Dogs are active fur babies and remain busy all day long, either wagging after you, zooming around, or jumping off the sofa. All these jumping and rough activities take a toll on the dog's joint after a time and may show up as joint issues. Just like humans, dogs too experience bones, and joint pains and, in extreme cases, may even suffer from osteoarthritis, which can be painful.
The fact lies that dogs of all age groups can experience joint pain. Sadly, not many dog owners will realize their pawed baby is in pain because it can raise its paw and play in the park. While reeling in pain or slow response to be called by are some of the most noticed effects or symptoms dog parents see when their pup is in pain; however, some joint issues will have a slower response, and the signs will not be visible easily.
Your dog can be slow at times, not just because he is aging, underlying joint pain or muscle issues can also be a reason for his slowness. As a responsible dog parent, you need to know when your fur baby is affected by joint or muscle pain, the symptoms, and your options in getting things right.
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How Do I Know If My Dog Has Joint Issues?
All dogs are at the risk of experiencing joint or muscle pain, but some dogs are easily prone to joint issues, such as overweight, athletic, watchdogs, those who have diabetes, or dogs that have survived trauma or injuries any kind. You should know as a dog parent that dogs are pretty good at hiding their pain - they will keep doing their daily chores and seem active and will only display some signs of discomfort when the pain exceeds the limit. Here are a few symptoms that you need to watch out for:
Laggings in walks
Remember when you used to take your puppy for a walk, and he used to be so active, walking almost at a jogging pace? Now he is equally excited by is not able to keep pace with you and lags in walks. If this is what you have been experiencing for some time, your pup needs help. You know how it feels when there is pain, and you can hardly walk. When you see your dog lagging, make sure you contact us and do not think your dog has forgotten his training or is lazy.
If your dog has pain in his legs, he will move slowly and will limp. Limping occurs when a dog has one leg injured or in pain and matches up with the other legs; he takes active steps. In such cases, dogs are often seen taking long hours of rest, and when they move, they aren't active.
Aggression and irritability
Although it is apparent that aggression is a behavioral issue and needs to be ruled out, it is more important to know the reasons for aggression. A dog suffering from pain in the muscle to joint will become irritated, and when touching on pain points of the body, it will show aggression as well. It is a way to express pain, and aggression is the immediate reaction to the situation.
Reluctance to move
Your pup was an active baby and now is slow and doesn't show much interest in activities like playing outside or going for a walk. Dogs suffering from joint pain will also have issues jumping on the car, off the sofa, and climbing up and down the stairs. It is just because he is experiencing the pain that he is not willing to move around.
Spending more time sleeping
Dogs suffering from joint pain are more likely to spend more time sleeping and resting. It is the pain that they want to get away with and finds resting quite soothing - observe if your dog has been resting too much these days. If your dog has been quite ignorant for walks, or even if he goes for a walk, doesn't show interest in long walks, feels tired, and pants all the time, there is an issue underneath that. He's spending more time resting, and sleeping will lead to lethargy and help him gain weight in lesser time, which will again contribute to the pressure in the joints.
Depression and loss of appetite
When your otherwise happy and active dog suddenly turns out to be all sad and less interested in anything around him, know that he is sad and depressed – an expected outcome of joint issues. Inactivity in dogs due to joint pain will keep them full most of the time, and they will have less urge to eat as their energy is being stored. Instead, try to trace out the issue and contact us to find a tasty alternate to his regular diet.
Licking and biting
While we know that cats are clean and keep licking their paws to clean themselves, but for dogs, it is a different story. If your puppy keeps licking and chewing or biting his paw and legs, know that he is in pain. He is possibly chewing and biting areas in his body where he is experiencing pain.
What Causes Joint Pains In Dogs?
Joint pain can be categorized into two parts –developmental and degenerative.
Development joint issue is when the ligament or the joint has not developed correctly. You can see problems like dislocation of the hip and elbow dysplasia and the like under this category. Elbow dysplasia is abnormal; growth of elbow joints is commonly seen in younger or rapidly growing dogs.
On the other hand, the degenerative joint issue is when a ligament around the dog's joint regresses over time. It is worn due to repetitive motion in the body, leading to inflammation, pain, or swelling. This condition is also called osteoarthritis.
Besides these diseases, there are a bunch of other joint-related issues that a dog may experience, including:
You can also call it an infection when bacteria spread through the blood due to an injury. It can lead to conditions such as pain in the joints, stiffness in the muscles, or swelling of the muscles.
It is mostly caused by a synovial cell sarcoma tumor, which leads to stiffness in the muscles and lameness. In this case, the soft tissue around the bone starts to swell.
Besides these issues, prolonged joint pain can also lead to dietary or hormonal disease, inflammation in the joint cause rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic disorders, and also cancer.
How Can I Help My Dog Improve?
Now that you know the symptoms and the causes of pain in your pooch's joint, you'll need to take a step to help him improve his condition.
Maintain the correct weight for your pup
Whether it's humans or dogs, it is essential to keep track of the weight. If your puppy is overweight, his bones and joints will have to bear a load of his body more; thus, they will strain and be prone to damage or even break. You must maintain a healthy diet for your dog. Contact us for any requirements regarding the weight of your puppy and what to do.
Include exercise in his routine
Besides walks, it is important to include some fun activities for your dog. Play with him, teach him some tricks, or take him hiking. However, while engaging him in activities, make sure you are patient with your dog. Do not force any regime into him as overexertion may lead to joint and muscle pain which is the last thing you might want to experience for your dog.
Maintain a healthy diet
Good food brings a good diet, and we all agree to that. Include food that is beneficial for your dog in terms of muscle and bone strength. Include a good amount of celery, zucchini, kale, spinach, lentils, quinoa, carrots, and good-quality meat. You can also add in some supplements that are good for your pup's bones and muscle health. Consult with one of our team to get a supplement that is ideal for your dog.
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Even though genetics plays a significant role in joint disorder in dogs, a balanced and proper diet can save you from regular vet visits as this will keep your dog healthy and happy.
Having to deal with joint issues in dogs can be challenging for pet owners, but this doesn't mean all the fun activities come to an end. Your pup can still be the good old boy as before with some care and supervision from your end. Ensure that you contact us to see if your dog is struggling with any joint-related issues. Early detection can save you and your dog from a lot of issues, both physically and financially. Because the earlier you start to take the step, the sooner your puppy will recover.