Does your dog have stiff joints?

 

“Stiff joints” is a general term for changes in the joint caused by normal or abnormal wear and tear. Because your dog’s joint pain directly impacts his mobility and how well he’s able to get around, it can have a serious effect on your dog’s quality of life.

For dogs who have stiff joints, the cartilage (the tissues that “cushions” the joint between the bones) is worn away faster than it is replaced. For example, when the cartilage in a dog’s hip joint wears away, mobility decreases, while pain and disability progressively develop. Although stiff joints are not curable, it is possible to improve joint health in your dog with nutrition and exercise.

 

What causes stiff joints?

 

There are many reasons why your dog could be experiencing joint pain associated with stiff joints.

 

AGE

As dogs get older, joint cartilage will progressively wear away. Although while it it is much more common in senior dogs, younger dogs can still suffer from stiff joints, too.

BREED

Certain breeds are more prone to developing stiff joints. “At-risk” dog breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers.

EXCESS WEIGHT

Excess weight puts excess stress on your dog’s joints and cartilage, and increases the risk of stiff joints.

ACCIDENTS OR TRAUMA

Trauma to cartilage may lead to stiff joints later in life, and adversely affect mobility.

CONGENITAL OR HEREDITARY DEFECTS

Some breeds may have congenital or hereditary conditions that make them more prone to developing stiff joints later in life.

 

What are the symptoms of stiff joints?

 

 

If you notice any of the following warning signs of joint pain in your dog, then he may be suffering from stiff joints, and you should consider scheduling a consultation with your veterinarian.

  • Stiffness, especially after resting
  • Hesitation to go up and down stairs
  • Lagging behind during walks or tiring easily
  • Preferring to lie down rather than sit or stand
  • Whimpering, growling or snapping when you touch his joints

Joints and exercise

Gentle exercise is extremely good for your dog. Not only will it help keep his joints moving freely, but it will help him stay at a healthy weight and keep excess stress off his joints, which are important to his overall joint health.

The key is to control the amount of exercise, so your dog does not overexert his joints. Given an open space, your dog will usually happily run and run until he can’t any more, due to energy or the way his joints feel, and he may pay the price in terms of pain and limping. But by allowing a little bit of running and then putting him back on his lead for a while and taking a gentle stroll, you can control the exercise and let your dog get enough of a workout to burn off energy and keep joints mobile without causing damage.

Always remember, if you’re worried about your dog getting more exercise than is beneficial, your veterinarian will be happy to advise you a sensible canine exercise regime.

 

Choosing the right dog food for joint health

 

The food your dog eats can also influence his joint health and mobility. Balanced nutrition is essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle
for dogs. Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle for dogs. If you’re concerned about your dog’s joint health,
ask your veterinarian about Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d.

 

anchor

Caring for Your Dog

ARTICLES AND tools

Pet Care Center

  • Dog Breeds | Hill's Pet

    Learn the personality & characteristics of dog breeds, as well as which one might be best for you. Explore our library of articles to discover more.
  • Dog Health Care | Hill's Pet

    Learn why your dog may be dealing with a health issue, and how nutrition can be key for prevention . Explore our library of articles to discover more.
  • Dog Behavior & Appearance | Hill's Pet

    Learn the psychology behind your dog's quirky behaviors, as well as what his expressions mean. Explore our library of articles to discover more.
  • Play & Exercise: Dogs | Hill's Pet

    Learn fun ways to keep your dog healthy & active with toys, games and other kinds of exercise. Explore our library of articles to learn more.
  • New Pet Parents: Dogs | Hill's Pet

    Learn what supplies to get and how to prepare if you're bringing home an adopted dog for the first time. Explore our library of articles to learn more.
  • Nutrition & Feeding: Dogs | Hill's Pet

    Learn what ingredients are important in a dog food, as well as choosing the best food for your dog. Explore our library of articles to learn more.