Arthritis is a common chronic ailment for dogs of all ages but, like with human arthritis, older dogs tend to get it more than younger dogs. Treating canine arthritis is expensive and time consuming. Canine arthritis is also a painful condition which can cause mobility issues. Dog owners need to be aware of the risk factors in order to prevent or slow down this condition.
Being a Certain Breed
After a comprehensive study of arthritis in over 16,000 dogs, the University of Pennsylvania identified which dog breeds were most prone to getting arthritis. These breeds often have a larger space between the hip joint and the socket. Larger, burlier breeds are most prone to having this problem, including:
- · Saint Bernard
- · Golden retriever
- · Labrador retriever
- · German shepherd
- · Newfoundland
Large lean dogs such as greyhounds, lurchers, American staghounds or borzoi can grow large but they do not have the structural hip joint problem that heavier breeds do.
Just as overweight people are more prone to getting arthritis than people at a healthy weight, so overweight dogs are more prone to having arthritis than dogs that maintain a healthy weight. More flesh and fat means more for the joints to haul about. This can wear out the joints more quickly than expected.
Dog owners need to monitor their dog’s weight and begin to cut back on treats and add more exercise as soon as the dog begins putting on extra pounds. In the case of a toy dog, just one extra pound now can do a lot of damage later. Like people, dogs get used to overeating and under-exercising, so getting them on a diet and exercise plan can be difficult when they are used to large meals and lots of rest.
Being Injured or Having Hip Dysplasia
Injuries or having joint issues when young such as hip dysplasia damages the entire joint, including tendons and bones. Hip dysplasia is one of the most common genetic conditions in dogs. Although some breeders try never to breed a dog with hip dysplasia, there are still many puppies and young dogs suffering with this condition. Any young dog with hip dysplasia needs their weight monitored closely to avoid further joint deterioration.
Dogs can be injured in a variety of ways which are not always preventable. Some injuries can be prevented. Small, thin dogs like Italian greyhounds can be injured when playing with much larger and heavier dogs so they should never be allowed to mix with much larger dogs. Puppies of toy breeds should not be allowed to jump off of tables or shopping carts because they can damage their limbs and joints.