5 Signs Your Dog May Have Arthritis

C - Can’t get comfortable: Think about all the strange positions you get into when you’re in an airline seat, just trying to get comfortable. Of course, no amount of writhing around does the job. Similarly, a dog struggling to relieve his arthritis pain may contort himself into some 747-worthy positions, none of which will help. When your dog starts trying out these new positions, it’s another sign that he’s trying to compensate for some discomfort. After all, dogs don't just “try something new” for the heck of it. There’s a reason for change, and it’s often pain.

D - Difficulty moving well: A dog who’s limping, trembling, moving slowly or struggling to get up after sleeping — or who is just plain “stiff” until he gets moving — is a likely candidate for a diagnosis of arthritis. While being overweight can cause some difficulty in moving — and more than half of all dogs are overweight, after all — your dog's difficulty moving is likely to be a combination of weight and arthritis. Getting the extra weight off is one of the best ways to help him cope with arthritis and to alleviate his pain. Fortunately, your veterinarian can help with that too.

E - Exclamation of pain: If your dog is suddenly whining or crying when he moves, he’s letting you — and the world — know that he's in pain. He may also cry out when you’re petting him. Alternately, he may bark less, just because barking is too much trouble. No matter how, or how much, he's vocalizing, take note of anything out of the ordinary. This is a good sign that he needs some help.

Your Veterinarian Can Help

Although many medical conditions can cause these (and other) signs of pain, any or all of these signs can mean that your dog is suffering from arthritis. And while growing older is inevitable, living in pain is often preventable. Don’t wait another minute: Schedule a check-in with your veterinarian and tell her exactly what you're seeing in your dog's behavior. There’s a world of good options, including pain medications and nutritional supplements, that could very likely have your dog feeling better — and moving more comfortably — again soon.

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