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Is Your Dog At Risk for Arthritis?

June 17, 2021

What is the risk of your dog developing 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 arthritis and which breeds are more likely to suffer from them. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis


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.

Breeds most commonly diagnosed with Rheumatoid Dog Arthritis include:

1. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Cute right? This little-known breed is actually pretty new. It wasn’t officially recognized by the AKC until 2003. These handsome dogs need some kind of job or activity to make them happy.

Tollers are also great for households with kids. However, you may not want to bring these pups into a household with cats. They were recently bred as hunting dogs, so they still retain the desire to catch and retrieve other furry animals.

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

3. Shetland Sheep Dog

Canines belonging to this 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.

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”.

Osteoarthritis in dogs

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. The more your pooch is active in extreme sports or exercise, the more likely it will have injuries.

Breeds that are most likely to contract Osteoarthritis are:

1. Labrador Retriever

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.

This pup loves to follow his nose, so make sure you have a sturdy fence if you want one of these babies. The weight and bone structure of these dogs are what put them on this list.

2. German Shepherd

Hardworking and focused are the two traits that most describe the German Shepherd. They are not overly friendly with strangers, so they are not easily distracted when training and going about their business.

This breed is known for its intelligence and is often used as working dogs. Unfortunately, their size makes them more likely to get osteoarthritis.

3. Pug

The Pug is a mischievous breed that provides hours of entertainment to its companions. Unfortunately, these loving dogs are susceptible to arthritis. Also, their facial structure can cause breathing problems and overheat.

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.

4. Alaskan Malamute

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.

5. Bloodhound

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.

This pup loves to follow his nose, so make sure you have a sturdy fence if you want one of these babies. The weight and bone structure of these dogs are what puts them on this list.

6. Golden Retriever

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. Keep in mind that this breed also requires more grooming than other short-haired dogs.

7. Old English Sheepdog

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.

8. Samoyed

These intelligent pups are playful and athletic. 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. The energy level and size put this breed at risk for arthritis.

9. Saint Bernard

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.

10. Dachshund

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.

11. Great Dane

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.

12. Otterhound

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.

13. Chow Chow

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. Another large breed, the Chow Chow is prone to joint and hip problems.

14. Basset Hound

Calm and low key, the Basset Hound 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.

15. Mastiffs

(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.

16. Boxer

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. Despite this, boxers are highly  energetic which places them squarely on the list of dogs prone to joint pain later in life.

Is Your Dog On the List? 

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.

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