Just like people, as dogs get older they have a tendency to take on certain aliments that the youth are generally exempt from. One such thing would be arthritis. And where we would not like to think upon our canine companions in a state of pain from this condition, it has been reported that it is very common in dogs. There are three main forms of arthritis in dogs. These are Osterarthritis, Immune related arthritis, and infective arthritis. Here are a few signs that your dog may have arthritis.
Limping or favoring one side of the body
As arthritis attacks a joint, pressure on the limb would cause pain for your pet. If you notice that your dog has shifted its weight to one leg or one side of the body, it may be an indicator. Also, look for your dog raising up a leg when he/she walks. Where this may be a sign of a more severe problem (such as a broken leg or an animal bite) this can also be a sign of arthritis. Your dog may also scoot across the floor more. This is due to the pressure and pain caused by arthritis (of course if the dog is scooting its butt across the floor it is probably not arthritis but worms). Look for the legs dragging or a slow crawl.
Difficulty Standing or Sitting
Older dogs, especially, may find that sitting or standing is difficult. If your dog gets up a bit slower than it used to it may be a sign. However, consider that age does affect your dog as well as you. Just because your dog does not have that spring in their step does not mean they have arthritis. It may simply be old age. You are looking for abnormal behavior. Your dog may appear to be disobedient (for example they will not sit on command or come to you), more irritable when sitting, or whine when walking. These are signs that arthritis may be present.
An increase in weight
Dogs that are active work off what they eat much in the same way that we as human do. Inactivity will cause your dog to gain weight. If your dog is not moving about like they used to or if you notice that your dog is sleeping more frequently, it could be a sign that your dog has arthritis. If your dog is not excited about play time, walking, or jumping about, it could also be a sign. Remember, these are not definitive markers. Your dog could also just be depressed.
A short temper
Passive dogs may start to show aggression if arthritis is present. As anything (human or animal) is more likely to show aggression and irritation when in pain, this should be taken as an indicator. Take special note of when the aggression occurs. Where the aggression may linger, those dogs which tend to get more irritable when sitting or walking may have arthritis.
What to do if you see the signs
As stated, these are signs and may or may not mean that your dog has arthritis. It is best to visit your vet and see the best course of action to take. In the meantime, try to make your dog as comfortable as possible.
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