Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Signs of Joint Pain in Dogs: Types, Causes and Treatment

Signs of Joint Pain in Dogs: Types, Causes and Treatment

Dogs of all ages commonly suffer from joint pain, which can greatly impact their quality of life and potentially lead to serious conditions or injuries if not addressed. It may not be easy to detect without prior knowledge. Therefore, our vets at Grants Pass provide an overview of dog joint pain, including its types, causes, and available treatment options.

Dogs of any breed or age are prone to experiencing joint pain, especially as they become seniors. Although dog owners may perceive this as a sign of their dog "slowing down," it is often caused by joint pain rather than old age alone. Neglecting to address this condition could result in more severe injuries and conditions.

Our veterinarians will discuss the potential causes, symptoms, and treatment options for your dog's joint pain.

Types and Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs

Your dog may be experiencing pain due to joint issues, which can be of two types: degenerative and developmental.

Developmental Joint Issues

Developmental joint issues are present in your dog from their birth. These issues are generally caused by genetic issues causing your puppy's joints to develop improperly when they are young. Conditions like elbow or hip dysplasia are examples of more serious injuries this could lead to down the line.

Various dog breeds are more likely to experience joint problems that can lead to pain. While larger dogs are more susceptible, joint issues can also occur in smaller pups. For instance, Rottweilers may develop knee and ankle joint problems, Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to elbow dysplasia, and Newfoundlands are among the breeds that commonly experience issues with their cruciate ligament.

If you're purchasing a dog from a breeder, it may be a good idea to consider asking them about any genetic predispositions their breed or lineage may have to joint issues. A good breeder will be able to provide you with this information unprompted, but it never hurts to ask.

Degenerative Joint Issues

Joint problems in dogs occur due to the gradual wear and tear of their joints over time. This can include issues with cartilage deterioration or tendon damage. One of the most prevalent joint problems is cruciate ligament issues, which can worsen over time and cause significant pain and discomfort.

When it comes to degenerative joint issues, the root cause will vary wildly. They can range from stress fractures to injuries and osteoarthritis. But often, they will develop in larger dogs since their weight places more stress on your pup's joints over time.

Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

Identifying joint pain in dogs can be a challenging task as they tend to remain silent and continue playing even when experiencing discomfort. However, there are some telltale signs to look out for: 

- Difficulty in getting up or lying down

- Limping or favoring a particular leg

- Reluctance to climb stairs or jump 

- Stiffness or reluctance to move 

- Whining or whimpering when touched or moved 

- Loss of appetite or decreased activity levels  

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your pet, it could be a sign of joint pain. It is advisable to seek the advice of a veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to relieve your dog's discomfort.

  • Lethargy
  • Limping and stiffness
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Frequent slipping while moving about
  • Licking, chewing, or biting the affected area

If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog without an obvious cause, it might be time to bring them into your Grants Pass vet in order to have them examined for joint pain and its underlying conditions.

Treatments For Joint Pain In Dogs 

The appropriate treatment for joint pain and its underlying cause in your dog will vary based on its severity and the specific root cause. Conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia will require surgical intervention to rectify, while some degenerative joint conditions if caught early, can be treated by a combination of nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise prescribed by your vet.

While the specific treatment may vary from case to case, the goal of treatment is to get them back to their regular level of activity and mobility. This is especially important for your dog's long-term health since well-developed muscles around their joints will actually help to reduce the load those joints have to bear themselves. An active dog is a healthy dog.

Most treatments will also involve an assessment of your dog's weight compared to their size. If they are overweight, they are placing extra strain on their joints, and a diet may be prescribed to help ease the weight their pained joints have to bear.

Contact our vet in Grants Pass to learn more about evaluating, diagnosing, and curing your furry friend. We'll assess your dog's joints and discuss possible reasons and remedies for their discomfort.

Specialty Vets at Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic

Welcoming Current Clients

Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic welcomes current clients to book an appointment! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Grants Pass companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

Contact Us

(541) 476-7769 Contact