There’s nothing quite like the greeting of a dog after a long, hard day. There’s something about that wagging tail and wiggly butt that just melts away the stress!
However, as our dogs age many of us have noticed an alarming change: they no longer get up and rush to greet us at the door. It’s not that they don’t want to. The reality is they might be suffering from a common condition that prevents many pups from behaving like they used to.
Sadly, research shows that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 8 are suffering from some kind of joint pain.
And while we humans have the ability to reach for pain meds and talk to our doctor about symptoms, are precious pups do not. In fact, dogs are quite good at keeping their joint pain a secret.
Why do dogs hide signs of pain? As pack animals, not showing their suffering has clear survival benefits. The ancestors of modern dogs would commonly leave behind a member of the pack who was in pain and slowing down the group as a whole. As a result, dogs have learned to hide their pain very well.
Fortunately, there are some subtle signs we can look out for:
1The Top 6 Signs of Canine Joint Pain
#1 – Difficulty in getting up to greet you:
As previously mentioned, this is one of the most often cited signs. If your dog usually jumps up to greet you or visitors when they first walk in the door, but suddenly stops this behavior, there may be something wrong.
#2 – Weight Gain: Obesity is often an indirect sign of joint discomfort, as dogs become less active due to the pain.
#3 – Limping: Often dogs with joint pain experience limping right after getting up from lying down. The limp may not last for long, and might only occur a few moments after getting up.
#4 – Decreased energy: If your dogs overall energy has taken a turn for the worse, they may be feeling the pains of inflammed joints.
#5 – Irritability: If your dog has become irritable for no apparent reason, they may be suffering from a hidden pain of some kind.
#6 – Increased licking, biting, or chewing: Pay attention to where your dog is licking or grooming themselves. Excessive or unusual attention in one area of the body might be a result of joint pain.
If you have not yet noticed any signs of joint pain, you’re very lucky, as most dogs will be affected by the condition at some point in their lives. The best time to take action is before symptoms are present.
Sadly, nearly every dog will be affected at one time or another by joint problems. There are many factors influencing when or how severe the symptoms might be.
In general, the larger the breed of dog, the more likely they are to suffer from joint pain, and the earlier you need to start preventative measures.