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Understanding Your Dog’s Joints - From Pain To Relief

Written by Ella White


Dog running after ball

As humans get older, we start to notice aches and pains in our joints. Often they’re just caused by stiffness or inactivity, but they can be the result of bigger issues like arthritis. And the same can be said for dogs. 

Osteoarthritis is one of the leading illnesses in dogs. It’s one of those things that comes with old age, as their joints get tired and the tissue begins to wear down. But there are plenty of steps you can take to help protect your dogs joints throughout their life, so they can avoid joint problems and stay active for longer.

What Causes Joint Pain In Dogs?

Both developmental and degenerative issues can cause joint pain in dogs and the best way to tell the source of your dog’s problem is by their age. Younger dogs shouldn’t suffer with their joints so if they are, it’s likely to be a developmental issue. Older dogs, on the other hand, can often experience joint problems as a result of degenerative issues.

If your dog has a developmental joint problem, like hip or elbow dysplasia, it’s likely to be hereditary. Some breeds are more likely to develop these problems so owners can be prepared to treat them as and when they arise.

Degenerative problems, which develop over time, are usually caused by age or overuse. Years of wear and impact on their joints can lead to arthritis and other ligament diseases. As your dog ages, keep an eye on their movements and consider adding a supplement for joint support to their diet.

Symptoms Of Joint Pain In Dogs

In most cases the signs of joint issues in dogs will appear gradually. If you notice a sudden onset of symptoms, it could be that they’ve suffered an injury and need to be treated by a vet immediately. 

These are the symptoms to look out for that could suggest your dog is in pain due to joint problems.

  • Swollen or stiff joints
  • Struggling to sit, stand, or lie down
  • Struggling to get up
  • Struggling to climb the stairs or get in and out of the car
  • Walking slowly or refusing to walk
  • Less willing to run or jump
  • Less interested in their normal activities
  • Limping or keeping one leg or paw off the ground
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping more
  • Excessive licking of joints
  • Reduced muscle around the joints
  • Yelping or whining when touched

Which Dog Breeds Are More Likely To Suffer From Joint Pain?

Genetically, some breeds are naturally more predisposed to joint issues than others. And though, in some cases, there will be little that dog owners can do to stop these problems from occurring, there are steps you can take to help delay or prevent any pain. 

Though all dogs can struggle with their joints, owners of these breeds should be aware that they’re more susceptible to joint pain, and consider supplementing their diet with nutrients to support their joints.

  • American Bulldogs
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxers
  • Chihuahuas
  • Dachshunds
  • English Bulldogs
  • German Shepherds
  • Great Danes
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Mastiffs 
  • Miniature Poodles
  • Pugs
  • St. Bernards 
  • Welsh Corgis
  • Yorkshire Terriers

Way To Treat Joint Pain In Dogs

If your dog’s symptoms show no signs of going away, you should consult your vet. A professional will be able to advise you on the best course of medication depending on the type and severity of your dog’s problems.

However, if your dog’s symptoms are mild, or you own a breed that would benefit from life-long joint support as a preventative measure, there are some at-home tips you can use to try to ease their joint pain.

1. Manage Their Weight

Overweight or obese dogs are more likely to suffer from joint problems due to the excess strain it puts on them. The longer your dog is overweight, the longer they are degenerating their joints. It’s important to make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight because this can also lead to a host of other health issues. Assess your dog’s diet, and make sure they are walked often and long enough.

2. Strength Training

Regular exercise keeps your dog’s joints supple and strong through moderate activity. But like humans, they can also benefit from specific exercises designed to strengthen their muscles and joints. The better your dog’s muscle mass and muscle function, the better it will be at providing support to their joints. Physical therapy and agility sessions can help to tone a dog’s muscles, and improve their joints.

3. Medications

If your dog has chronic or long-term joint issues there are a number of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be administered by a vet to help them live a pain-free life.

4. Make Modifications At Home

Small changes at home can help your dog move around with ease, especially if they’re suffering with arthritis. Nonslip mats and rugs will help if you have slippery floors like hardwood or linoleum. Place them at either end of the staircase and near the sofa and bed or anywhere else they might jump up to. 

Ideally, your staircase should be blocked off so they don’t attempt to climb it without your supervision. And if they struggle to get comfy when lying down an orthopedic bed might help support their joints so they can get a better night’s sleep. And in extreme cases you might even consider a harness to carry them around to reduce any impact on their limbs.

5. Dietary Supplements

Supplementing your dog’s diet with ingredients that are rich in health-giving nutrients can help keep their joints, muscles, and tissue strong. Front of the Pack’s Move supplement is designed for mobility support. It promotes healthy joint function and inflammatory response, as well as healthy cartilage metabolism and flexibility to help your dog stay active and healthy as they age.

It’s made with:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin that help maintain cartilage strength
  • MSM that repairs the cartilage and muscle that cushion hips and joints
  • Collage and Curcumin that relieve stiffness and discomfort

So whether your dog has developed joint problems or is predisposed to them and you’re seeking ways to delay their pain there are plenty of ways you can help support your dog’s joints.