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Is Your Dog At Risk for Arthritis?

dog arthritis


Going to the dog park everyday I see too many older dogs slowing down or limping. This made me wonder if my dog will at some slow down and develop joint pain and arthritis, and if so, is there anything I can do to prevent this.

For pet parents like us, our dog isn’t just a dog; they’re family. So, when they’re experiencing the symptoms of dog arthritis, for example: limping, stiffness, redness, and swelling in the joints, it is really painful to watch. If you have a young dog or puppy, you too may sometimes wonder if there is any way to prevent this from happening to your pup.  Well, we have some good news ...

While many dogs may develop arthritis as they age, especially those that are genetically pre-disposed, the good news is that preventative care throughout your pup’s life can delay the onset or even prevent arthritis in your dog altogether. 

After all, even with pets, prevention is always better than cure!

The first step you can take in developing good preventative care would be to determine whether your pup is at a higher risk for getting arthritis. Based on this information, you can speak to your vet about developing a plan that ensures your dog has a lifestyle that gives them the best shot of experiencing their lives without pain in their bones and joints. You can even use anti-inflammatory supplements like Walk-Easy Extra Strength Joint Pain Relief to secure their overall mobility. 

Keep in mind that there are different types of canine arthritis, and a variety of cases are more commonly seen in many different dog breeds.

In this blog, you’ll discover breeds that are most at risk for developing and showing signs of dog arthritis. You'll also learn about two common types of dog arthritis - Rheumatiod and Osteoarthritis, and which breeds are more likely to suffer from them. 


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) occurs when a dog’s immune system attacks its joints. In many cases, it is a condition that is progressive.  A dog with RA will experience a worsening of inflammation over a period of time.

It is common for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to affect a dog in middle age. However, surprisingly, it has a greater chance of affecting younger pups than osteoarthritis does.

Additionally, because RA is believed to have such a major genetic component, it is recommended that you do not breed dogs that are pre-disposed to developing it. This type of dog arthritis most commonly impacts dogs of a smaller breed.



Cute right? This little-known breed is actually pretty new. It wasn’t officially recognized by the AKC until 2003. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Tollers for short are the smallest breed of retriever.

These handsome dogs need some kind of job or activity to make them happy.

Tollers are loving, affectionate and very intelligent. These dogs are very energetic and may push to keep running and playing fetch longer than is really good for them. For this reason they may be prone to exhaustion and accidents. They were recently bred as hunting dogs, so they still retain the desire to catch and retrieve other furry animals.

Tollers also tend to have more auto-immune issues and a higher frequency of hip dysplasia than other breeds. 

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

2. Poodle

These dogs are affectionate and adaptable. Poodles are easy to train and can live happily in many situations, such as in apartments, homes with no yard, big families, with other pets, etc…

A hypo-allergenic breed, the Poodle sheds very little. Many people are put off by the long hair and crazy cuts on these pups, but their coats can be kept clipped close.

Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodles all experience issues with hip dysplasia, epilepsy, Addison’s disease, thyroid issues, hypoglycemia, bloat, and collapsed trachea


3. Greyhound

Canines belonging to this giant dog breed are quite stunning! Traditionally known as racing dogs, dogs in this breed still retain high energy levels and need lots of exercise.

Being great jumpers, make sure you have a high fence if you want to be an owner to one of these pups. Because of their love of running and long skinny legs, Greyhounds are more susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries and leg sprains. Other health issues to watch out for are dog bloat and eye issues.

Greyhounds are easy to train, affectionate, and friendly. Most of these dogs are racing dogs, but their career is over when they are from 2-5 years old. Many people adopt them when they are “put out to pasture”.

Greyhound dog


This type of dog arthritis is more common. Osteoarthritis is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). It affects 1 in 5 dogs. The older your dog gets, the more likely it is that he will develop this arthritis, which is caused by normal wear on the joints and injuries.

While there may be some genetic component, canines who are overweight or in large breed classes are more likely to get more serious cases at younger ages than normal. Also, dogs who are active or working dogs will probably develop this type of arthritis in later years so it is important to be prepared and take care of your senior dogs. The more your pooch is active in extreme sports or exercise, the more likely it will have injuries.



A symbol of search and rescue, the Bloodhound has a great sense of smell. Intelligent and affectionate, these canines are easy to train. A great family pet, this hound is friendly with everyone it meets.

The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the United States, and it's no surprise why. This pup loves to follow his nose, so make sure you have a sturdy fence if you want one of these babies. 

Labrador dogs are super friendly and make great pets that are generally healthy but the weight and bone structure of these dogs are what put them on this list. Labrador owners need to keep an eye out for elbow and hip dysplasia issues that can cause lameness and mobility issues.

It is important that these dogs get plenty of exercise but also that they don't overdue it and cause strain on joints that over time may lead to inflammation and pain from canine arthritis.

Labrador Retriever


German Shepherds are known to be extremely intelligent and hard working. In fact hardworking and focused are the two traits that most describe the German Shepherd, making them excellent guard dogs, police K9s and protectors. 

German Shepherds are not overly friendly with strangers, so they are not easily distracted when training and going about their business. Because of their dedication and intelligence these dogs are often used as working dogs. 

Unfortunately, their size makes them more likely to get osteoarthritis. Other common health issues experienced by these dogs include hip and elbow dysplasia, diabetes and degenerative disc disease. 

German Shepherd

Like all large animals, German Shepherds can have problems with their spines, especially as they age. Because some of these issues are genetic these dogs should be checked for hip and spinal abnormalities starting at a young age. Early detection, proper diet, and exercise can all help a German Shepherd better deal with these health issues. 

3. PUG

The Pug is a mischievous breed that provides hours of entertainment to its companions.

Unfortunately, these loving dogs are susceptible to arthritis and luxating patella. This happens when the kneecap moves out from its groove, causing limping and sometimes pain.  Another issue experienced by this breed are spinal problems such as hemivertebrae. This is due to their abnormally shaped vertebrae which puts pressure on the spinal cord causing back pain. 

Owners of pugs should also look out for dog incontinence and problems with their back legs. Also, the facial structure of this breed can cause breathing problems.

Pug Running

Pugs are not usually very healthy dogs. Take care that the parents of the Pug you are considering are healthy, and make sure that you’re adopting from a reputable breeder.


These double-coated canines do not do well in equatorial areas. They were made for the Arctic, and cold weather is what they are healthiest in. A great work dog and guard dog, Malamutes are reserved with strangers.

These pups do love to dig, so be prepared! A lot of dogs in this breed are work dogs. Size and injuries mean they can develop arthritis.

Alaskan Malamute jumping over a log

Despite their high activity level, canine obesity can be a significant health problem in Alaskan Malamutes, especially in their senior years. Unfortunately all that extra weight can seriously affect their overall health including causing joint problems, back pain and heart disease. 


A symbol of search and rescue, the Bloodhound has a great sense of smell. Intelligent and affectionate, these canines are easy to train.

 A great family pet, this hound is friendly with everyone it meets. You may be surprised though at how large Bloodhound get. A Bloodhound can weighing 80-110 pounds and stand 23-27 inches tall.  

This pup loves to follow his nose, so make sure you have a sturdy fence if you want one of these babies. These dogs are known for their long, droopy ears and skin folds, especially around the face making them look like the strong silent type.  However, because of their droopy ears, they may be more prone to ear infections than other dogs. 


The weight and bone structure of these dogs is what puts them at risk of joint pain, hip dysplasia and dog arthritis.


One of the most popular breeds in America, these loving dogs are loyal and easy to train. Energetic pooches are best suited for the active, outdoors family. Golden Retrievers especially love water and mud holes.

Often used as hunting dogs, the retriever has its size and working-class background to thank for making it more likely to get osteoarthritis.  In fact, hip and elbow dysplasia are two health problems commonly seen in Golden Retrievers. 

Some Golden Retrievers are born with congenital hip dysplasia, while others can develop this condition in their senior years. Despite being susceptible to various health issues such as hypothyroidism, Atopic dermatitis (an itchy skin condition), heart and joint problems, the Golden Retriever is an extremely friendly, loving dog breed that makes a great family pet. 

Golden Retriever


Adaptable and easy to train, the Old English Sheepdog is gentle and fun-loving. Also, called “Bobtails”, this breed is at home herding and guarding other animals – and kids.

This friendly dog does well in country or city life. While this dog is large, they are also hard workers. Herding animals put them more at risk for an injury which heightens their chance of arthritis.

A generally healthy breed with an an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, the Old English Sheepdog may experience some commonly senior dog health conditions like deafness, cataract, retinal detachment and hypothyroidism.  

One major health concern that these dogs face is canine hip dysplasia (CHD) 

Sheepdog running


These intelligent pups are playful and athletic. Native to Siberia, this beautiful dog is known for its happy disposition and fluffy white coat.  With all that fur, cold temperatures are the best for its health. If they are going to be outdoors in warm temperatures, you will need to keep their hair clipped short.

Samoyeds are gentle and do great with kids and other animals but they do like to be stimulated all the time both physically and mentally. When Samoyeds are left alone for long periods, they get bored and can have some destructive behaviors, such as chewing things around the house or digging up the backyard. For this reason it is important to keep them busy and exercise these dogs inside even when you can't take them outside.

Although these gentle giants can live a long life (around 14 years) they can be genetically predisposed to several medical issues, including eye and heart problems, hip dysplasia, and kidney disease. The energy level and size put this breed at risk for arthritis.



An affectionate breed, the Saint Bernard is great for homes with kids and other pets. They cannot tolerate the heat well, so they are best suited for colder climates.

Saint Bernard's don’t need a lot of exercises. In fact, they can be downright lazy. This lowers the risk of injury, but their size still puts them at risk for joint issues.

Because of their size, nutritional needs and grooming St. Bernard dogs may be considered high-maintenance pets that require lots of care and attention from their owners.  Especially because they do not get as much exercise it is important to watch their food intake and the number of dog treats you give these dogs as too many dog treats can lead to obesity and serious health issues.

Saint Bernard


These long dogs may not make good guard dogs, but they do make great watchdogs. While Dachshunds are usually suspicious of strangers, they are still loving and playful with their family.

“Weenie Dogs” also have normal energy levels, so they aren’t hyperactive yappers. Even though they are small, their long spine makes them at risk for arthritis.

Like all dog breeds, Dachshunds develop some health problems more often than other breeds. Issues that owners should watch for include back problems, Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) which causes spinal disks to become brittle and\or slip, canine cancer, seizures, or heart problems. 



These gentle giants are loving and loyal. Danes make great pets for active families on the go. These canines have tons of energy and will need room to romp.

Potential owners should also keep in mind that everything is more expensive when you have to buy it bigger. Great Danes can be the size of a small horse. That makes these pups one of the most common dogs to have joint problems and osteoarthritis.

The deterioration of the joints is gradual and may not be as easily detected, especially as these breeds may seem a bit awkward when they move. For dogs such as Great Danes and others on this list it is important to pay attention to their mobility and give them dog joint supplements and remedies to help reduce any inflammation and support the joints.

Great Dane


These personable dogs are friendly and affectionate, but they are also good at entertaining themselves. In fact, they are one of the best breeds for spending time alone.

Otterhounds will love attention and play, but they are not clingy and needy. This little-known breed is playful, energetic, and large. That combination makes them a likely candidate for joint problems like osteoarthritis.



These regal dogs need a strong trainer who is well-versed in “pack leader” training. Known to be aggressive, care should be taken in households with kids and other pets. One thing this dog has going for it is that it is independent and does well with alone time

Unfortunately hip dysplasia is one of the most common issues amongst this breed. An inherited condition, hip dysplasia is an improper development of the hip joints that can lead to arthritis, loss of mobility, and possible debilitating joint pain.

As the Chow Chow matures, you may see that their legs become stiffer or lamer. It may also become harder for them to get up from a lying position. If this occurs, seek out a vet right away.



Similar to the Blood Hound, the calm and low key Basset Hound also loves to just lie around and take it easy. These lazy dogs are great for first-time owners, and ones who are lazy trainers.

Extremely friendly, you will never have to worry about aggressiveness in this pooch.

Long and weighty, this breed is more susceptible to joint issues like dysplasia and arthritis, as well as frequent dog ear infections. In fact, obesity can become a real big issue for these dogs, especially as the more weight they carry the more likely they are to experience back problems.

Basset Hound

In addition, although they have fairly short legs, this dog breed is also at risk of getting patellar luxation where the kneecap moves side-to-side out of position. This condition causes instability, pain and inflammation in the knee joint.


(Japanese (Tosu Inu), Bull, Brazilian, Neapolitan, Dogo Argentino, etc.)

An independent and strong-willed breed, Mastiffs make great guard dogs. Needing a strong and experienced trainer, these gentle giants are still far removed from their war-loving ancestors.

While these pups have a bad reputation, most are not aggressive unless trained to be. Like Bulldogs, arthritis and hip dysplasia are more common in these breeds.



These dogs are imposing in stature with their long, lean muscles; however, they are soft-hearted, loving animals. These pups make great companions to adults, children, and other animals.

Dogs in this breed are usually very quiet. One of their most coveted qualities is that they are not nuisance barkers. Boxers are highly energetic which places them squarely on the list of dogs prone to joint pain later in life, as is the case with most purebred dogs on this list. 

One of the biggest issues faced by the Boxer breed is degenerative myelopathy. This disease affects the nervous system and lower spinal cord leading to possible paralysis of the lower part of the body.

Boxer dog breed in the park

Some of the early signs to watch for are mild clumsiness making it appear that your Boxer has just forgotten how to walk. This sudden unexplainable "clumsiness" may not occur frequently at first, but any sign of lameness or issue in the hind legs should not be ignored.


If you’ve spotted your own pooch’s breed in the above list of top 16 dog breeds that are at risk for developing arthritis it’s worth exploring what preventative care can look like for them before it happens. After all, your pet's health and care are in your control.

However, regardless of your dog's breed, if you’re recognizing that your dog is experiencing inflammation from dog arthritis, try BestLife4Pets WALK-EASY Hip and Joint Relief Remedy to ease their pain and get them walking easier in no time.

For more information on how to take Caring for Senior Dogs, check out the blog.

To read about Common Mistakes Dog Owners Make, check out our blog.

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