August 13, 2021

​​Are Pain and Stiffness Due to Old Age in Your Dog? A Look into Dog Arthritis

Just like humans, dog's behavior and physical well-being change as they age. The difference between humans and dogs is that aging occurs a lot quicker. You may have come to notice that your once full of energy dog tires more easily on walks or wants to nap more often. You may also see that your senior dog is walking with stiff legs, doesn't want to go up the stairs, or has more trouble getting up on a cold morning. One of the most common culprits causing this slow-down in activity in senior dogs is arthritis - a degenerative joint disease that affects 80-90% of old dogs! The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which causes a limited range of motion and pain. Keep reading to learn more about signs of arthritis and how you can help your aging pup.

Signs Your Dog has Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative disease, meaning it gets worse over time. Detecting the following signs early on is crucial to helping your dog battle arthritis and even slow down its development. Arthritis is just as unpleasant in dogs as in humans, and no one wants to see their best friend in pain. Here are some signs to look out for…

  • Trouble getting up, especially on cold mornings
  • Reduced activity level
  • Walking with stiff or straighter-looking legs
  • Grouchiness or aggressive behavior when you touch their leg or paws
  • Sleeping more often, less active
  • Reluctance to go up the stairs or steps
  • Avoiding slippery floors 
  • Licking of paws or legs (they're trying to alleviate the pain) 
  • Lameness 

Speak to your veterinarian if you have noticed any of these signs. They will be able to better diagnose the stage of arthritis and suggest medications for the pain. 

How to Help Your Arthritic Dog

The following will list ways to slow down the development of arthritis and how to help your dog with the pain that comes with it. 

Healthy weight:

An overweight dog has an increased risk of developing arthritis due to the extra stress on the joints. If your dog already has arthritis, these additional pounds can make moving even more painful. Watch how much you feed them. If you have a dog that gives you the "I'm still hungry" look, ignore those adorable puppy eyes and resist the urge to give them that "one little piece." Those pieces add up, and before you know it you got one pudgy pup. You can still give them dog-appropriate table scraps as long as you adjust the quantity of food at mealtime. The following way to help your dog is tied to obtaining and keeping a healthy weight. 


As the old saying goes, "Use it or lose it!". Exercise is vital to keep your pup's joints supple and improve blood flow to those achy joints. An inactive dog that is sleeping all day due to arthritis can also become depressed. Getting those old bones moving can also make your dog happier. Don't get too excited and suddenly take old Charlie out for a run. You don't want to overdo it and possibly cause another problem. Following an exercise program that is just right for your senior dog's needs is very important. You can click here if you want help getting the right exercise plan for your dog.

Supplements and medication:

Always make sure to consult your vet when introducing any supplement or medication. They will be able to prescribe the appropriate supplements or pain relievers for your dog. Some of the following are used for managing arthritis. 

  • Glucosamine 
  • Fish oil (like salmon oil)
  • CBD - Very important that you get good quality CBD for dogs. Human CBD may contain trace amounts of THC that can be toxic for your dog. You want to look for canine CBD that is third-party tested, cold CO2 extracted, and MCT free. Innovet pet offers a good quality, organic CBD with everything above, and it's actually affordable! They always have amazing deals, and nope this article is not sponsored by them; they're just that great. 


If you notice that your dog struggles going up the stairs or getting into the car, it could be because it is painful. You can add non-slip tape to your stairs if they're not carpeted or even the tape that keeps rugs from moving around (tends to look better and less chance of damaging the floor). A ramp or sturdy steps can come in handy if your dog is too heavy to carry into the car or onto the couch. 

Orthopedic bed:

Have you ever slept in an uncomfortable, unsupportive bed? Trust me, it's no fun waking up all achy. A good orthopedic dog bed can go a long way. It will help soothe those achy joints and prevent them from aching even more. And your senior dog will be able to get better quality sleep! Click here for information on some of the best dog beds for old arthritic dogs. 


Dog arthritis is a common degenerative joint disease that causes pain and stiffness in your senior dog. Detecting arthritis early on can help to slow down its development. Some signs to watch out for may indicate that your dog has arthritis: trouble getting up, reduced activity, walking with stiff legs, and licking their paws/legs. You can help your arthritic (or pre-arthritic dog) by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, supplements, added support, and using an orthopedic bed. Recognizing that they have arthritis and applying beneficial lifestyle changes will significantly improve your senior dog's quality of life.

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