Arthritis in dogs

Photo by Iresha Ratnayake

Arthritis in Dogs: How to Treat Dog Joint Pain

Arthritis is a common health condition that may affect 20% of all canines and 80% of senior dogs. Canine arthritis is an inflammation of a dog’s or puppy’s joints, causing stiffness, discomfort, and pain.

Your pet’s veterinarian may prescribe pharmaceuticals like anti-inflammatory medications. However, prescription medications may cause side effects or unwanted effects from drug interactions with one or more medicines.

Read on to learn about canine arthritis and possible alternative therapies for “man’s best friend.”

What Exactly Is Canine Arthritis?

If you believe your pet has arthritis, you should take it to a veterinarian. The animal doctor can make a diagnosis after conducting a physical exam.

If your dog has arthritis, a veterinarian can create a personalized management plan. The plan’s basis includes the dog’s age and disease severity.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that involves inflammation and degeneration of at least one joint. The term “osteoarthritis” originates from several Greek words that translate into English as “bone,” joint,” and “inflammation.” 

Canines with OA experience inflammation in various joints interfering with activities in their daily life.

What Are Some Symptoms of Canine Arthritis?

Signs of arthritis in dogs can include:

  • Problems climbing stairs or jumping onto a bed or sofa
  • Difficulty or hesitancy to stand up from a lying position
  • Weaker muscles in the rear limbs
  • Using the rear limbs to take a narrow stance
  • Stiff walking
  • Stiff, swollen, or sore joints
  • Reluctance for humans to touch certain parts of the dog’s body
  • Reduced stamina
  • Aggression towards humans or other dogs

Contact your veterinarian for a checkup if you determine your dog may have arthritis.

Which Therapies May Help Relieve Dog Joint Pain?

A veterinarian can prescribe prescription medicines to help relieve your dog’s arthritis. However, some pet owners may wish to provide their doggy with natural or holistic therapies to reduce joint pain.

Some natural therapies to help relieve or reduce arthritis symptoms include:

Using a Dog-Lift Harness

This item is also known as a sling. It helps improve your canine’s mobility around your home. The harness helps ensure proper and safe movement for dogs with severely arthritis-affected knee, shoulder, and hip arthritis.

Improving Diet or Giving Dietary Supplements

Weight management is crucial to help reduce arthritis symptoms. Extra body weight can strain the canine’s body and joints.

Make sure to give your pet dog food that meets their nutritional needs. Veterinarian-prescribed foods may include natural anti-inflammatory or antioxidant ingredients or omega-fatty acids.

Antioxidants are substances that can help slow down or stop cell damage. Meanwhile, omega-fatty acids, including omega-3, can help maintain a healthy body.

You can also provide your dog with natural dietary supplements, including sulfates. Sulfates can originate from natural sources.

Research shows that certain sulfates may help build healthy cartilage. In addition, they may give your canine companion therapeutic effects on arthritis pain.

Blocking Off Stairways

Use a pet gate to block off stairways. This step can help keep your dog safe while you’re not providing direct supervision.

Providing Light Exercise

Exercise may be challenging for dogs with arthritis, especially those with severe cases. Your dog’s veterinarian can suggest appropriate activities.

Another benefit of dog exercise is it can help your dog maintain a healthy weight. That effect can help reduce strain on your pet’s joints.

Besides an exercise plan, you can also talk to your veterinarian about physical therapy from a small animal physical therapist. Such experts can lead canines through therapeutic exercises such as:

  • Range of motion exercises
  • Passive stretching
  • Underwater treadmills
  • Controlled walking with obstacles

Such therapy can function as a form of rehabilitation to help relieve your furry friend’s arthritis.

Providing a Padded Dog Bed

Providing your doggy with a soft and comfortable bed can help canines ranging from small dogs to large breeds experience less pain from joint inflammation.

Another factor is dogs often spend at least half a day sleeping or napping. Hence, options like orthopedic foam support can help with arthritis-related pain due to joint friction or the growth of new bones.

Another benefit is puppies and adolescent pups can use the padded beds for a long time. So it’s an excellent investment for younger dogs.

A high-density foam can also improve your senior dog’s life. Keeping your older dog happy can help reduce anxiety.

Author’s bio

Ruth Riley is an educator and writer. She teaches linguistics to college students and also conducts studies about CBD. She also lends her knowledge as a woman and an educator by writing for

1. Arthritis in dogs

2. How to Manage the Symptoms of Canine Arthritis

3. Arthritis in dogs

4. Best Dog Bed for Arthritis: Your Guide to Joint Friendly Orthopedic Mattresses

5. How Joint Supplements Help Dogs with Arthritis


Updated August 21, 2022