How do you know if your dog has joint problems?

Joint problems are common in dogs. They can affect the dog’s daily life in many ways starting from minor faults and ending with major pain and lack of mobility. For instance, the most commonly affected areas are hips and elbows.

Usually, it is quite easy to detect if your dog is suffering from a joint disorder. In case you have observed any awkward movements, stiffness, limping, joint swelling, reduced activity, etc. – then your dog might suffer from a joint disorder. Full list of the most popular potential joint problem signs that you should take notice of:

  • Intermittent lameness
  • Reluctance to rise or move
  • Stiffness (especially after vigorous exercise or prolonged periods of rest; “bunny-hopping” gait)
  • Swollen joints; may be warm and tender
  • Visible joint deformities
  • Painful joints (when touched/palpated or moved)
  • Prolonged periods of rest (sleeps more than usual)
  • Exercise intolerance; disinterest in physical activity
  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Aggression when joints are touched
  • Appetite loss
  • Abnormal stance when walking (pelvis tucked under; using hind legs with exaggerated care)

The most common joint disorder in dogs is osteoarthritis, but your dog also could suffer from developmental problems such as hip or elbow dysplasia, cruciate ligament problems, metabolic disease or another disease that cause similar symptoms as arthritis.

However, the most certain way to know if your dog is suffering from joint disorders is to go to your veterinarian and get additional information about your specific case.