What You Need to Know About Arthritis in Dogs

Dog arthritis can be caused by injury, congenital defects, or ageing. Surprisingly, injury is a major cause of arthritis in dogs, and therefore affects many younger dogs. Quite minor injuries can result in the condition. A predisposition to conditions such as hip dysplasia can cause early onset of an arthritic condition in dogs. Older dogs who have never suffered an injury are likely to develop arthritis as they age.

There are many forms of arthritis in dogs that can create pain. As in the case of humans, dog arthritis is an inflammation of a joint or joints. Anywhere a dog has a joint they can have arthritis. The cartilage in the joint may be inflamed, but it can also be joint fluid causing the issues within the bones. The main types of arthritis in dogs are osteoarthritis, immune mediated, infective, and idiopathic arthritis.

white and black American pit bull terrier at daytime

Arthritis in dogs is usually first manifested as a slow and gradual limpness in the limbs. Lameness will be the result and may reach the point where the dog has a hard time walking. This will lead in most cases to the dog being less active in play, walks and even moving about the home. Stiffness is likely to be more severe in the morning or after a nap but the stiffness is often minimal in the daytime, however.

A dog afflicted with arthritis will tend to feel pain if their limbs are touched near to where the joint is inflamed. There is usually swelling as well, and you may be able to feel this.


Dogs with arthritis can be treated with medications which are available to help manage the inflammation. However, a lot of dog owners prefer to take a more natural route for the treatment of their pet’s arthritis. In a lot of cases, these treatments are more effective for the animal. The most popular natural remedies for arthritis in dogs are Glucosamine and MSM. Many experts believe MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin to be the three essential ingredients in a dog arthritis treatment regimen.

Glucosamine is naturally occurring in the body (it is an amino sugar). The process of aging tends to reduce the body’s capacity to produce this important sugar. Not found in any important food source, Glucosamine can be derived from the shells of shellfish. Its anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful in treating osteoarthritis both in humans and in animals.

In many cases, a change in diet may be sufficient to alleviate arthritis in dogs. Some arthritic conditions will respond to this step in conjunction with exercise. Obesity can be a factor in the development of arthritis, so by keeping the animal at a healthy weight, the aches and pains of arthritis can be taken away, as well as keeping the dog in a better overall state of health.

For some dogs, arthritis remedies must be used in conjunction with a change in the animal’s diet to best treat the symptoms of dog arthritis.