Why do dogs get joint pain?

Symptoms of joint pain in dogs

Dog joint pain is a common condition that negatively impacts the quality of life in dogs of all ages

One of the most common problems that dogs face is joint pain. This can become more of a problem when your dog ages. Some of the symptoms of joint pain in dogs include changes in their behaviour, such as irritability and reluctance to move. Joint pain is often identified by physical signs such as swelling, limping and muscle atrophy. It is important to keep an eye out for these signs to make sure your pup gets the care and support they need to stay happy and healthy.


Causes of joint pain in dogs

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition, often seen in large or giant breed dogs, although it can occur in smaller breeds, as well

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that is commonly seen in large or giant breed dogs. For dogs with this condition, the ball and socket don’t fit or develop properly and doesn't allow them to glide smoothly. This causes the joint to deteriorate over time and in turn cause pain in your dog's joints.



Dr. Anthony Cambridge, a veterinary surgery, talks about what Hip Dysplasia is and how to recognise if you dog has this problem.


Elbow dysplasia

Conditions like elbow or hip dysplasia are examples of more serious injuries this could lead to down the line

Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia in that it involves abnormal bone growth and development that cause a dog's joint to not fit properly. This causes irregular weight distribution that wears down the joint over time. Both hip and elbow dysplasia can be caused by your dog's genetics and often develop improperly when they are young.


Injury of tendons

Injuries to the tendons and ligaments that support the joints can lead to joint pain. Ruptured ligaments, such as the cranial cruciate ligament (similar to a human ACL) are common injuries in dogs that cause joint pain in your dog. 



Osteoarthritis can be difficult to detect in its early stages, and often the symptoms do not become apparent until the affected joint is badly damaged

Just like us, dogs can get arthritis or osteoarthritis, causing a lot of discomfort for your dog. It is an inflammation of the joints and causes your pup to have difficulty moving and joint pain. As this is a progressive disease the symptoms gradually get worse over years if not treated.



Rooted in genetics

Hip, elbow and stifle arthritis respectively are conditions believed to be primarily genetic in origin

There are many dog breeds that are susceptible to joint pain throughout their life. Bigger breeds such as Rottweilers are likely to develop knee and ankle joint problems. Other breeds such as Bernese mountain dogs and Newfoundlands commonly develop elbow dysplasia. Arthritis in dogs is often influenced by genetics, if a dog's joint is not fully formed they are likely to develop arthritis later in life.


How to relieve joint pain  

There are a number of ways to help relieve your dog's joint pain and make their life a bit easier. To accommodate a dog with joint pain, make adjustments to your house. Block off stairs and look at orthopaedic dog beds to make your pooch more comfortable.

Other options include medications prescribed by your vet or joint supplements.

Daily moderate exercise is beneficial for dogs, so take them for short walks throughout the day to support their joints.

With joint pain, split your dog's hour walk into four shorter sessions, however if your dog is uncomfortable when walking it is best to contact your vet.

Moderate exercise is an effective way of managing your dog's weight, if your dog is overweight it can cause increased pressure on joints.


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