- Is your little dog more than 10 years old? Is your big dog more than 7 years old? Is your cat more than 12 years old? If they are, then they probably have some degree of arthritis. Arthritis can be the result of an injury, but more commonly we see arthritis as a result of the normal aging process.
- Does your pet jump less? This may be subtle, and you may simply notice that they don’t jump onto the couch as much any more. Dogs may sometimes need help getting into a car, and cats may just spend more time on the ground. This is a common sign of arthritis.
- Is your pet stiff in the morning? Does it take them a bit more effort to get out of bed? This is a common sign of arthritis, and often these pets look better after an hour or so, as their muscles and joints get moving.
- Is your cat getting matted hair around its back end, despite usually being a good self-groomer? This is a common sign of arthritis in cats, as they are too stiff to turn around and groom the hair around their back end.
- Is your dog less playful than it used to be? Or does it stop playing earlier than usual? This can be a sign of arthritis, as jumping/running/turning can cause pain in an arthritic dog.
Owners sometimes do not notice that their pet has developed arthritis. This is because the changes usually happen slowly, and they may assume that their old pet is simply “slowing down”. If you think that your elderly pet is slowing down, perhaps it is time to see your vet to discuss options for managing arthritis.