There is not a single dog in history that does not love walkies. In fact, for most furry friends, this is going to be the highlight of their day. As soon as they see collar and lead, they get excited.
But, have you noticed a change in your dog’s behaviour recently when it comes to exercise? Perhaps they are struggling to keep up on walks or are not so excited to go out anymore. It is possible that your pup could be suffering from stiff joints. Here are some signs you should look out for.
Is your dog normally the one taking you for a walk? If they start to lag behind you on their daily walks, there is probably going to be a reason for this. In particular, they may have suffered from an injury or their joints are causing some discomfort. When they are stiff, this is going to limit their mobility. This can mean they have trouble running and jumping, as well as playing. You can read more about why dogs get stiff joints on this link.
Has your dog always been centre of attention and loves to be active at home? If they are suffering from stiffness, it is likely that this behaviour will change. Namely, they are going to be sleeping more. A lot of dogs deal with discomfort by lying down and resting. This can offer some relief to the stiffness they are feeling in their legs or back.
It is important to remember that dogs can sleep for around 12 to 15 hours a day. This is often dependant on the breed, their activity levels and mood. You are going to know roughly how long your furry friend normally sleeps during the day and at night. So, if you are noticing they are sleeping more, it may be time to check-in with the vet. This is also going to rule out any other health problems.
Trouble Getting Up
Of course, it is normal for your pup to lie down and nap during the day. But, if you notice that they are having trouble getting up afterwards, this can be a sign their joints are bothering them. Stiffness means that they are going to have to use more energy to get up. The discomfort can make it a slow process and one that looks painful. In addition, they make whining or whimpering noises while they are getting up.
Not Wanting to Play
During the day, your dog is going to be full of energy and playful. However, if their legs, back or hips are causing them discomfort, it can affect their mood. Dogs that do not want to play may be suffering from stiffness. Of course, the pain can mean that the movement of tug-of-war or playing fetch is just too much for them. If your dog suddenly does not want to play, it may be time for some investigation. If they are stiff, it is likely they will exhibit other behaviours that you can find on this list.
Whimpers When Touched
Some dogs can deal with a lot of pain and you would never know they were in discomfort. However, some canines are more sensitive than others. This means that they can really be troubled by stiff joints. Not only might they have problems exercising and lying down, but they might also whimper a lot. In particular, this can be when they are moving. This is a behaviour that you should pay attention to. Indeed, if you are worried, it can be beneficial to visit your veterinarian. They can carry out an examination and ensure that there are no serious underlying problems first. They will also be able to give you advice on stiffness in dogs.
Problems Using Stairs
Dogs normally bound up and down stairs without any problems. However, if your pooch has stiffness in their joints, they are going to be less mobile for this type of movement. In other words, you might notice that they are having trouble getting up and down them. They might hop between stairs and favour certain legs, as well as generally being slower. Dogs can look like they are struggling, which can mean they are in some discomfort moving their joints. It may be best to move your dog’s bed downstairs or carry them up at bedtime. You want to try to relieve some of the pressure they are putting on their joints.