First Aid for Dogs: Dealing with Arthritis and Joint Pain


Arthritis is a common condition in dogs that causes inflammation of the joints. It can affect any joint in the body, but most commonly affects the hips, elbows, and shoulders of larger breed dogs. It's not just an old dog's disease as it can affect dogs at any age. The most common form of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease that results from wear and tear over time. OA can be minimized by making sure your dog stays healthy through proper nutrition and exercise throughout their life

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints, which is characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling. The most common types of arthritis in dogs include osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD). DJD occurs when cartilage wears away from the bones in your dog's body causing them to rub together instead. This can be painful for them as well as cause discomfort when walking.

Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) can also cause pain in your dog's joints as well as lameness because it results from improper growth of cartilage during development. In some cases, OCD may require surgery if there was damage done to surrounding soft tissue structures such as tendons or ligaments before they have fully matured into place with their respective bones at maturity age 15 months old so make sure you talk with your vet about whether this option is right for you!

Degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a non-inflammatory form of arthritis 

Degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a non-inflammatory form of arthritis that usually affects older dogs. It can be caused by trauma or infection, but it's often genetic. DJD is also known as osteoarthritis, which means that it causes changes in the joint tissues and cartilage breakdown.

The most common signs of DJD are stiffness after rest, lameness or soreness on one side of their body when they're walking or running, reluctance to jump up onto things like beds or couches, decreased activity level compared to before they started showing symptoms of DJD and weight loss despite eating normally every day. These symptoms can also appear suddenly; if you notice them within just one day after doing something new (like taking your dog hiking), then it may not necessarily be due solely to this condition but rather something else entirely!

Most cases of DJD 

DJD is a degenerative condition that occurs in the larger, weight-bearing joints of dogs. Joints that are affected by DJD may feel stiff and painful as they become stiffer over time. The most common sites for DJD include hips, elbows, and shoulders but it can affect any joint including those in your dog's paws or tail.

DJD is not the same as arthritis (the inflammation of a joint), though some dogs with DJD do also have an associated arthritis component which will require additional treatment options beyond those provided by exercise alone. It's important to note that while age-related wear and tear is often cited as one of the main causes for developing DJD in our pets' early years, obesity can also be a contributing factor for this condition occurring later on down the line too!

Pain medications.

If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, there are several medications that may be helpful in managing her pain.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are not a cure for arthritis but can help reduce inflammation and swelling around the affected joint. They're also safe to use in dogs, as long as they don't have any underlying health conditions that could be aggravated by NSAIDs. However, if you do choose to give your dog an NSAID medication, it's important to follow the dosage instructions very carefully so as not to cause more harm than good!
  • there are non-NSAID pain medications such as tramadol, buprenorphine, fentanyl, amantadine, and gabapentin that may be used to manage pain.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements or omega fatty acid supplements are sometimes recommended to promote joint health and alleviate arthritis symptoms. 

It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the most suitable medication and treatment plan for your dog's specific condition.

Rehabilitation therapies 

Rehabilitation therapies might include hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and manual therapy techniques such as massage or joint manipulation.

Hydrotherapy involves using water to reduce pain and stiffness in dogs with arthritis.

Acupuncture is another treatment method for dogs with DJD that can help reduce pain and stiffness in the joints by stimulating certain points on the body that control inflammation. Manual therapy techniques like massage and joint manipulation may also be beneficial for dogs suffering from DJD.


Arthritis and joint pain are common problems in older dogs, but don't let that discourage you from getting a pet. You can take steps to manage the symptoms of these conditions and help your dog live a happier and healthier life. If you notice any signs of arthritis or joint pain in your dog, make sure to talk with your veterinarian about treatment options right away so that they can get started on the road toward recovery!


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