Arthritis Flare-Ups in Dogs: Duration and Relief

Arthritis is a common condition in dogs, especially as they age. It is characterized by inflammation and degeneration of the joints, leading to pain and reduced mobility. One of the challenges of managing arthritis in dogs is dealing with flare-ups, periods when symptoms become significantly worse. Understanding the duration of these flare-ups and how to provide relief can greatly improve the quality of life for our canine companions.

What is an Arthritis Flare-Up in Dogs?

An arthritis flare-up in dogs refers to a period when the symptoms of arthritis become more severe. This can include increased pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced mobility. Flare-ups can be triggered by various factors such as changes in weather, overexertion, stress, or even an underlying infection.

How Long Do Arthritis Flare-Ups Last in Dogs?

The duration of an arthritis flare-up in dogs can vary greatly depending on the individual dog, the severity of their arthritis, and the trigger of the flare-up. Some dogs may experience a flare-up for a few days, while others may have symptoms that last for several weeks. It’s important to monitor your dog closely during a flare-up and consult with your vet if symptoms persist or worsen.

How Can You Provide Relief During a Flare-Up?

There are several strategies for managing arthritis flare-ups in dogs and providing relief from symptoms:

  • Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation and pain. Other medications such as corticosteroids or disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) may also be used in some cases. Always consult with your vet before starting any new medication.
  • Physical Therapy: Gentle exercises and physical therapy can help maintain joint mobility and reduce stiffness. A professional canine physical therapist can provide a tailored exercise program for your dog.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on your dog’s joints and help manage arthritis symptoms. A balanced diet and regular, gentle exercise are key to weight management.
  • Comfort Measures: Providing a comfortable and supportive bed, using pet-friendly ramps to avoid stairs, and keeping your dog warm can all help alleviate discomfort during a flare-up.


Arthritis flare-ups in dogs can be challenging to manage, but understanding their duration and how to provide relief can make a significant difference. Regular vet check-ups, a healthy lifestyle, and prompt attention to flare-ups can help your dog live a more comfortable life with arthritis.