How to Tell if your Pet has Joint Pain

Cute small white dog and cat share a white fluffy bed

Just as humans grow older and begin to experience pain in their joints, both dogs and cats can experience the same. You may notice as your beloved furry family member grows older they aren't playing as much as they used to or jumping as high anymore. Unfortunately, that could be the result of weaker joints in their bodies. Not all cats and dogs are predisposed to joint health problems; however, it's not unusual for it to happen to aging pets in general due to a degeneration of the cartilage between the bones. It is also common in overweight pets, large breed dogs and some cat breeds, including Himalayan, Persian, and Siamese. Noticing your pet is in pain isn't always easy, and it can be difficult to decipher what different behaviors mean.

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How can I tell if my pet has joint health problems?

There are many different signs and symptoms that show your pet might be in pain. The likelihood your pet suffers from deteriorating joint health is generally higher if they are experiencing the following:

  • Limping - you may notice your pet favoring one of his or her legs when they are first getting up
  • Difficulty moving - your cat might not be jumping to the top of the cat tree any more or your dog is gradually trying to avoid jumping into the car
  • Sleepy - moving around can be taking a lot of energy due to the pain and your pet may be resting more.
  • Irritability/Aggression - even if your pet isn't a biter, handling or petting them in a place that causes them pain could cause them to lash out
  • Licking, chewing, biting self - sometimes pets will lick, bite or chew the painful areas to provide some relief

What can I do to help relieve my pet's joint pain?

There are a few things more difficult than seeing your pet in pain. Fortunately, there's a lot we can do to help relieve it or improve and maintain their joint health. Provide comfortable pet beds, like the Plush Memory Sleeper, for your pet to rest on instead of the hard ground. The orthopedic beds can help ease the strain placed on your pet's joints. Use pet ramps and steps to help your bet get to their favorite spot on the couch or to help them get into the car. Joint supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin can encourage growth and help maintain your pet's joint cartilage. If needed, talk to your veterinarian about medications that can help provide relief from joint pain and inflammation.