Puppy Pain: Symptoms and Treatments of Arthritis in Dogs

Just like us, our dogs joints start to ache as they get older, especially if they’re a bigger dog. Arthritis in dogs is treatable. Learn more here.

As they get older, dogs start to suffer from some of the same ailments that elderly humans do. One such ailment is arthritis, a condition that affects around 20% of middle-aged dogs and 90% of elderly dogs.

Has your dog’s behavior changed as of late? If so, he or she could very well be suffering from arthritis.

Curious as to the symptoms of arthritis in dogs? Wondering what treatment entails? This article has all the info you need.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs 

Arthritis presents itself in dogs in a number of different ways. These are the most common dog arthritis symptoms.

Symptoms and Treatments of Arthritis in Dogs

Quick Fatigue 

Does your dog seem to get fatigued after only a few seconds of play? If so, he or she might be suffering from arthritis. Note, however, that quick fatigue is a symptom for a whole host of other conditions as well. 


Does it seem as though your dog just sits in place all day? Has his or her activity level reduced drastically?

Arthritis puts a great deal of strain on a dog’s body and can cause extreme lethargy. While lethargy isn’t always indicative of arthritis, it’s something to keep in mind. 


Another sign that your dog might have arthritis is if he or she seems depressed. Dogs which are suffering from arthritis can get pessimistic about their chronic pain and reduced activity levels. As a result, they begin to experience depression. 


Dogs with arthritis can have difficulty bending down to urinate. Because of this, they often have trouble with fully emptying their bladders. 

The result of this? They empty unemptied urine at inopportune times throughout the day. In other words, they suffer from incontinence.

Weight Fluctuation 

Perhaps your dog has gained substantial amounts of weight within the last few months? Maybe your dog has lost substantial amounts of weight within the last few months? In either case, arthritis could be the culprit. 

Some arthritic dogs gain weight because their activity levels reduce. This prevents them from burning calories, resulting in weight gain. 

Other arthritic dogs lose weight because they become depressed and lose their appetites. As a result, they skip meals, consume fewer calories, and end up shedding pounds. 


Often times, when a dog experiences pain, he or she will demonstrate aggression. This is a primal reaction that dogs have as a means of protecting themselves. If your dog is lashing out uncharacteristically, he or she could be suffering from arthritis. 

Swelling Around Joints  

A dog’s joints can swell for a variety of reasons. However, perhaps the most common reason for joint swelling in dogs is arthritis. If your dog’s joints have experienced swelling over a long period of time, he or she could be experiencing chronic arthritis. 

Joint Licking 

Many dogs will lick the parts of their body that are in pain. So, if you see your dog licking the areas around his or her joints, he or she could have arthritis. 

Trouble Getting Up 

A sure sign that your dog is in pain is if he or she is having trouble getting up on a regular basis. This may or may not be a sign of arthritis in your dog. Regardless, you should talk it over with your veterinarian.  

Muscle Atrophy

One last sign of arthritis in dogs is muscle atrophy. Because they aren’t able to engage in as much physical activity as they once did, arthritic dogs will sometimes lose muscle. 

Dog Arthritis Treatment 

The type of arthritis treatment a dog will need depends upon the severity of the dog’s condition. The most common dog arthritis treatments are as follows. 

Dietary Changes 

One treatment option is to change up the dog’s diet, not only to help the dog lose weight but to ensure that the dog is ingesting pain-relieving substances on a regular basis. 

In addition to feeding your dog less than you once did, you should also try working various supplements into his or her meals. For instance, fish oil, arnica, and licorice root have all seen some success in relieving pain in dogs.

Lifestyle Changes 

Lifestyle changes are another vital part of arthritis treatment. You must be consistent in managing your dog’s actions. 

In addition to a diet plan, you also need to develop an exercise plan. Make sure that your dog is getting exercise two to three times a day, every day. This will help him or her to maintain his or her body weight, staving off chronic pain. 

You might also want to arthritis-proof your house. You can do this by providing your dog with a soft bed and by giving your floors as much traction as possible. If need be, you might also consider installing ramps throughout your home. 


Often times, medication can help to reduce inflammation in the affected dog’s joints, relieving pain. The most commonly prescribed types of pain relievers for dog arthritis are NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 

One of the most popular of these drugs is carprofen for dogs. Other examples include deracoxib and firocoxib. 

Physical Therapy 

In most cases, vets will use physical therapy to try and relieve any pain that an arthritic dog might be experiencing. While there are all types of physical therapies available for dog arthritis treatment, one of the most common is hydrotherapy. This is a form of therapy which takes place in the water, and which helps to keep stress off of a dog’s joints. 


In rare cases, surgery can relieve joint pain in dogs. Note, however, that surgery should only be an option if the dog is in extreme pain or in a state of severe physical debilitation.

Looking for More Information on Your Pet?  

The good thing is that arthritis in dogs is treatable. While your pet may never again run around like a young pup, with proper treatment, he or she can still lead a fun and fulfilling life. 

Looking for more pet-related information? You can find it right here at Animals Time. We have all sorts of pet-related tips and info, running the gamut from disease treatment to training and more. 

Browse our pet-related articles now! 


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