How to look after dogs with Arthritis

dog with arthritis being helped to walk with a sling
Like humans, our four legged friends, are susceptible to joint disease and Osteoarthritis. As the colder weather truly sets in on the Mornington Peninsula, many of our older pets will start to show the typical signs of pain associated with arthritis.   Dogs with arthritis often show common signs including: Stiffness, reluctance to walk, ‘slowing down’ or having trouble getting up from their bed.

Did you know that approximately 1 in 5 dogs in Australia suffer from pain associated with arthritis?  Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is the most common form of arthritis we see in our 4 legged friends. It is characterised by progressive loss and damage to the cartilage surrounding and cushioning the joints. It can be the consequence of trauma, obesity, hip or elbow dysplasia and joint surgery. The damaged joints become inflamed and painful.  Your pet’s mobility usually reduces as this condition progresses.

Signs and symptoms of Arthritis in your Dog

Knowing the signs and symptoms of arthritis can often help in the diagnosis of Arthritis. Here are the many signs your dog might exhibit that indicate they are uncomfortable in their joints:

  • Sleeping more
  • Finding it hard to get up in the morning or after resting
  • No longer running at the park like they used to
  • A change in behaviour (irritability or aggression)
  • Vocalisation (whining or yelping)
  • No longer able to jump up on to the bed, couch or into the car
  • Limping on one or more legs
  • Licking at their joints
  • They seem to have aged suddenly

This video shows a classic example of a dog suffering from joint discomfort and arthritis. Note in particular how he struggles to climb stairs without hopping.


If your dog moves like this, they may have undiagnosed arthritis.  So what can you do? What can your Vet do?

What can your Vet do for dogs with arthritis?

Don’t just assume that your senior pet is slowing down normally due to ageing. Old age does not need to be painful!  Dr Kelly is very experienced in managing arthritis. There are many ways that we can ease their discomfort through the winter months.

A complete clinical examination can determine the extent of the arthritis and its severity. Obtaining a full and detailed history can also help with diagnosis.  Radiographs and blood tests are recommended before the appropriate treatment and management options are discussed.

The single most effective ‘treatment’ for arthritis is weight management.  Many of our pet dogs are overweight.  For an arthritic patient, this further adds to the strain on their inflamed and painful joints.  Increased weight limits their ability to move around and adversely affecting their quality of life. By reducing your pet’s body condition to lean you will immediately improve their mobility and reduce the pain associated with walking.

Beyond weight management, there are many options available for arthritis management. These include joint supplements, prescriptions diets, Natural diets, joint protective medications and pain relief medication. Bentons Road Veterinary Clinic will tailor an individual program for your pet.  If you are concerned that your dog is no longer moving around like he or she used to, please make an appointment.

Bentons Road Vet combining Natural Health & Modern Medicine