin to lick, chew or bite the affected area more, they may have arthritis.

Problems with their Spine

Arthritis doesn’t just affect your dog’s joints; it can affect their spine as well. You might find them holding their head differently or developing a hunch in their back when they stand. Also, if you think they may be having back problems, pay attention to their hind legs and how mobile they are.

Catching More Zzz’s Than Usual

You may find your dog getting tired more easily. They may take frequent naps and their daily walks might get shorter. If they are suffering with joint pain, sleep is a way to get back some energy and assist in healing.

Your vet can help you to determine if they are suffering from arthritis and joint pain. If you think your dog showing any of these signs, take them to a professional in order to see how you can best help them.