Dog Limping With No Sign of Injury
Is your dog limping with no sign of injury? Much like humans, dogs age and their bodies degenerate over time. Our furry friends experience all the same “old age” symptoms that we do such as diminished eyesight, decreased hearing, inflammation and arthritis. Being the brave little souls that they are, senior dogs will naturally try to mask any pain or discomfort they are feeling for as long as possible. By the time you see them limping you can assume that this pain started a while back.
What causes dog limping?
If the dog limping occurs after an accident, appears swollen or your dog can no longer bear weight at all then you need to take them to see the vet right away. If limping comes with other symptoms like labored breathing, lack of appetite or anything else totally out of the ordinary then you should also make a vet appointment.
Most of the time a dog limping has no sign of other pain or injury. While there could be several causes, the number one cause of limping in dogs is arthritis. Normally occurring in older or larger dogs, it can actually start to appear at any age and all dog breeds are subject to developing arthritis at some point. In fact about 1 in 5 dogs develops arthritis.
The Two Main Types Of Arthritis In Dogs
Degenerative Joint Disease
This is commonly known as osteoarthritis. The condition occurs when there is friction between the bones because of the erosion of cushioning cartilage. This is most common form of arthritis and it is mostly caused by prior injury or simply by aging. This is also the typical form of arthritis seen in larger dogs since they have to carry around more weight. The hips, elbows and knees are the most common sites of osteoarthritis in dogs.
Inflammatory Joint Disease
This can be caused by an infection and it can also be the result of an inherited immune system flaw or disease. Joint inflammation can cause pain and limping. This type of arthritis can sometimes benefit from a surgical option.
Does my dog limping with no sign of injury mean that he as arthritis?
The signs that your dog is suffering from joint pain might be subtle and a little hard to notice at first. Slowly you will notice your dog being less active and they may also have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Limping and stiffness (they especially might have trouble getting up after resting for a period). Dogs tend to get hip joint arthritis as well as in their feet
- Walking slowly and deliberately – your dog will want to go on shorter walks and might be unsteady on their feet
- Sleeping and laying down more often, not running and jumping and playing like they used to
- Urinating indoors – dogs sometimes do not want to move much and walking outdoors to pee might be too much for them, even if your dog isn’t one to have accidents they might start as they get more advanced arthritis
- Swelling and joints may be painful to the touch – this can be determined by whimpering, not wanting to put their full weight down on one side or the joints might even be warm to the touch
- Licking of joints – dog behavior tends to led to licking anything the dog considers an injury
- Weight loss – even with decreased exercise your dog might be losing weight due to lack of appetite
- Depression, nervousness or aggression – dogs that are in pain might act differently than you are used to. Even the sweetest dog can lash out if they aren’t feeling good.
What is the Treatment for Osteoarthritis in Dogs ?
Osteoarthritis is a non-reversible degenerative condition but you can take steps to slow or stop the damage and to overall reduce the pain and stiffness. There is no cure for osteoarthritis but there are treatments and lifestyle changes to help improve your senior dog’s quality of life. There are a number of treatment options, some are medical and some are natural. You can use any combination of these treatments as directed by the help of your vet to see what works best for your dog.
If the condition is severe or escalating the vet might prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and even some kinds of injections to help ease swelling, stiffness and pain. There are some surgical options as well for the most severe cases. Normally medication, therapy and natural remedies work well enough to avoid invasive or surgical procedures. The NSAIDs only mask the condition by reducing pain, and can have side effects for your pooch like ulcers, kidney damage, and heart damage. You should use other more natural methods whenever possible.
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound that may improve the body’s production of joint lubricants and the health of shock-absorbing cartilage within joints. You can give your dog a supplement that is high in Glucosamine like MightyHealth Hip & Joint Soft Chews. The MightyHealth supplements increase mobility and are safe for all breeds and all sizes of dogs. Start your dog on a high dose; then decrease to a normal level over time. This supplement takes about three weeks to kick in and start working for your pet. Glucosamine is a natural and safe supplement with no side effects. It’s a great healthy alternative to prescribed medication.
If your dog is overweight the vet might recommend some feeding changes and switch to a food with added Omega 3 fats added. Heavier dogs will develop arthritis more often and experience more pain so weight control will be one key to helping your dog feel better. Lay off the treats and people food and help your dog get some daily physical activity through walks and play time. Your sweet dog loves spending time with you so getting him involved, even when he’s tired and a little pained, shouldn’t be too difficult.
Your dog will naturally want to slow down and sleep more when they have chronic arthritic pain but walking and stretching actually help to loosen joints. You can encourage your dog to get more exercise by going on walks in small increments and giving them plenty of rest in between walks. Play games like tug and fetch can also encourage your dog to move more. Have patience with your dog though as they may move slower and become tired more quickly as they get older.
Just like a human person recovering from injury or getting treatment for arthritis a vet might suggest physical therapy to decrease scar tissue, improve mobility, and reduce pain. Studies have shown physiotherapy, chiropractic, and massage therapy have benefits for our canine pals suffering from arthritis. There are many types of therapy to choose from and your vet can help you choose the right one.
Aqua (Hydro) Therapy
Your dog might benefit from exercising in the water and swimming. Physical activity in the water is low-impact meaning it will not further damage the joints and it hurts less. Many dogs love to swim so hopefully they would enjoy this treatment a lot.
Home Improvements For Senior Dogs –
Besides the options prescribed by your vet, dog moms and dads can make changes at home to maximize their dog’s comfort. This could mean providing padded beds, ramps up to cars and steps and no-skid rugs on slippery floors. Make sure that there is an easy pathway outside to your yard for pottying.
What is the Arthritis Prevention For Dogs?
Sometimes arthritis is unavoidable, especially in senior or geriatric dogs. There are some things you can do, however, throughout your dogs life to help prevent the onset of the condition or reduce its effects overall.
Keep your dog on a healthy diet, avoid table scraps and feed them high quality food. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise but do not let them engage in activities that may lead to injury. These natural health habits can help you pup stay young for many years.
Glucosamine Supplements will help your dog avoid arthritis problems as well. Glucosamine is found naturally in dogs but it depletes itself over time. Without sufficient glucosamine, the natural repair process in the body slows, eventually leading to joint pain and stiffness. Research has shown that a glucosamine supplement can help prevent or treat arthritis in dogs. You can buy MightyHealth Hip & Joint Soft Chew Supplements which have glucosamine as the main active ingredient.
What are the benefits of glucosamine for dogs?
- Glucosamine has an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to reduce your dog’s pain
- Side effects are very rare with this supplement
- Helps restore joint health naturally, increasing mobility
- Improves lubrication in your dog’s joints
- May reduce or eliminate the need for NSAIDS (prescribed medications)
Prevention efforts, early detection and thorough treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs can make sure that you and your amazing friend can spend many wonderful years full of adventure together. Even senior dogs can continue to be active if they are treated and supported correctly. Make their senior years as loving and as pain-free as possible with diet, exercise and MightyHealth supplements.