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Signs of Arthritis in Pets

Cat sleeping on wall

Difficulty moving around

If your cat is arthritic, they may stop jumping up onto windowsills, shelving, countertops or any other high area because it is causing them pain and discomfort to display this kind of physical exertion. On the other hand, you may notice your dog finding it visibly tough to get in and out of the car, walking up the stairs, or keeping up with you on a walk. If they usually greet you excitedly when you come home from work, pain due to stiff joints may prevent them from doing this so quickly or with so much enthusiasm because it’s harder for them to get up from laying down.

Unable to find a comfortable place to lie down

Ever noticed your dog or cat having to keep getting up, begrudgingly, and moving around to different places before lying down and going to sleep? Laying still for long periods of time can make your pet’s joints more stiff and worsen their pain, so they may find it difficult to settle in one spot to go to sleep.

Bad-temperedness / irritability

Pets with arthritis may become grouchier and irritable. You may notice that they will “go for you” when you try to touch them, often bopping you with their paw or biting your hand. This is more likely to happen when you are stroking them in an area that they are finding painful (such as their spine) and they want you to stop and back off.

Dog running in field

Having “accidents” in the house

Although urinating in the house can also be a sign of other conditions, it’s important to keep an eye on this if you notice your senior cat beginning to do it. Dogs may find it difficult to get into the right position, cats may struggle to get in and out of a high-sided litterbox and they both could find it difficult to get up and travel outside.

Chewing and biting their body

A dog or cat suffering from arthritis may find some relief or comfort in licking at, biting or chewing certain body areas that are sore. If this carries on for a while, it can cause bald patches around the areas they’re focusing on and those skin patches can become red and inflamed.

Unfortunately, arthritis cannot be cured, but the pain can be managed by the use of the correct medication and taking steps to prevent further deterioration. If you believe your cat or dog could be suffering from arthritis, book an appointment with your vet for an examination and some advice on the next steps to take.