Spotting the Early Signs of Arthritis in Dogs


Identifying the early signs of arthritis in dogs is essential to ensure early intervention and provide the necessary care. Impacting dogs of all ages and breeds this common condition can be prevented and managed with early detection.

1. Reduced Mobility
One of the earliest signs of arthritis in dogs is a noticeable change in their mobility and behaviour. Pay attention to the following indicators:

  • Reluctance to engage in physical activities or play as before
  • Stiffness, especially after resting or sleeping for an extended period
  • Lagging behind on walks or exhibiting a change in gait pattern
  • Showing signs of pain or discomfort, such as whimpering or yelping when moving

2. Limping or Favouring Certain Limbs
Limping or favouring of specific limbs can indicate joint pain and arthritis. Observe your dog's movement and how they distribute their weight while walking or standing. If you notice any asymmetry or a consistent tendency to favour a particular leg, it may be an early sign of arthritis.

3. Changes in Appetite and Weight
Dogs with arthritis may experience a reduced appetite or a decrease in activity level, leading to weight gain. Conversely, some dogs may lose weight due to the discomfort caused by arthritis. Monitor their food intake, and body condition, and consult with your veterinarian if you notice any significant changes.

4. Behavioural Changes and Irritability
Joint pain can make dogs irritable, as movement becomes more challenging and uncomfortable for them. Keep an eye out for any behavioural changes or increased irritability in your dog. They may become more snappy, growl when touched in certain areas, or show signs of aggression when approached. While behavioural changes can have various causes, they can be an early indicator of arthritis in senior dogs.

5. Changes in Daily Activities
Arthritis can impact a dog's ability to perform daily activities that were once effortless. Changes in their ability to sit, lie down, or get up from resting positions may be early signs of joint degeneration.

It's important to remember that early intervention is critical when it comes to managing arthritis in dogs. By taking proactive steps to identify and address the early signs of this condition, you can help ensure that your furry friend stays comfortable and active.