Our understanding of why dogs develop arthritis is growing all the time.
There are many reasons dogs develop arthritis
Older dogs are more likely to develop arthritis, but it can occur at any age
Other risk factors include genetics, sex, bodyweight, diet, exercise and injuries to the joints
There are many ways we can reduce the risk of arthritis developing
Let's look at the reasons dogs develop arthritis in more detail.
1) Wear and tear
This can be considered “normal”, as it is everyday use of the joints over a dog’s lifetime. Over time the wear and tear on the joints becomes greater than the body’s ability to repair them - this causes the arthritis we see in old age.
2) Too much impact through a joint
Increased forces through normal joints causes abnormal wear and tear over time. The most common cause of increased impact on dog’s joints is them being overweight. Luckily, there is something we can do about this.
Unfortunately, some breeds of dog are of a body type that puts more force on their joints, so it is especially important that these breeds do not get overweight.
There is also evidence that certain types of high impact exercise may not be good for the joints of some dogs, so thinking about how we exercise our dogs is important.
3) Joint abnormalities
Some breeds of dog are more likely to have abnormal joints. This means that even a normal load will cause abnormal force, and more wear and tear on the joint. This leads to a condition called Degenerative Joint Disease. Examples of abnormal joints include Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, and Patellar Luxation.