Arthritis Aware


Editor's Picks
02 September 2023
Did you know... that 2 in 5 young dogs have arthritis? But many owners don't know the signs...

Arthritis is not just an old dog disease

Arthritis is a common condition in dogs that causes pain, inflammation, and reduced mobility. While it's commonly associated with older dogs, the belief that it solely affects senior canines is far from accurate. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis usually develops in dogs at a young age. Puppies are born with healthy joints, but some may have an inherited risk of developing abnormally shaped and unstable joints, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, within their first few months of life. This instability leads to uneven weight distribution, cartilage damage, joint inflammation, and eventually, osteoarthritis.

Surprisingly, 2 in 5 dogs under the age of 4 have arthritis.1

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Recognising the signs of arthritis in dogs

Spotting the early signs of arthritis is crucial for early intervention and treatment in order to delay the worsening of the disease and keep your dog healthier for longer. Dogs with more advanced “late-stage” arthritis display obvious symptoms such as lameness, stiffness, and difficulty with activities like climbing stairs or getting into the car.

However, it's essential to be mindful of the early and less obvious signs as well. Some young dogs with early arthritis may hesitate a little before jumping onto furniture or into the car. Others may exhibit a peculiar walking pattern, sit with their leg turned outward, or bunny hop up the stairs to reduce pain.

Because the signs of early arthritis are hard to recognise, the first changes you might notice may be in their behaviour. Pain has a negative effect on emotions and makes dogs less able to deal with the world around them. Behaviour changes that you might notice in your dog, which could be related to pain include:

  • Being less interactive or willing to play or only playing for shorter periods
  • Being reluctant to go for a walk or lagging behind on walks
  • Seeking comfort from you
  • Being less tolerant of you, children or other animals
  • Guarding their possessions
  • Repeatedly licking or chewing parts of their body

Making a difference for your dog

If you suspect that your puppy or young dog might be suffering from arthritis or another painful condition, don’t leave them to suffer in silence. Early diagnosis is crucial in managing this progressive condition effectively.

Arthritis doesn't have to hold your dog back! With the right care, attention, and support, your beloved dog can lead an active and enjoyable life.

If you notice any behavioural quirks or possible signs of arthritis in your dog, you should seek professional veterinary guidance and support.

Find out more about the signs of early arthritis...

1 Enomoto, M. et al. (2022). Scientific Presentation Abstracts 2022 ACVS Surgery Summit.

An educational service from the makers of Metacam® and Previcox®. Further information available in the SPC or from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd., RG12 8YS, UK. Metacam® is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, used under licence. Previcox® is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health France SCS, used under licence. ©2023 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: August 2023. UI-PET-0128-2023. Use Medicines Responsibly.