What Causes Joint Pain In Your Dog And How To Help Relieve It
Especially in older dogs, joint pain is a common ailment that, unfortunately, many dogs will experience at some point in their lives. While larger dogs have been historically more prone to these joint issues tan smaller breeds, that doesn’t mean small dogs can’t also be affected.
As a dog owner, it’s important to know what can cause joint pain in dogs, how to spot it, and, finally, how to help relieve it.
Causes Of Joint Pain
While joint pain is often caused by simple factors, like wear and tear or old age, there are times when there might be something much bigger going on.
Here are a few different causes of joint pain in dogs:
Arthritis is one of the most common diseases a dog can develop as they get older. As they age, their cartilage thins out, and, therefore, their bones begin to rub against each other, without any kind of lubrication to protect them. This leads not only to damaged cartilage, but also inflamed joints that become difficult or painful to move.
- Hip Dysplasia
When hip dysplasia isn’t treated correctly, it can actually lead to arthritis. Hip dysplasia is seen more often in larger dogs and happens when a dog’s femur bone and pelvis socket don’t grow at equal rates, creating stress and wear and tear on the hip from an early age.
Dysplasia can occur in knees or elbows as well. Smaller dogs, for example, are more prone to knee dysplasia, while elbow dysplasia is common in larger dogs, like golden retrievers and rottweilers.
- Being Overweight
If a dog becomes overweight, the added weight and strain on their joints can lead to increased joint pain. Beyond that, fat tissue can produce chemicals that actually increase inflammation and cause more discomfort to your dog’s joints.
When a dog is overweight, their risk of developing arthritis doubles or triples, and they also run the risk of rupturing their cruciate ligaments. For these reasons, it’s important to keep your dog’s weight in check and ensure they’re getting enough exercise.
Overuse of a dog’s joints is an example of a degenerative problem, or one that develops over time. It’s tougher to keep a dog from experiencing joint pain due to overuse, especially when they’re full of energy and life as younger dogs. For this reason, many older dogs do face joint pain due to overuse in their younger years.
Like humans, dogs can suffer from joint pain due to injury from running, jumping, or playing too rough.
Symptoms Of Joint Pain
Some symptoms of joint pain to look out for in your dog include:
- Difficulty lying down, sitting, or standing
- Slow or stiff in movements
- Inability to climb stairs
- Not jumping or running as much as usual
- Lessened activity or interest
- Limping or keeping any limb off the ground
- Swelling or stiffness in joints
All of these signs are a hint that you should take your dog to the vet and check treatment options for joint pain.
Treating Joint Pain
There are many different options for treating joint pain in dogs, all of which will change on a case-by-case basis. Here are some common treatments:
- Joint Supplements
There are many types of dog joint supplement available in the market today. Whether your dog suffers from arthritis, hip dysplasia, or joint pain in general, there’s a supplement that can help them. Some examples of the best supplements for 2020 include:
- Anxious Pet Organic Hemp Oils
- PetNC Natural Care Hip and Joint Soft Chews
- Solimo Dog Hip and Joint Chewable Tablets
- StrellaLab Hemp Treats and Glucosamine
- Zesty Paws Senior Advanced Glucosamine for Dogs
Each supplement is aimed to treat joint pain differently, so before choosing one, you must figure out what the cause of your dog’s joint pain is and ask a vet for the best option for pain relief.
- Orthopedic Dog Beds
Another great way to relieve joint pain, specifically arthritis pain, is to purchase an orthopedic dog bed. Similar to humans, dogs require a good night sleep not only for energy, but also for relief from the joint pain they may be experiencing.
Some great orthopedic dog bed choices include:
- BarksBar Orthopedic Dog Bed – can be found on Amazon for around USD$72 and offers both a cotton pad, as well as an orthotic foam support
- Big Barker 7in Pillow Top Orthopedic Dog Bed – can also be found on Amazon, but, as a higher end bed, is around USD$240.
- Friends Forever Othropedic Dog Bed – runs around USD$44 on Amazon and is great for smaller dogs.
Orthopedic dog beds are great for joints because the memory-foam-like material serves to not only support aching joints, but also relieve pressure and pain from areas that are often sore.
- Weight Management
Since overweight dogs often face joint issues due to the added weight and pressure on their joints, simply lowering their weight through diet restrictions and exercise can make a huge difference in how your dog’s joints feel.
Surprisingly, dogs can benefit from rehabilitation and sports medicine, just as humans do. Rehabilitation in dogs can include different kinds of exercises that aim to build muscle, as well as increase flexibility. This can be done through:
- Hydrotherapy (or underwater treadmills)
- Laser therapy
- Balance balls
All of these techniques serve to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility in order to lessen the strain and pain on your dog’s joints.
While surgical treatment is often a last resort as it’s not only expensive, but also evasive, there are times when certain kinds of surgeries are necessary, including:
- Arthroscopic joint cleaning
- Replacement of tissue
- Entire joint replacement
While your dog may have been diagnosed with joint pain, that doesn’t mean they can’t find their way back to a fun and active lifestyle with small changes, like diet, supplements, or a simple investment in a dog bed.
Different situations, causes, and even breeds will result in different options for joint pain relief. For that reason, if your dog is displaying symptoms of joint issues, consult your vet as soon as possible so you can go over the different options available to your pet.