Vet Blog

Does My Dog Have Arthritis?

July 01, 2021

Do you think there's a chance your dog could have arthritis?

If so, you're not alone. Many dogs suffer from arthritis, and it's more common than you might realize.

If you suspect your dog could have arthritis, it's important to check their symptoms against those that are most commonly associated with this condition. In the article below, you'll find more information about these symptoms and how you might be able to tell if your dog is affected. If you still have questions, call the Animal Medical Center of Chandler at (480) 339-0406.

Risk Factors and Causes

Breed and Build

Some dogs may be more prone to developing arthritis than others due to their body type, size, or breed history.

Poor Development

If a dog has a developmental problem with his joints or spine, he may be more at risk for developing arthritis later in life as well.


An overweight dog is more likely to have arthritis than a dog of a healthy weight.

Past Injury

Previous injuries or surgeries related to injuries may contribute to a dog's potential to suffer from arthritis.

Poor Nutrition

A dog who doesn't have the right balanced nutrition is likely to develop arthritis and other health problems as well.


As dogs get older, many of the conditions listed above become more prominent in their lives. This is why it is more likely for older dogs to have arthritis; it isn't simply a factor of getting old and shouldn't be considered normal aging.


Stiff Gait

Dog owners notice a stiff gait in their dogs fairly early on with arthritis. Your dog may simply be a little less capable of moving smoothly than they once were.

Inability or Unwillingness to Jump

If your dog used to be a fan of jumping and playing and now doesn't seem to be anymore, this may mean they're suffering from arthritis. They could have other problems affecting their ability to move, however, so keep this in mind too.

Difficulty Getting Up

If you notice your dog having trouble getting up out of bed or after a nap on the floor, this may mean they are developing arthritis.

Aggression or Fear When Touched

Dogs who are in pain may show signs of aggression or, alternately, fear and anxiety when they are touched. If your dog isn't normally fearful or aggressive but has become this way, it may be in pain from arthritis.

Swollen Joints

If you can see that your dog's joints are swollen, this is a good indicator that they have arthritis and that it has advanced quite a lot.

Inability or Unwillingness to Climb Stairs

Just like jumping, climbing up or down stairs may aggravate the pain associated with arthritis in dogs. A dog who has arthritis may not be able to climb the stairs at all, or they may try to avoid it as much as possible.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Visual Examination

Your veterinarian will begin with a visual examination of your dog to see if they are showing outward signs of arthritis.

Rule-Out Bloodwork

The vet may perform some bloodwork to rule out other potential problems with similar symptoms. This may not be necessary, however, depending on how severe your dog's arthritis has become and which types of symptoms they are showing.

Pain Management Medication

If arthritis is diagnosed, your dog will be given pain management medication to help them feel better. They may need to take this medication every day if they're very badly affected by arthritis, or they may only require it on an as-needed basis.

Proper Diet

Your dog's diet makes a difference in the way arthritis affects them. With a proper, balanced diet and healthy nutrition for his age, they may be able to enjoy some relief from the pain of arthritis.

Proper Activity Level

Your dog doesn't need to just lay around all the time, but they do need the right type of activity and exercise for his age and his physical ability. Ask your vet for more information and guidance.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may be able to help your dog regain some mobility in their joints and reduce the pain.

Many of the symptoms associated with arthritis in dogs are also related to other dog health conditions. This is one of the reasons why it's so important for you to work with a trusted vet in getting your dog diagnosed.

When you take your dog to the vet, you'll be able to get one-on-one feedback from a medical professional who can actually examine your dog in person. You'll also learn everything you need to know about treatment and management options moving forward, and what you can do for your pet. Call us today at (480) 339-0406.