Arthritis is one of the most common health problems in older dogs so as an owner you will most likely have to deal with it at some point during your dog’s life. But did you know that even young dogs can begin to feel arthritic symptoms well before middle age? Arthritis causes inflammation within the joint that can range from mildly painful to downright excruciating, the latter resulting in complete immobility. Though arthritis cannot be cured, there are various remedies and procedures that can help ease the pain for your pet. Consult your veterinarian for advice if you believe your pup may be suffering from arthritis. Here are five common signs to look for.
1. Difficulty Moving and Limping
It’s quite common to see your pet favoring one of his legs or paws from time to time but take note if he’s trading one more tenderly on a regular basis. In most circumstances, look for pain early in the morning or during cold days, before your pup has a chance to “warm up” the affected joint. Also, watch for activities, your pooch is now reluctant to participate in, especially activities that he used to enjoy, like playing fetch or jumping on and off a sofa.
As arthritis takes its toll on your pet, they are faced to exert more physical effort to accomplish even the most common tasks. This results in more frequent naps or a general disinterest in activities they used to enjoy.
As in humans, animals in discomfort are quicker to anger. They may snap and/or bite when approached or handled, particularly if the petting or handling takes place in a manner that increases their pain.
4. Chewing and Biting Their Skin
Dogs suffering from arthritis may begin to lick at, chew or bite at body areas that are painful. This may even reach the point of causing inflamed skin and hair loss over affected areas.
5. Incontinence or Bed Wetting
Dogs suffering from arthritis may also develop incontinence because nerve impairment caused by arthritis may also affect the muscle tone and proper functioning of the urinary tract as well as the discomfort in having to leave their beds to use the bathroom.
If you have an older dog with urinary incontinence, see if he is also showing signs of arthritis.