Posted by Pet Honesty on

Dog Joint Problems: Everything You Need to Know

Table of Contents

When your beloved dog starts limping awkwardly or lying around more than usual, it’s natural to feel concerned. 

The last thing you want is for your pup (of any age) to be uncomfortable or hurting. But is this unusual behavior a passing phase or is it a sign of something more serious? Could they benefit from some exercise or a hip and joint supplement for dogs? Or is it better to let them be and see what happens over time? 

It’s really important to learn to spot the signs and symptoms of joint discomfort in your dog early on, before it gets worse and out of control. If you can quickly recognize and begin to treat joint issues in your dog you’ll give them a better chance at living a discomfort-free and mobile life. 

By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of what causes joint discomfort in dogs, how to tell if your dog is experiencing joint discomfort, and how to help them feel better as soon as possible. Since your dog can’t speak up for themselves, it’s important to keep an eye out for the clues they may be giving you.


Of course, to know for sure, it’s always best to consult your vet. They’ll be able to take the proper x-rays, blood profile, and mobility tests to give you the final answer. But before you schedule the appointment, you can learn to easily spot the signs.

Table of Contents:

  • Signs and Symptoms of Joint Discomfort
  • Non-Medical Ways to Minimize Discomfort


Signs and Symptoms of Dog Joint Discomfort

Remember, early detection is vital for your dog's health and happiness. The sooner you’re able to spot the signs, the sooner you’ll be able to help your pup return to a normal life or at least help with their discomfort. Here are some of the most common symptoms of joint discomfort.

If you notice more than one, consider taking your dog in for a check-up at the vet…

  • Limping or walking awkwardly
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Lack of interest in playing or going outside
  • Sensitive to touch or reacts as if it hurts 
  • Tires easily from normal activity
  • Legs becoming thin or atrophied 
  • Difficulty getting up, lying down, or using stairs
  • Unusual urinating in the house
  • Obsessively gnawing/chewing at legs

Non-Medical Ways to Manage Joint Discomfort

Your vet may recommend anti-inflammatory medication, surgery if the condition is severe, or maybe a different kind of treatment, like regular exercise and diet control. Regardless of the medical intervention, there are a few methods you can practice at home to help your dog start feeling and moving better. Just be sure to get the green light from your vet beforehand.

Weight Control. If your dog is overweight, it adds pressure to their joints and skeletal system. Overweight dogs have a higher chance of suffering from joint discomfort]. You can help your dog lose weight by reducing their portion sizes and refraining from giving them additional scraps from the human’s table. 

Exercise. Another way to help your dog lose weight, while also loosening up their joints, is to practice light exercise. We know this can be really difficult when your dog is experiencing discomfort but it’s important to keep them moving even if it’s just in short spurts. The exact recommendation will depend on the age and size of your dog, but it’s usually a good idea to break up exercise into shorter sessions of 15-20 minutes once or twice a day, rather than longer periods of 40-60 minutes. Moving around in the water is also a great idea since it removes the weight load off of dogs’ joints. 

Food. Research shows that Salmon dog chews and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid can help support normal inflammatory pathways, limit damage to cartilage, and manage the symptoms of joint discomfort in dogs. Small fish like sardines are also naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids. Other foods like turmeric and sweet potatoes can also offer anti-inflammatory support. But again, be sure to check with your vet before making drastic changes to your dog’s diet.

Supplementation. Have you tried adding dietary and nutritional supplements into your dog’s joint relief regimen? Supplements can be very beneficial for dogs with joint discomfort, assisting with their discomfort relief, and also preventing any further damage. Glucosamine dog chews, featuring ingredients like turmeric and MSM, can help promote a normal inflammatory response and help your pup feel comfortable again. 

All in all, there are many things you can do to help your pup if they are suffering from joint discomfort. The first step is to watch out for the signs and symptoms mentioned above, followed by utilizing the tips we’ve mentioned in this article to keep your pup comfortable and discomfort-free. 

If you have any more questions about joint discomfort in dogs and what you can do to help your furry best friend, check out Pet

Camille Arneberg and her dog
Camille is a co-founder of Pet Honesty and VP of Pup Parent Education. After watching her own family dog suffer from joint issues for years she became passionate about improving dogs' quality of life. With the help of a team of veterinarians and dog nutritionists she now helps educate other dog owners about the small but powerful things they can do to positively impact their dogs' health and wellness! She lives in Austin, TX and loves cuddling puppies, being outside and reading.