by Eva Martinez
(Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)
He’s been part of your family for years. But now your dog is getting older and starting to have some problems getting around.
Is he just slowing down a little due to his age or is something else going on? Do you think that your dog may have arthritis? There are a few warnings signs that you need to be looking for to make that determination.
Arthritis makes it difficult for him to get up, it may cause him to limp, it could change the way he walks, and it can make him avoid jumping and climbing stairs. Observe your dog and see if he is exhibiting any of these signs.
When he was a puppy he used to jump right up and greet you every time you entered the room. As he has gotten older it takes him longer to get up. That is a natural part of aging. But does he have trouble getting up because his joints are stiff? Does he appear to be in pain when he tries to get up? Or does he avoid getting up at all and just looks up at you? Any of these could be signs that arthritis is causing the problem.
You should always be concerned when you see your dog limping. Arthritisis only one of the possible causes.
He could have been injured, possibly stepped on by a child, overexerted himself playing out in the yard, been bitten by a tick, or he could even have stepped on something. If you have eliminated all the other possibilities and the limping is still there, or changes to a different leg, then it could be arthritis.
Has anything changed about the way he walks? He could have been favoring one of his legs yesterday and when you checked on him today he was favoring a different leg. Maybe it’s both of his legs on the same side or just his hind legs. Joint discomfort from arthritis will present itself in different ways but will almost always show up as a change in the way he walks.
Has he stopped coming upstairs at night? Has he stopped jumping up onto your lap like he used to do when he was younger? Arthritis can make the movements required to climb stairs very painful for your dog. It can also cause him to avoid jumping because he knows it is going to hurt when he lands. If he has stopped jumping and climbing stairs he could have arthritis.
Observe your dog more closely if you see any of these signs and see if any others are present. Difficulty getting up, limping, other changes in his walking patterns, and avoiding jumping and climbing stairs can all be indicators that your dog may have developed arthritis. If you believe that to be the case make sure to take him for a visit to the vet.
There are many treatments your vet can offer that will ease the discomfort that your dog may suffering due to arthritis.