Exploring Arthritis in Dogs: Are Certain Breeds More Prone?

Dog receiving a chewable supplement as a treat to help his arthritis and keep him healthy and pain free

It’s time to discuss arthritis in dogs. We’re going to look at causes, treatments, and vulnerable breeds. We explore the various factors that contribute to arthritis, such as genetics, size, and lifestyle. Whether you're a dog owner or simply interested in canine health, this post offers valuable insights into this common joint disease and its prevalence among different breeds.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a common joint disease that affects both humans and animals, including dogs. Arthritis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation and stiffness of the joints. This often results in pain, swelling, and decreased mobility. Arthritis can affect people and pets of all ages, and there is no cure. 

There are various treatments, including supplements, medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes, that can manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected. Arthritis can be categorized into different types, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and septic arthritis.

Causes of arthritis in dogs

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of arthritis in dogs. These include:

Age and genetics

Older dogs are more prone to developing arthritis due to the wear and tear on their joints over time. According to research, the arthritis rate in all dogs over one-year-old is 20%, and by the time dogs are seven years old, that percentage jumps to 60%.  Additionally, certain breeds may have a genetic predisposition to arthritis, making them more susceptible to the condition.

Joint trauma and injury

Previous injuries or trauma to the joints can increase the risk of arthritis. Dogs that have experienced repetitive stress on their joints, such as working or athletic breeds, may be more prone to developing arthritis later in life.


Excess weight puts additional strain on a dog's joints, increasing the risk of arthritis. Breeds that are prone to obesity, such as Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, may be more susceptible to developing arthritis.

Common symptoms of arthritis in dogs

Recognizing the signs of arthritis in dogs is essential for early detection and proper management. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Lameness and limping: Dogs with arthritis may have difficulty putting weight on the affected limb, resulting in a limp or favoring one side of their body.
  2. Joint stiffness and swelling: Arthritic joints may become stiff, making it challenging for dogs to move freely. Swelling and inflammation in the joints can also be observed.
  3. Decreased activity levels: Dogs with arthritis may become less active and show reluctance to engage in physical activities they once enjoyed.

Arthritis in specific dog breeds

While arthritis can affect any dog breed, certain breeds may be more predisposed to developing this condition. The ten breeds that are most commonly associated with arthritis include:

  • German shepherds
  • Golden retrievers
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Dachshunds
  • Newfoundlands
  • Bernards
  • Rottweilers
  • Great Danes
  • Mastiffs
  • Old English Sheep Dogs

Prevention and management strategies

Early Stage Hip + Joint Complex

While arthritis cannot be entirely prevented, there are strategies that can help manage the condition and improve a dog's quality of life. Some prevention and management strategies include:

Regular exercise and weight management

Keeping dogs at a healthy weight and providing regular exercise can help reduce the strain on their joints and lower the risk of arthritis.

Diet and nutrition

A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients and joint-supporting ingredients can help promote joint health and reduce the risk of arthritis.

Supplements and medications

Certain supplements and medications can help manage the symptoms of arthritis, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Research shows that early intervention with supplements can help prevent the onset of arthritis. 

Physical therapy and alternative therapies

Physical therapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care can provide pain relief and improve mobility in dogs with arthritis.


Arthritis is a common joint disease that can affect dogs of all breeds. While certain breeds may be more prone to developing arthritis, it's important to note that individual factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and overall health also play a significant role. 

By understanding the causes, symptoms, and management strategies of arthritis, dog owners can take proactive steps to prevent and alleviate the impact of this condition on their furry companions. Remember, early detection, early treatment with supplements, and proper veterinary care are key to ensuring the best possible outcomes for dogs with arthritis. Check out our Early Stage Hip + Joint Complex to help your best friends now.

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Dog running through an agility tunnel with no signs of arthritis because his owner gives him joint supplements for his health


Pet Wellness Direct does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We help pet owners to better understand their pets; however, all content on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. If you suspect that your pet needs medical assistance, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.