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What Causes Dogs to Get Arthritis? Common Causes

causes of dog arthritis

Causes of Dog ArthritisDogs are not immune to arthritis problems. They have almost the same muscular and tissue structure in their joint areas as humans. So arthritis can rear its ugly head for them as well. It’s painful and debilitating. Some dog are more prone to arthritis than other. While almost all dogs seem to end up with stiff arthritic joints.

Dogs can suffer like humans and develop limping problems and pain when arthritis hits. But what exactly causes the arthritis to hit them? Understanding the causes of arthritis in dogs may help you to recognize the symptoms and help in prevention or staving off arthritis pain for as long as possible.


Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis symptoms include:

  • stiffness, lameness, or limping after rest
  • appetite loss or unusual weight gain
  • inactivity and sleeping more
  • reluctance to walk, run or climb stairs
  • unusual urinating in the house
  • irritability and other behavioral changes.

If your dog has any of the above symptoms, then take your dog to the vet. A veterinarian can diagnose arthritis based on your dog’s age, medical history, and a physical exam. X-rays of the joints may be necessary to determine severity of disease.

Common Causes of Arthritis in Canines

Excess Weight

One of the main causes for arthritis in dogs is a weight problem. Excess weight can cause stress on their joints and if it continues, can lead to arthritis. If you keep your dog at a healthy weight, you can decrease their chances for developing arthritis later on in their life.


Injuries and accidents to their limbs are another cause of arthritis in dogs. When an injury occurs to their limbs, some underlying damage can happen to the muscles and tissues around their joints, causing undue stress.

It’s also possible that some joint misplacement could happen with an injury or accident – also causing stress and rubbing of bone on tissues, making arthritis inevitable in dogs.


Poor nutrition can be another cause to their arthritic problems. Dogs need a well-balanced diet with the proper amounts of nutrients to keep their bones, muscles and tissues strong and healthy.

Prolonged poor nutrition can cause their bones and muscles to get weak and they can start to degenerate, causing inflammation in their joints.  Too much physical activity without a balance of rest is another cause of arthritis.


A dog is an active animal and will have bursts of activities that are healthy for them, but they still need proper rest for their muscles, just like humans do. Overworking of the muscles can cause strain on the joints and if they don’t receive proper rest, can eventually lead to arthritis.


Sometimes arthritis can be caused by diseases or tumors that can’t be helped. There are some diseases that come without warning and wreak havoc with a dog’s body, causing many ailments – including arthritis.

Age is the Most Common Cause of Arthritis in a Dog

Proper veterinary care to help alleviate some of the symptoms. A vet may prescribe medication to lessen the pain brought on by arthritis.  Sometimes old age itself causes arthritis. Your dog has led an active, robust life and now that he’s older, ailments common with old age will set in.

Old age has slowed him down and he’s not as active as he once was. Dogs tend to rest, but too much rest can cause their muscles to stiffen a little. Try to keep them a little active to lessen the effects that arthritis can have on them.

Arthritis might be inevitable for them, but if you keep them comfortable and give them the proper treatments prescribed by the veterinarian, a dog can live out their last years in happiness.

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