We all live on a budget, some bigger than others, but very few of us—if anyone reading this—has an unlimited budget for the vet each month. As you get to know your dog, you learn what is and isn’t normal and this provides a frame of reference for when to take your dog to the vet. But normal sort of goes out the window after your dog develops arthritis. As a degenerative disease, arthritis gets worse over time and it’s not unusual for a dog to develop a new limp or act stiffer out of nowhere. So, how do you know when to take your dog to the vet for arthritis?
1. The First Time You Notice Symptoms, Take Your Dog to the Vet
No matter how young or old, if your dog starts showing signs of arthritis for the first time you should take him or her to the vet. Common first symptoms to look out for include limping and stiffness after first getting up or starting to exercise. The earlier you start treating arthritis, the better the odds are for prolonging the development of more painful symptoms.
2. If Fido Gets Rapidly Worse, Take Your Dog to the Vet
It’s perfectly normal for arthritis to get worse over time but it’s typically a slow progression, especially if you are monitoring your dog’s diet and exercise, feeding the right supplements, and maintaining a healthy weight. If your dog is a little stiff one day and then completely unable to move his rear end the next, something is wrong and you shouldn’t wait to visit a vet.
3. You Notice Symptoms of Next Stage Arthritis, Take Your Dog to the Vet
Changes to your dog’s overall behavior, activity level, or mobility are good excuses to visit the vet. There are different stages of canine arthritis, and different levels of progression call for different treatments. While the first stage of arthritis is generally treated with diet, exercise, and the right supplements, more advanced arthritis may require injections, acupuncture, or medication.
4. If He’s Showing Signs of Pain, Take Your Dog to the Vet
Arthritis isn’t a walk in the park; and something as simple as a walk in the park can lead to pain, stiffness and discomfort. There are things you can do around your house to improve your dog’s comfort, like providing a soft bed to sleep on and making sure the house doesn’t get too cold. No matter how much you do around the house, if your dog is acting out in pain whenever he moves, or for no reason at all, you should pay a visit to the vet. Your vet can recommend options to reduce pain such as medication, massage therapy, acupuncture, injections, and so forth.