Arthritis (more accurately osteoarthritis) is a very common, painful, condition of older dogs. It is caused by degeneration of the cartilage and bone of joints, leading to stiffness and discomfort. Arthritis can be caused by previous injury to the joint, abnormalities in bone and joint formation and genetic factors and the risk of this disease developing is increased with obesity or frequent high-impact exercise.
Some dogs, for example those with hip dysplasia, may develop arthritis at a relatively young age (i.e. 2-4 years old), whereas in the majority of dogs, the problem will develop in late middle-age to older age. It is most common in larger breeds but any dog can be affected.
There are many different ways to help your dog if he has arthritis and these will be discussed in more depth on the pages below. It is important to remember that even if you don’t think your dog is in pain, arthritis IS a painful condition so does need treatment.