There’s nothing worse as a pet owner knowing your beloved animal is in pain. Arthritis is a painful condition that affects around one in five Australian dogs. It is most common in older dogs of medium or large breeds, but can affect dogs of any age, size and breed. People are often unaware of the signs of joint pain and think their pet is just getting old.

Veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren discusses the common symptoms and the simple things we can do to make our canine companions feel more comfortable.

Five signs of joint pain

1. Difficulty moving – hesitant to jump, run or climb stairs

2. Stiffness or discomfort when getting up from lying down

3. Limping or lagging behind on walks

4. Experiencing pain when being touched in certain areas

5. Licking or chewing at the joints

How to help alleviate joint pain in dogs

1. Moderate your pet’s exercise
Regular exercise is still important for muscle tone and joint flexibility. Offer daily, low impact exercise like gentle walks and swimming.

2. Weight loss
Being overweight can exacerbate arthritis by putting extra pressure on the joints. Talk to your veterinarian about a weight loss plan for your dog.

3. Pamper them
Dogs with joint pain may benefit from regular massages and acupuncture.

4. Home improvements
Provide an elevated bed away from drafts and add extra blankets in winter.

5. Discuss treatment options with your veterinarian
Create a program of treatments to minimise your dog’s pain and help slow its progression. Natural supplements such as Rose-Hip Vital® Canine may help improve joint health and the general wellbeing of active and ageing dogs. It’s made from 100% pure and natural rosehip fruit, which is a rich source of natural vitamin C and powerful antioxidant.