Senior Dog Arthritis: Understanding, Management, and Treatment Options

senior dog

Senior dogs are susceptible to various health issues as they age, with arthritis being one of the most common and debilitating conditions. Arthritis in older dogs can significantly impact their quality of life, causing joint pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. Understanding the condition and exploring effective treatment options such as CBD oil is crucial for ensuring the comfort and well-being of our furry companions.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Senior Dogs:

  • Difficulty in standing up or lying down
  • Limping or favoring certain limbs
  • Stiffness, especially after periods of rest
  • Noticeable changes in gait or movement
  • Visible swelling or inflammation around joints
  • Behavioral changes such as irritability, snapping and biting at family members or other family pets, retreating/withdrawing from family, and decreased play/decreased activity levels.

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • Age-related degeneration of joint cartilage
  • Previous joint injuries or trauma
  • Genetics and breed predisposition
  • Obesity, which adds stress to joints
  • Poor nutrition and inadequate exercise
  • Underlying health conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or OCD.

Treatment Options for Senior Dog Arthritis:

Veterinary Consultation:

  • Schedule regular check-ups and consultations with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and monitoring.
  • Discuss the severity of symptoms, treatment options, and potential side effects of medications.


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help alleviate pain and inflammation. Common examples include Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Previcox. However, NSAIDs can come with some very serious side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, GI ulcers, liver failure, and more commonly kidney failure in older kidney-compromised dogs. For a cautionary tale about NSAID use in older dogs, read my dog Marley’s story: Marley’s Story.
  • Prescription pain relievers like tramadol may be prescribed for more severe cases.
  • Joint supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM can support joint health and reduce symptoms over time. Products like Cosequin and Dasuquin come to mind.
  • There are many other drug options for pain management, including Gabapentin, Amantadine, Ketamine, and Librela (the new monoclonal antibody treatment from Zoetis). Here is a link to Librela info: Librela Info. More on that topic soon.

An in-depth blog post on pain management in dogs will be coming soon.

Weight Management:

  • Maintain a healthy weight through portion control and regular exercise to reduce stress on joints.
  • Consult a veterinarian for a tailored diet plan and nutritional recommendations. Weight loss in overweight pets is one of the main and most helpful things an owner can do to help prevent and treat arthritis. My favorite weight loss and mobility diet is a prescription diet by Hill’s called Metabolic and Mobility – it can reduce body weight by 15% in 3 months. Here is a link, you can ask your vet for an rx of it today: Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility Canine Dry.

Physical Therapy and Exercise:

  • Low-impact exercises like swimming or gentle walks can improve joint flexibility and muscle strength. It is important not to overdo it and take an overweight, mostly unexercised dog for a sudden 3-mile walk and strenuous hikes. You should slowly build up exercise to tolerance.
  • Physical therapy techniques such as massage and passive range-of-motion exercises can provide relief and enhance mobility.

Orthopedic Support:

  • Provide orthopedic beds or supportive surfaces to cushion joints and alleviate pressure points during rest.
  • Use ramps or stairs to assist senior dogs with mobility challenges, especially for accessing elevated areas or vehicles.

Alternative Therapies:

  • Acupuncture and chiropractic care may offer pain relief and improve overall well-being.
  • Cold or warm compress therapy can help reduce inflammation and soothe achy joints.

CBD Oil for Arthritis in Dogs:

  • CBD (cannabidiol) oil derived from hemp has gained popularity for its potential therapeutic effects in managing arthritis pain in dogs.
  • CBD oil works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating pain perception and inflammation.
  • Studies suggest that CBD oil may help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with arthritis without causing significant side effects.
  • CBD offers a holistic, completely nontoxic way to manage pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis in dogs and in cats.
  • To get the best results with CBD oil, look for Full Spectrum Hemp Extracts that have a full range of phytocannabinoids like CBD, THC, and CBG. Also, it is important to have a broad array of terpenes so that pain and inflammation can be addressed in the best way.
  • When considering CBD oil, it can be helpful to speak with a veterinarian who is experienced in cannabis medicine and can answer all of your questions. You may call me, a cannabis-experienced veterinarian, @ 512 413 2349.
  • To purchase veterinarian formulated, tested, and developed full-spectrum CBD oil, click here: Canine Biodynamic Store.

In conclusion, arthritis in senior dogs can significantly impact their comfort and mobility, but with proper management and treatment, their quality of life can be greatly improved. Veterinary guidance is essential for developing a comprehensive care plan tailored to your dog’s specific needs. Alongside traditional medications and therapies, alternative options like CBD oil can be very useful. By addressing arthritis proactively and holistically, we can help our senior dogs enjoy their golden years to the fullest.

If you have any questions regarding this information or CBD Oil for arthritis pain, you may reach me at:

512 413 2349
email me @ [email protected].

Lisa Daniel, DVM

1 Comment

  1. Judy on February 22, 2024 at 8:33 am

    Wow… Excellent job girlfriend. Your content is informative and clear and easy to read.
    Go get em honey

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