No one wants their dog to suffer, but sometimes, it happens without us knowing. Recognizing canine distress is the first step to alleviating it. When we identify the symptoms early, we prevent further or worsening pain. Consider how much easier it is to treat the beginning stages of a minor illness than managing a more progressed issue further down the line.
Treating dog pain early can:
- Prevent more serious illness
- Slow progression
- Reduce suffering
- Require fewer doctor visits and emotional upset
- Bring an earlier diagnosis of a serious issue, when treatment is time-sensitive
This applies to joint pain too. Early intervention is crucial to prevent further damage, manage pain, and ensure a dog’s quality of life. Whether it’s an injury, the onset of arthritis, hip dysplasia, or a simple strain, the sooner a pup’s pain is identified and treated, the better they will feel both physically and mentally.
We Speak Different Languages
Communication is a critical component in addressing joint discomfort. Humans use words to describe a pain’s origin, length, and defining characteristics. Our ability to relay information quickly allows us to get specific help sooner. But how do we provide the same care for our dogs?
Other than the indisputable cry of pain, a dog speaks a different language. Adding to the challenge is canine history. In the wild, an injured or ill dog is considered the weak link. Vulnerable to attacks, they have a genetic predisposition to hide their weaknesses to protect themselves and their pack status.
Decoding joint issues while up against a language barrier and hidden symptoms is tough, but it is possible. There are common indicators of canine pain to tip us off. As our dogs’ primary caregivers, it’s on us to learn and recognize the signs.
General Pain Symptoms
Joint pain can manifest obviously or broadly. A limp gives a veterinarian a few places to start, but a quivering pup’s agony is much harder to determine because shaking could mean many things, including joint pain.
So, an overview of general pain symptoms is a must for every dog parent. Of course, most dog lovers believe they would know if their furry friend was hurting. But remember that canines have an innate defense mechanism that disguises their discomfort, even from their humans.
Dog pain presents as both physical and behavioral changes. The most common are:
- Excessive licking, especially in one area
- Uncharacteristic aggression
- Changes in eating habits
- Unusual sleep patterns
- Slowing down
Joint Pain Symptoms
Joint abnormalities tend to cause stiffness along with pain and can show up as mobility issues in the form of:
- Stiffness when standing up or lying down
- A reluctance to walk upstairs, jump on furniture or get in the car
- Weakness in or inability to use a limb
Please note that joint issues may show as general symptoms, mobility issues, or both.
All Dogs are at Risk of Developing Joint Issues
Many consider this a large breed issue. Just like humans, every year adds a bit more wear on our four-legged friends’ bodies. And while it’s most common in medium to larger breeds, the progressive deterioration of joint cartilage or osteoarthritis can attack any joint of any sized dog. The most significant risk factor is age.
Hip dysplasia is another condition commonly associated with large breeds. It’s the abnormal growth of the hip joint that results in malformation, instability, and osteoarthritis. The cause can be inherited or acquired through lifestyle choices including overfeeding. Rapid weight gain and obesity can start or exacerbate the issue no matter a dog’s size.
Preserving Quality of Life
Acute injuries demand immediate attention, but some dogs withstand years of joint erosion before their pain is detected. Early intervention can prevent unneeded suffering and preserve their quality of life. Want to do more to support your dog? Learn the signs of canine pain so you are more likely to detect symptoms sooner, and start your dog on a proven joint supplement and natural anti-inflammatory today!
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