9 Signs Your Dog May Have Arthritis

Do you suspect your dog may have arthritis? Early detection and treatment are key to minimizing the negative effects arthritis can have on your dog. So how do you know if your dog has arthritis? Your beloved dog may have some communication ability, but he or she certainly can't talk. The best thing you can do is look for common signs that many dogs exhibit when experiencing arthritis problems.

Here are 9 signs that your dog may have arthritis:

1) Favoring a limb or limping

Is your dog walking like a pimp with a limp? Your dog may favor placing weight on one limb or one side of the body because they are experiencing more pain in the other limbs.

2) Difficulty sitting or standing

Your dog is getting up more slowly than before and appears to struggle to get up. The same happens when they sit down. You dog may appear reluctant and slow to sit and may even be in obvious pain when trying to sit or stand.

3) Sleeping more

Sleeping more than usual, your dog seems to prefer sleep over activity.

4) Seeming to have stiff or sore joints

You dog seems less flexible than before, not able to jump or move like they used to, and appears to be in pain when attempting activities they once performed easily.

5) Hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs

Your dog is hesitant to jump, run, or climb stairs, seemingly aware that they just can't do it like they used to.

6) Weight gain

Your dog has gained a significant amount of weight. This may be due to increased inactivity. Weight gain only worsens your dog's condition and pain.

7) Decreased activity or less interest in play

Your dog doesn't seem to get exited about playing anymore. They just don't seem interested in their favorite old games.

8) Attitude or behavior changes

Lethargic behavior, change of general mood, or outright appearance of depression. These can be signs that your dog is in pain and or depressed.

9) Being less alert

Decreased interest in their surroundings, decreased reaction time, or not noticing or caring about things they used to be attentive to.

If your dog is experiencing any of these common signs of dog arthritis, it may be time to take action. But what should you do? The best place to start is to take your dog to the veterinarian for an arthritis evaluation. This will involve a physical exam and possibly X-rays. Only your veterinarian can properly diagnose whether your dog has arthritis, or if the symptoms are due to some other ailment.

If the vet confirms that your dog indeed has arthritis, then the best thing to do is start a treatment plan as soon as possible.

A treatment plan for dog arthritis may include:

- A healthy diet and exercise to maintain your dog's proper weight.

- Determining the proper medication or supplement plan with your vet and following up with regular visits to ensure the medication is effective and relieving your dog's pain.

- The most common pharmaceutical treatment for dogs with arthritis, (NSAIDS) Nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Metacam, the top prescription treatments for arthritis related conditions in dogs.

- Over the counter pet meds such as pills or food that contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, or Omega fatty acids. Both have been scientifically proven to help relieve arthritis symptoms. The top treatments are considered to be Cosequin and Cosequin DS, which are available in multi-packs or single bottles.

- Lastly, in some cases a Veterinarian prescribed NSAID AND an over-the-counter treatment may be used together effectively to decrease pain and overall disease progression.

Never give dogs human medications, they not work the same for dogs and may even be toxic. Always work with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment for your beloved companion and together you will find the most effective treatment possible.

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