Poor Self Grooming
While dogs don't groom themselves as thoroughly as cats do, many will often shake or lick excess hair off their bodies—something they might stop doing if the movement causes pain. As a result, a dog with osteoarthritis might need more frequent brushing to prevent matting.
However, the main grooming problem with dogs experiencing joint pain has to do with nails. “Nails can grow long if dogs are walking less or are walking on lower-impact surfaces, like grass or dirt rather than pavement, and are not wearing them own as quickly,” says Dr. Erin Preiss, DVM, of the advanced care veterinary clinic The Vet House.
“Plus, if arthritis is already causing some stability issues on slippery surfaces and nails are allowed to get too long, there will be even more issues,” says Preiss.
Although rare, Preiss points out that some dogs with serious mobility issues might also have trouble adopting a normal posture to urinate or defecate, which could result in them soiling themselves in the process.
“These are really important issues to address and treat as soon as possible for quality of life and hygiene reasons,” says Preiss.