Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis is a very common condition, affecting 20% of all dogs, and up to 80% of all aged dogs. Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, difficulty in moving and reduces the animal's quality of life.

Symptoms of Arthritis include

  • Reduced playfulness
  • Limping or looking awkward when moving
  • Stiffness and difficulty rising, climbing stairs etc.
  • Change in personality
  • Yelping in pain, increased vocalisation
  • Lagging behind in walk, or unwillingness to exercise
  • Licking joints

Treatment of arthritis varies depending on the symptoms your dog is showing, costs and response to treatments seen in your dog. Below are some therapies that may be used. A combination of these therapies generally gives the best result for your dogs' arthritis.

  • Weight control - obesity increases pressure on joints and can make the pain of arthritis worse. It accelerates further joint degeneration. We can help provide guidance on diet and develop an eating plan for your dog.
  • Exercise - controlled exercise in moderation such a light daily walk helps to keep the joints moving. It also maintains muscle mass and helps prevent and control obesity.
  • Bedding - a warm comfortable area off the floor and away from cold drafts is ideal for a pet suffering from arthritis. Coats and blankets will also help protect from cold. See our "Winter Hints" article.
  • Pain relief - this involves 3 components: medical therapy (veterinary prescription drugs), dietary supplements and prescription diets.

Medical therapy

This involves medication with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can only be prescribed by a veterinarian. These are used to reduce inflammation and to help control joint pain. Examples of these include:

  • Metacam oral suspension or tablets
  • Rimadyl tablets
  • Previcox tablets
  • Cartrophen injection course (4 injections, each 1 week apart)

***Human medication is NOT appropriate and could be harmful to your pet***

Dietary Supplements

These are designed to provide natural products that can relieve chronic arthritic pain. These include:

  • Fish oils - Paws and Claws fish oil, human fish oil capsules.
  • Sasha's Blend/Pernease powder - marine products in powder form.
  • Glucosamine tablets - Both animal and human preparations are available eg Naturvet.
  • Joint Guard - Animal formulation of glucosamine and chondroitin supplement. Available in powder and liver treat form.
  • 4cyte - Animal formulation of epiitalis, available in palatable granules.

Prescription diets

Hill's J/D is a diet specifically designed to improve mobility by decreasing inflammation in the joints and slowing the progression of arthritis. This is a complete diet that can entirely replace your pets' current diet. There is a 100% money back guarantee on this product if your dog does not eat it.


For the best response to therapy for arthritis, we recommend a combination of the above treatments are used.

For further information please do not hesitate to talk to one of the staff here at Duncan McGinness Veterinary Surgeons.

Pictures sourced from:,


Big Blue Digital