My Dog Has Joint Pain – How Can I Help Them?

July 14, 2022
Amber LaRock, Vetted Vet Professional
Hip and joint

As each year passes by, our little ones will begin to feel the effects of aging. Just like humans experience  more aches and pains as we get older, our dogs are no different. If anything, it happens much faster to dogs than to humans because they live a short number of years compared to humans. Many dogs will develop painful joints once they enter their senior years, especially if they have any underlying joint conditions that makes their life more challenging.

It’s estimated that one in five dogs will develop arthritis in their adulthood, leading to the onset of joint discomfort and decreased mobility. With this being such a common issue for dogs, our team at Vetted wants to give you all the tools possible to make their lives more comfortable by preventing the onset of joint pain as much as possible.

Vetted believes in empowering the pet parent through education and support, which ultimately helps you create the best life for your beloved companion. So, let’s dive into the details of how you can help your dog with joint pain through at home care.

What Causes Joint Paint in Dogs?

Most cases of joint pain in dogs are a result of general wear and tear to their joints over time. Each moving joint in our dog’s body is covered by a smooth layer of cartilage, and this cartilage helps to encase synovial joint fluid. Both work together to reduce friction in the area and help their joints move freely, but this impressive effort can be compromised as the years go by.

As your dog gets older and puts years of stress on their joints, the cartilage that covers their joints can become brittle. This makes it challenging for the joint to move freely like it did before, as well as compromising the joint fluid cushion inside. If their joint deterioration is not managed early in their adulthood, the cartilage around their joints can even split away from the bone.

As you can imagine, this deterioration process can be excruciating for the dog that is affected. Each step they take can further aggravate their joints, causing even more break down and inflammation in the area. Some dogs will even develop bony spurs around their joints as they become more unstable, leading to a vicious cycle of pain.

This deterioration can occur due to simple aging, but there are many factors that can lead to joint pain in your little one. Some of the dogs most prone to developing joint pain include large breed dogs, dogs with a short and heavy stature, dogs with previous muscle or bone injuries, dogs that are overweight, canine athletes, and those with chronic joint conditions. Here are a few breeds that are prone to joint issues.

  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Rottweilers
  • French Bulldogs
  • Bulldogs
  • Great Danes
  • Dachshund
  • Mastiffs
  • Corgis

If you would like to discuss the details of your dog’s joint pain, the team at Vetted is here to help! With a Vetted membership, you can chat with one of our skilled veterinary professionals from the comfort of your home.

What Are The Signs Of Joint Pain In Dogs?

Our little ones can’t tell us that they are in pain each day, so it is up to us as pet parents to decipher clues in their behavior. No one knows your pet better than you, so it’s important to be on the lookout for the many signs of joint pain they may display.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of joint pain in dogs include:

  • Joint stiffness, especially when waking up in the morning
  • Difficulty getting up from a sitting or lying position
  • Occasional limping
  • Slowing down on walks
  • Appearing hesitant to jump on furniture or go up stairs
  • Decreased range of motion in their limbs
  • No longer being interested in activities they once enjoyed
  • Muscle loss in the back end
  • Swelling of their joints
  • Weakness in the back end, often causing them to lose balance or slip

Joint stiffness, especially when waking up in the morningDifficulty getting up from a sitting or lying positionOccasional limpingSlowing down on walksAppearing hesitant to jump on furniture or go up stairsDecreased range of motion in their limbsNo longer being interested in activities they once enjoyedMuscle loss in the back endSwelling of their jointsWeakness in the back end, often causing them to lose balance or slip

Many signs of joint disease are subtle when it first develops, so we encourage you to keep an eye out for any changes in your dog’s physical habits. By doing this, you can act at the first sign of discomfort in your little one.

How can I help my dog with joint pain?

Now that you understand the details of your dog’s joint pain, let’s introduce you to the best ways to offer them comfort through at home care!

Consider Joint Supplements

Joint supplements are a must for any dogs that are suffering from joint pain, or those that are at risk of developing joint disease later in life. Joint supplements help to strengthen joint cartilage, offer joint lubrication, prevent damaging inflammation, and even promote healing of damaged joint tissue. Joint supplements offer protective armor with each step your little one takes.

Vetted understands just how important joint supplements are for a pet’s care routine, which is why we have included them in our preventative health kits! Each personalized kit provides an effective hip and joint supplement, as well as anti inflammatory treats! Check out our membership options here to get started.

Provide A Supportive Orthopedic Bed

If your dog is experiencing joint pain, they need a supportive bed that will not further aggravate their joints. There are orthopedic dog beds for pets of any size and sleeping position of choice, each of which aim to offer your little one a cozy spot to rest. Dogs with joint pain are often most stiff in the morning, and this can be a result of having a bed that doesn’t support their needs. An orthopedic bed can promote pain-free mornings moving forward.

Help Them Maintain A Healthy Weight

Obesity in dogs can lead to many health complications in our little ones, and exacerbated joint pain is one of them. Dogs with joint disease already have immense pressure on their joints, and excess weight only adds to this pressure. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can not only take the stress off their already aching joints, but it can help them remain active for as long as possible.

You can help your little one maintain a healthy weight by offering low impact exercise, sticking to their recommended feeding guidelines, and ensuring that treats makeup no more than 10% of their daily caloric intake.

Modify Your Home To Fit Your Dog’s Needs

Every dog is different, so this means that every dog will require individualized at home care! It’s up to us to determine the exact areas in which our dogs struggle, and make any necessary changes that can improve their quality of life. This can include adding rugs to any slick surfaces that your dog struggles with, raising their food and water bowl so they do not have to bend over and strain, and adding stairs to any furniture they like to rest on. We recommend speaking to a pet professional. This can be your local veterinarian or if you are a Vetted member you can chat with any of our pet professionals that are your eyes and ears within your home!

Final thoughts

Joint disease in our beloved pets can be complex, but there are many simple ways to improve their quality of life. Our team at Vetted wants to keep your little one as comfortable as possible as they move through life, and at home joint care is a wonderful way to do just that.