Arthritis in Older Dogs: Causes and Diagnosis

Causes and Diagnosing Arthritis in Senior Dogs


Causes and Diagnosing Arthritis in Senior Dogs

Do you think your senior dog is suffering from arthritis? What signs have you been noticing that have gotten you thinking it’s a possibility? Before you continue here, why not have a read of an article I wrote called “Arthritis Symptoms in Dogs.” 

Causes of arthritis

  • Many joint diseases are actually the result of a trauma, or minor injury, a dog sustained in the past, even at quite a young age.
  • Cervical trauma caused by a walker jerking the leash around a dog’s neck, in a bid to stop him from pulling, or teach him to walk nicely.
  • Lack of exercise – dogs need exercise every day, not just on the weekends. Putting an out of shape dog through a lot of physical exertion two days of the week, is an injury waiting to happen.
  • Dislocated joint
  • Inherited
  • Strain on tendons and ligaments caused by excess weight
  • Trauma
  • Joint infection
  • Bone fracture involving a joint
  • Ageing and natural wear and tear

Diagnosing arthritis

We have looked at the signs, and confirmed our dog is manifesting at least some of them. If your dog experienced an injury or trauma earlier in life, then it becomes more likely you will receive a diagnosis of arthritis.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We need to know what’s what, in order to design a plan of action.

Dog at Vet's OfficeYour vet will conduct a thorough examination, including physical exam, x rays, and any other tests he may feel are relevant. He will also have you walk your dog so he can look for any signs of trouble, or discomfort.

If you haven’t been with this vet long, he will ask about any injuries or traumas your dog may have suffered earlier in life. The possibility of inherited conditions will also be investigated.

If your vet has confirmed your dog is suffering from arthritis, the next course of action will be to devise a management plan so your dog is comfortable, and has a good quality of life.

Share your story 

Sharing really does help others, so let us know – 

Are you interested in alternative therapies, and found a treatment or supplement that improved your dog’s quality of life?

Have you discovered a great new product to make your dog more comfortable?


You can either write in the comment section below, share on my Facebook page, or join my Facebook group Senior Dog Care Club

Arthritis in Older Dogs: Causes and Diagnosis

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8 thoughts on “Arthritis in Older Dogs: Causes and Diagnosis

  1. When i was younger i had a dog. After reading this post, i think that it indeed had arthritis. He had suffered an foot injury while young, and later on in life had trouble stepping on that same foot, all though years have passed since the injury. We never diagnosed him, but it looks like he did have arthritis

    1. Hi Ido, thanks for your comment. Unless we’re really paying attention, arthritis can go undiagnosed for quite some time. Often we just assume it’s part of ageing, and don’t realise it could, in fact, be something else. Hopefully this article will help people figure out what to look for.

  2. Hi Hindy,

    This is such a great article. Too many people owns dogs but don’t have the time to spend with them to get the exercise

    My dog is not quite senior yet but getting close. However my mother n laws dog is an old little thing with major arthritis throughout his body. I feel so bad for him every time I see him. I will be bookmarking this page and sharing it with her. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Tanya, I’m so glad you found this helpful. Poor little guy! Is your mother in law’s dog on any sort of pain medication, or joint supplement? I know a product called Yumove really helped one of my dogs with his arthritis. Perhaps she can check with the vet to see if it’s appropriate. I will be writing about managing arthritis, and discuss the different types of treatment available. Nice to know these articles are helping people care for their beloved pets.

  3. Hi Hindy

    Thanks for a great post. We had 2 Golden Labradors and both of them lived to about 15 years old. They both got arthritis very badly which is why the main reason we put them down at that age.
    Is this a common problem with Labradors?
    Although I suppose 15 years old is quite a good age for a large dog?

    1. Hi Lynne, Thanks very much for taking the time to comment, so glad you enjoyed the post. Wow that’s a great age for Labs, you obviously gave them a great life! Of course any dog can get arthritis, but larger breeds tend to be more prone due to the added stress on their joints, caused by their size.

  4. My dog is not yet senior but a few years ago he was hit by a car. It wasn’t very serious though and he was back to his old self in a few weeks. According to your article he is in risk of arthritis years to come..hopefully that wont happen..thanks to this post i’ll take preventive measures early enough.
    great post!

    1. Hi EMYY, Thanks for commenting, and I’m happy you enjoyed the post. So glad your dog wasn’t injured too badly, and it is interesting to note how something that happens when they’re young, can affect them in later years. Forewarned is forearmed as they say, and I hope whatever measures you and your vet decide upon will help him later in his life.

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