How Do I Know If My Dog Is In Joint Pain?

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Dog Health By Meg Marrs 2 min read May 27, 2021

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how to spot canine joint pain

Is your best friend in pain?

Large dogs are especially prone to a lot of different types of joint and bone problems, from hip dysplasia to arthritis, and oftentimes you won’t know they are in pain until it is too late to help them.

It’s important to keep your best friend healthy and active throughout his life, but to do so, you’ll need to watch out for the warning signs of joint pain in big dogs.

About half of adults over the age of 65 have arthritis pain, while an astounding 80% of dogs over the age of 8 show signs of arthritis pain.

And the bigger they are, the more likely they are to experience some sort of joint pain (big dogs are also more prone to injuries than small dogs, which puts them at even higher risk of developing long-term joint problems).

So, if you have a large to giant breed dog you have to start planning to protect his joints while he is still a pup.

For starters, lots of people like to have hardwood or other slick flooring to make things easier to clean, but your dog’s joints will be better protected if you have carpet (we suggest one of these dog-friendly rugs). It’s also super important to make sure that your dog has a bed that is both big enough and supportive enough for his larger-than-average frame.

If your dog is showing signs of slowing down, it’s not necessarily old age – he might actually be in pain. If your dog no longer gets up to greet you at the door, doesn’t seem interested in going on walks, or growls when you pet him, it’s time to take action.

Protecting your dog starts when he is a puppy. In order to prevent joint pain in your big dog:

  • Feed big-breed puppies a large breed puppy food – it will prevent them from growing too quickly, which will help prevent future joint damage.
  • Make sure your dog is eating a high-quality food that meets AAFCO guidelines and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Get enough exercise with your dog – at least a ten-minute walk every day.
  • Avoid high impact exercises and things like jumping into the car – use a ramp instead.
  • Use a high-quality dog bed that provides at least two layers of foam and adequate room for your pal to stretch out.

Protecting your dog throughout his life means more happy years in the end. If your dog is already in pain, focus on doing everything you can to alleviate his suffering and to get him moving again. Learn more about spotting the signs of joint pain in big dogs from this infographic from Big Barker!

big barker joint pain

Signs and Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs

You can see many of the clues that indicate your dog may be suffering from joint pain in the infographic, but we’ve listed them here to make things easier!

  • Getting up slowly
  • Stiffness
  • Swollen joints
  • Sleeping more
  • Walking with care
  • Limping
  • Licking joints
  • Difficulty settling
  • Licking joints
  • Reluctance to jump or go up or down stairs
  • Depression
  • Not enjoying activities he formerly liked 


One thing is for sure: Joint pain is no fun for your doggo! So, make sure you heed the advice provided above, watch for signs of joint pain, and set your dog up with a bed specifically designed to protect his joints!

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!


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