Skip to content

Understanding Osteoarthritis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and How to Manage It

osteoarthritis in dogs

By nature, most dogs are full of energy—eager to chase balls, go on walks, and zoom around the house. Osteoarthritis, a condition that can cause discomfort and limited mobility, can substantially limit these activities if not properly treated. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and effective at-home treatments for osteoarthritis in dogs is essential for providing the best care possible for our canine companions.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Dogs?

Osteoarthritis, often referred to as degenerative joint disease, occurs when the cartilage in the joints wears down over time, leading to pain, inflammation, and stiffness. While age is a significant factor, other causes such as genetics, obesity, joint injuries, and developmental disorders can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in dogs. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Limping
  • Reluctance to move
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty rising
  • Behavioral changes

The Progression of Inflammation and Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Osteoarthritis in dogs is a progressive condition, meaning it can worsen over time if left untreated. As the cartilage continues to degrade, inflammation in the affected joints increases, leading to greater discomfort and reduced mobility for our furry friends. Early intervention and consistent management are crucial in slowing the progression of osteoarthritis and minimizing its impact on your dog's well-being.

Uncovering Misconceptions About Dog Osteoarthritis

The most common misconception about osteoarthritis in dogs is that it only affects older dogs. While it is more common in senior dogs, it can affect dogs of any age, including young puppies. Certain factors such as genetics, joint injuries, obesity, and developmental disorders can predispose dogs to osteoarthritis at a younger age.

Another dangerous misconception is that over-the-counter human medications are safe for treating osteoarthritis in dogs. Many over-the-counter medications designed for humans, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can be toxic to dogs and should never be given without veterinary guidance. Dogs require specific medications and dosages tailored to their size, breed, and medical history.

By dispelling these common misconceptions and understanding the complexities of osteoarthritis in dogs, pet owners can make informed decisions about their dog's care and provide them with the best possible treatment and support.

How Can Pet Owners Manage Osteoarthritis at Home?

Managing your dog’s osteoarthritis at home involves a multifaceted approach. First, diet and exercise play crucial roles. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces stress on your dog's joints. Consider feeding them a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to exercise, dogs with osteoarthritis benefit most from low-impact activities, such as short walks or swimming.

Making your home a comfortable space is another important accommodation for your dog. Consider using ramps or steps to help them access elevated surfaces such as beds or couches. You can also use non-slip rugs or mats to provide traction on slippery floors. For rest time, consider investing in a supportive orthopedic bed or mattress for your dog. These beds can help relieve pressure on their joints and provide a comfortable sleeping surface. Providing them with interactive toys and puzzles at home can distract them from discomfort—but since most of these toys involve treats or food, make sure to monitor your dog’s intake to avoid excess weight gain.

Moreover, you can regularly massage your dog's muscles and joints to help improve circulation and reduce stiffness. Think about incorporating gentle physical therapy exercises recommended by your veterinarian to help maintain joint flexibility and muscle strength.

Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your dog's condition and adjust their treatment plan as needed. Your vet can also provide guidance on managing your dog's osteoarthritis at home and address any concerns you may have.

How Firocoxib Can Help Control Osteoarthritis

To relieve pain and inflammation, your veterinarian may prescribe Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that allows dogs to move more comfortably all day. By inhibiting the COX-2 isoenzyme, it prevents the formation of compounds that are involved in the degradation of your dog’s joints. 

Cyclooxygenase (COX) is an enzyme located in virtually all tissues of the body. There are several distinct forms with COX-1 and COX-2 recognized as having important roles in health and disease. Common NSAIDs block COX-2 production, reducing inflammation and associated swelling and pain. However they also block some COX-1 production which may result in serious side effects such as bleeding, gastrointestinal ulcers and kidney injury. Fortunately, newer NSAID drugs like Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs have been developed to selectively block COX-2 production while sparing some COX-1 functions, reducing the likelihood of adverse effects. 

Of those who used Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs, 87% of pet owners* saw their dog’s symptoms improve, according to the manufacturer. If your veterinarian prescribes Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs, you can get it delivered straight to your door with free, next-day delivery through Mixlab. 

Manage Your Dog’s Osteoarthritis with Support from Mixlab

Understanding osteoarthritis in dogs is essential for providing the best care for our beloved pets. With proper management strategies, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, or prescription medication like Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs, we can help alleviate their pain and improve their quality of life. As a full-service pharmacy, Mixlab not only creates custom compounds, but also stocks commercial medications, supplements and pet wellness products, with free delivery directly to your door. Contact us to get started.


*Prescribing Information for Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs. Data on File.

Firocoxib Important Safety Information:

Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs are for use in dogs only. As a class, cyclooxygenase inhibitory NSAIDs like Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs may be associated with gastrointestinal, kidney or liver side effects. Dogs should be evaluated for pre-existing conditions, and currently prescribed medications, prior to treatment with Firocoxib Chewable Tablets for Dogs, then monitored while on therapy. Concurrent use with another NSAID, corticosteroids or nephrotoxic medication should be avoided or monitored closely. For more information, please see full prescribing information.

Written in partnership with PRN Pharmacal