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Signs of Arthritis in Dogs

June 1, 2022
As you may know, arthritis is a very common issue in dogs. According to the Arthritis Foundation, one out of five of our canine buddies is affected. While senior dogs are most often afflicted, arthritis can affect any pup, and at any point of their lives. Here, a Stanley, NC veterinarian lists some early warning signs to look for.


Limping is often the earliest sign to appear. At first, Fido may only limp for a few minutes when he first gets up. Over time, though, that limp will get more pronounced.

Reduced Interest In Play

Arthritis can definitely put a damper on Fido’s love of playing Fetch and Frisbee. You may notice your pup’s toys sitting around neglected. He may also just watch squirrels, instead of tearing off after them.

Reduced Mobility

Puppies tend to bound about like furry, four-legged bundles of zoom. Older dogs, however, move much more slowly and deliberately. If your canine buddy is developing arthritis, he may move in several small steps, and just generally seem stiff and sore.


Being in pain isn’t much of a mood booster. That applies to dogs as well as people! Fido may withdraw, and start spending time by himself, possibly looking sad and forlorn.


Our canine pals often lick or nibble at sore spots. You may see Fido constantly worrying at his paws or legs, or perhaps the base of his spine.

Trouble Climbing

Fido may have a hard time going up and down steps, or jumping in and out of the car. If he’s allowed on beds and/or couches, getting on and off those may also become more difficult for him. As the arthritis progresses, you may also notice your pup having trouble standing up or laying down.

Muscle Distribution

This is one we often see with hip dysplasia. You might notice your furry friend’s hind legs getting less muscular, while his chest and forelegs bulk up. This happens when dogs put more weight on their front legs to reduce pain and discomfort in their back ends.


If Fido shows any of the symptoms listed above, contact your vet immediately. Arthritis can’t be cured, but there are treatments to help your pooch feel better and improve his quality of life. Do you know or suspect that your pooch may have arthritis? Contact us, your Stanley, NC animal clinic, today!