It’s always hard to see a friend in pain, especially when it’s your dog. They can’t tell us where it hurts or how to help, and that can leave pet owners feeling powerless. Pain is a common concern in dogs, especially as they start getting older. Your dog may experience joint pain due to arthritis, injuries, orthopedic abnormalities, or even infections like Lyme disease. Identifying and addressing joint pain is essential to help your dog stay active and comfortable as long as possible.
Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs
The symptoms of joint pain in dogs can be subtle. Many pet owners will think that their dogs are “just getting older” without realizing that there is a problem. Joint pain often progresses over time, so it is important to identify it early. Common symptoms of joint pain in dogs can include:
- Difficulty getting up
- Trouble walking on slippery surfaces
- Limping or other changes in gait
- Sleeping more
- Decreased range of motion
- Decreased muscle mass
- Reluctance to run, play, or participate in usual activities
- Slowing down or tiring out more quickly
- Irritability or other changes in behavior
- Changes in urination and defecation habits
If you notice any of these symptoms of joint pain in your dog, it is time to see your veterinarian for a check-up. Your veterinarian will perform a full physical examination on your dog, including feeling your dog’s joints and assessing their range of motion. Your veterinarian may also recommend taking x-rays of your dog’s joints or running some blood tests to help identify the underlying cause of your dog’s pain.
Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs
There are many possible causes of joint pain in dogs. Although older dogs are most commonly affected by joint pain, young dogs may also experience pain as a result of injury or illness. Because joint pain can look similar regardless of the cause, it is very important to see your veterinarian to have the problem diagnosed so it can be treated appropriately. Common causes of joint pain in dogs include: