Is Arthritis Painful for Dogs?
So is arthritis painful for dogs? Yes. I'm afraid it is. Now, dogs are amazing. They are the best thing in the world. And they've been our companions for about 30,000 years. And they're our companions because they're loyal to us. They do our bidding, and they want to be by our side. They actually put up with a lot of discomforts to carry on being our mate. It doesn't mean that it's not painful.
Now as humans, we're not great at picking up on the signs of pain. We tend to wait for the really overt signs, the yelp, the cry, the limp, the real difficulty getting up from a laying down, when actually these dogs generally have been showing us signs way, way ago. First signs of arthritis pain are often behavior change. So the dog just says, "That was a bit sore last time. I'm not going to do it again." Or, "When that happened, that was really quite painful. I'm not going to do that again." So what you might find is that it's a real subtle behavioral signs that they show such as not wanting to play, not wanting to greet, hesitating to get on the sofa, hesitating to get into the back of the car. And that might be your first sign, but that still is related to pain.
So, yes, arthritis is painful, but it comes in varying degrees and dogs express it differently. A dog might express it to you in a very subtle behavioral way, a postural change and capability change, or it might be a limp, but it's very, very rarely a yelp.
For additional information about canine arthritis, check out Dr. Capon's work at Canine Arthritis Management.
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