How Do I Know If My Dog Has Joint Pain?

Joint pain is one of the most common problems dogs face, especially as they age. Joint pain can make it difficult for your dog to move and enjoy activities such as walking or playing. It may also cause mobility issues and affect your pooch's day to day routine. Unfortunately, dogs can't tell us when they're in pain so it's important for us to know the signs of joint pain to look after them as best we can.

Changes of behaviour


Often, when dogs experience joint pain they are more irritable and grouchy and may show aggression due to their discomfort. 

Reluctance to move

Dogs with joint pain favour sitting down when comfortable and are hesitant to move from where they are comfortable.


Some dogs experience restlessness, you can spot this if your dog is pacing and constantly changing positions. This happens because they are unable to find somewhere comfortable to rest.


Whining or yelping when moving or playing is often a sign of discomfort.

Reduced Activity

A once active dog may show a sudden drop in energy levels if they've got joint pain. Your dog is likely to become less active and would rather sit down and avoid walks.

Difficulty sleeping

If your dog has joint pain they will struggle to sleep and become restless because they're trying to find somewhere comfortable. You may notice them pacing throughout the night. 

Difficulty with going to the toilet

Dogs experiencing pain in their joints are likely to be more hesitant about going out to use the toilet. If your dog is having accidents in the house more frequently this is probably because they're reluctant to move from a comfy spot.

Physical signs

In some cases, joint pain can be spotted from physical signs compared to behavioural changes. Here are some physical signs of joint pain:


Swelling and inflammation

Inspect your dog regularly for red and swollen joints.

Muscle Atrophy

The size of your dog's muscles will decrease if they are suffering from muscular atrophy which is caused by a reduction is activity.


Another sign of joint pain is limping. Check on your dog's mobility regularly. Are they favouring one side of their body to carry all of their weight?

Doc Ferds Reico highlights symptoms that dogs display they are suffering from joint pain.

If you suspect that your dog has joint pain, it’s important to take them to the vet for assessment. Getting joint pain treated early will help your dog cope better long term. If your dog is diagnosed with a condition that affects their joints, there are many ways to help them manage their pain. These include medication, joint supplements and physical therapy. Being aware of conditions that affect dogs joints are so important to ensure your beloved pooch remains happy and healthy!

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