Osteoarthritis in Dogs: When Pain Prevents Sleep

Stiff gait, difficulty climbing stairs, and lameness are symptoms that can accompany osteoarthritis and include chronic pain.

A study from the Bristol Veterinary School in the UK investigated the link between chronic pain and impaired nighttime sleep in dogs with osteoarthritis. 20 dogs with osteoarthritis and, as a control group, 21 dogs without osteoarthritis were examined. For 28 days, the dogs wore FitBark’s actigraphy system, a specially designed canine movement recording device permanently attached to the collar. Activity and rest phases were determined from the recorded data. In addition, questionnaires were filled out by the dog owners to assess the quality of the night’s sleep and the severity of the dogs’ pain.

Less but just as good sleep

The data, transmitted by FitBark and evaluated by an algorithm, showed that the osteoarthritic dogs had fewer rest periods at night and probably spent less time sleeping than dogs in the control group. During the day, however, the ratio between active and resting phases did not differ between the two groups. The evaluation of the questionnaires showed that osteoarthritic dogs feel more pain and their mobility is restricted. The quality of sleep is not affected based on the answers given by the owners.

Lack of sleep impairs cognitive abilities

Sleep is important for the regeneration and repair of the brain and serves to process what has been learned and experienced. Impaired sleep at night can affect our dogs’ cognitive abilities and have a detrimental effect on memory and learning. In addition, lack of sleep can even aggravate chronic pain in humans over the long term – a vicious circle that could also affect dogs and impairs animal welfare.

Frequently Asked Question

What promotes osteoarthritis in dogs?

There are many causes of arthrosis in dogs: too rapid growth, injuries to the musculoskeletal system that have not healed smoothly, congenital or acquired malpositions or incorrect stress on the joints, as well as being overweight can promote the development of arthrosis.

Does the dog suffer from osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis in dogs usually progresses slowly. Lameness is later accompanied by restricted joint mobility and increasing, eventually permanent pain in the affected joint. As a result, the dogs move less, which leads to a decrease in muscles and tension.

Which dog breeds are prone to osteoarthritis?

The causes of osteoarthritis in dogs can be complex. There are dog breeds such as Labradors, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, or French Bulldogs that are generally prone to joint diseases and often come to veterinarians with arthrosis.

What helps against arthritis in dogs?

Chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega-3 fatty acids promote joint metabolism. Weight loss: Being overweight puts additional strain on the joints. Diet can provide relief from osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid: Some veterinarians and alternative animal practitioners treat osteoarthritis in dogs with injections of hyaluronic acid.

Should a dog with osteoarthritis walk a lot?

Regular exercise is very important for dogs with osteoarthritis. However, care must be taken not to overstrain the joints. The movements should be fluid and even.

How much exercise for osteoarthritis in dogs?

The daily exercise of your dog should be adapted to its state of health. In the case of joint diseases, for example, it makes sense for your dog not to go for long walks twice a day. It is better to take several shorter walks throughout the day.

Can a dog live with osteoarthritis?

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but there is a lot you can do to make life easier for your dog with osteoarthritis. If your dog has joint problems, please take him to the vet or come directly to us at the veterinary clinic.

How long can a dog live with osteoarthritis?

How long can a dog live with osteoarthritis? Since osteoarthritis has no direct impact on a dog’s life expectancy, dogs with osteoarthritis can live just as long as healthy animals.

What should dogs with osteoarthritis not eat?

Cereals, sugar, salt, and fatty meat should also be avoided. And not only when the dog suffers from arthrosis. However, with arthrosis, it is all the more important to give high-quality dog food that contains important nutrients.

What is anti-inflammatory in dogs?

Rapeseed, fish, and sunflower oil in particular are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Fats help the dog to meet its energy needs. Some dogs require more fats than others, depending on breed, size, and body type.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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