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From Anxiety to Arthritis: How to Spot Signs of Health Issues in Your Dog

Canine arthritis is a progressive disease that affects the joints and can be very painful for your dog. Unfortunately, the condition has no cure, but it is manageable. Arthritis can affect dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. 

Contrary to popular belief, the condition does not just affect bigger and older dogs. Here are some signs that your pup has arthritis:


Mobility Problems


A change in your pup’s mobility is one of the most noticeable signs of arthritis. Signs to look out for include the inability of your dog to climb stairs or struggling to walk. You may also notice your dog becoming less enthusiastic. 

As your dog ages, it is natural for them to slow down. However, it could also be a sign that they are in pain due to the disease. 


Behavior and Mood Changes


Arthritis causes a lot of pain in your dog. The joint pain can result in anxiety, fear, and stress. Think about your pup’s behavior in the recent past. If you notice some behavior or mood changes, it could indicate they have arthritis. Some signs to watch out for include the following:

  • Growling

  • Unenthusiastic to play

  • Irritable behavior

  • Sleeping more often

  • Snapping

When your pooch starts acting out of character, it could be a sign of an underlying issue such as arthritis.


Lameness or Limping


You may notice your dog limping or relying on some legs over others, depending on the affected joints. Your canine companion may also experience lameness if the arthritis is affecting its spine. 

It will manifest in one or both hind legs. Additionally, they may experience stiffness or pain when getting up or down. These signs may fade after walking a few steps and “warming up.”




Has your well-behaved, adorable pooch suddenly turned into a grumpy old dog? Your dog will have a short fuse if suffering from constant pain due to arthritis. Your dog might even bite or snap when you try touching them. It is especially true if you handle them in a manner that worsens the pain.


Biting, Chewing, and Licking


If your furry friend has arthritis, you may notice them paying extra attention to painful joints. You may see them constantly licking their paws or joints to relieve the pain and indicate they are in pain. While it may be a result of itchy skin, it can also be an indication of arthritis.




If you spot any of the above signs in your pup, it is time to visit your vet. They will perform a comprehensive physical exam to confirm the diagnosis. They will then be able to advise you accordingly on how to manage the condition.

For more on spotting signs of health issues in your dog, visit Santa Monica Pet Medical Center at our Santa Monica, California office. Call (310) 393-8218 to schedule an appointment today.

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