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Our dogs are like our babies but unfortunately, our babies age and don’t stay young forever. And while there is nothing cuter than a little geriatric doggie with their precious little greyed face, as pet owners, we also need to keep in mind that their aging also comes with similar health issues to ourselves.

If you have an older dog that seems to be getting a little slower at getting up, limps after a game of fetch, or just doesn’t seem enthused about climbing a flight of stairs, it might not be simple aging. While this might be true of most older dogs, there is always the possibility that your dog is experiencing arthritis. That is why it’s important to be aware and recognize the signs, as that is the first step to helping them get back to a healthy function. So here are the five classic signs of arthritis in dogs to watch out for.

A – Ain’t Doing Right:

Vets will sometimes notate ADR in your dog’s medical records. That is short for “ain’t doing right,” and it’s veterinarian shorthand for a pet that just isn’t acting like their usual self. While it’s vague, it’s also based on the observations made by the pet’s owner. You know your dog best of all. You can point out the smallest changes in your pet’s health and behavior. While you may not know exactly what to make of those changes, taking your pet to the vet as soon as you notice they “ain’t doing right,” can often be the best place to start when talking about arthritis.

B – Behavioral Changes:

This somewhat ties in with the previous sign, since shifts in a dog’s behavior are often the first sign that something is off. When it comes to arthritis and the pain it causes, a decrease in appetite is often the first and most common sign. Dogs don’t really like to eat when they’re in pain. But really, any behavioral change that is out of character for your pet can be an indication that something is wrong and they’re in pain. Some of these can include snapping, “forgetting” house-training or agitation. While some of the behavioral changes are obvious signs, many of them are usually “ain’t doing right” subtleties where you know something is wrong, but you just don’t know what. So don’t ignore that gut feeling and get them to the vet.

C – Can’t Get Comfortable:

Any dog that is struggling with arthritis pain will often take a long time settling down as none of the positions will feel remotely comfortable. If you notice your dog thrashing around like a passenger on a 10-hour long economy flight, or getting into weird new positions they’ve never slept in before, it could be a sign that they’re trying to compensate for the discomfort. It might be a good idea to take them to get checked out.

D – Difficulty Moving:

Any older dog who is limping, trembling, moving slow, struggling to get up after a nap, or is “stiff” until they start moving, could very much be a prime candidate for an arthritis diagnosis. There is also the possibility that the dog’s difficulty in mobility could be due to an overweight issue, it could also be a combination of both weight and arthritis. It’s important not to brush off mobility issues or weight issues as just part of the normal aging because they’re not. Fortunately, a vet can help with both.

E – Exclamation Of Pain:

If you find that your dog is suddenly whining or crying when he moves, he’s letting everyone know that he’s in pain. This also applies if your dog yelps when you pet them – it hurts. Do not overlook these vocalizations as they’re a sign that something isn’t right, and your dog may need help.

While some of these signs can also be warnings of other underlying issues, they can also mean that your dog is arthritic. Either way, you shouldn’t wait to take your dog to the vet. A vet will be able to examine your dog and their behavior and determine what the underlying cause is. The good news though, is that there are ways to help manage your dog’s arthritis. There are loads of good options such as medications and nutritional supplements that can have your older dog feeling and moving better in no time!

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