Are Miniature Schnauzers Prone To Getting Arthritis?

Mini Schnauzers are well known for their long life span. With an average lifespan of 12 years, schnauzers rank highly amongst dog breeds with the longest life span. Notwithstanding, once they start getting older, schnauzers may start to develop health conditions.

One of these conditions is arthritis. Though it is commonplace for older dogs to develop arthritis, regardless of the dog breed, miniature schnauzers are more susceptible to developing this condition. This can be attributed to their life span and their character because schnauzers are high-octane, high-energy dogs.

Miniature Schnauzers And Arthritis

All schnauzers are particularly healthy breeds. This, coupled with the fact that they have a longer average life span than most other breeds, make them attractive options for pet owners.

Miniature schnauzers, that is to say, those that have the dwarfism gene, are more likely to develop maladies and health conditions than their larger counterparts.

This can be attributed to their dwarfism gene. Early on, the miniature schnauzers may not seem to have any particular recurrent problem. However, as they age, they are more susceptible to developing arthritis and a host of other health conditions.

How Do Mini Schnauzers Get Arthritis, And Where In Their Bodies Are They Prone To Get It?

As dogs get older, due to their almost perpetual mobility and individualistic breed character their health tends to slightly deteriorate. This means that they are more likely to develop health complications, arthritis in particular. Schnauzers are no exception.

Younger schnauzers have almost boundless energy and their stamina is almost unmatched. Due to their constant mobility, their bones and muscles begin to wear with time. Thus, once they get into the latter stages of their life, it is likely that they will develop arthritis.

Additionally, a deficiency of nutrients in their diet can play a huge role in their level of health, both when they are young and when they get old. It is essential that they eat foods that suffice their calcium and phosphorous requirements lest they develop complications later on.

Several areas are more susceptible to developing arthritis than others. The hips, in particular, should be monitored very carefully if you suspect that your dog has arthritis. Additionally, the hind legs are also prone to manifesting arthritis.

Identifying arthritis especially in older dogs can be and onerous task. This is because as dogs get older, they resort to a more sedentary lifestyle. Thus, it may be a bit difficult to identify problems in mobility and general behavior. It is vital to keep a close eye on any changes in behavior, particularly any signs of pain or discomfort when moving.

Signs That Your Miniature Schnauzer Is Having Trouble With Arthritis

You can recognize signs of discomfort and pain in your miniature schnauzer by paying attention to the way he is behaving. All dogs are unique and they therefore respond to pain differently.

For instance, your mini schnauzer may be usually playful in the morning, but you might wake up one day and find that he is legarthic, which is abnormal.

There are many signs can indicate that your miniature schnauzer is having trouble with arthritis, even though dogs are stoic creatures and they might mask the signs of pain. Some signs that your pet might have arthritis include:

  • Lameness or limping
  • Reluctance to climb stairs, walk, play or jump
  • Lagging behind during walks
  • Stiffness or pain when getting up and down
  • Licking the affected joints
  • A change in personality, such as displaying aggression when he is normally good-natured.
  • Yelping when you touch him
  • Walking on his tip toes (see Winston below)
  • Making awkward noises when touched

These signs become more evident as the pain increases and the arthritis progresses. Due to the changes that have taken places in the affected joints, it is not possible to cure arthritis in dogs. However, it is possible to control and manage the pain effectively.

The schnauzer in the picture below was our second one, Winston, and he lived to almost 17 years old! He struggled with arthritis after age 10, with the main sign being him walking around like he was on his tip-toes.

Make sure you get your mini schnauzer the proper treatment as soon as you recognize something is wrong to alleviate his discomfort.

What To Do To Prevent Arthritis

Early on in their life, you should take your schnauzer to see the veterinarian at least once a year. However, as the schnauzer continues to get older, it is paramount that you increase the frequency of the vet visits. This will help catch a condition or complications early on before it worsens.

As stated earlier, your dog’s diet is an important part of maintaining his or her health, both in the short and the long run. Consequently, you should endeavor to make sure that the dog’s nutritional requirements are met.

One way to do this is to consult with your vet on which nutrients could be lacking in the dog’s diet (including healthy snacks!).

Exercise is also a crucial part of a dog’s life and requirements. For the younger schnauzers, it is essential to ensure that the amount of exercise they get suffices their energy levels.

As the dogs get older, you also need to make sure that you control the amount of exercise the dog is having. Too much of it can be detrimental later on, especially if they’re trying to keep up with younger, healthier dogs.

How To Mitigate The Symptoms Of Arthritis In Your Mini Schnauzer

The first thing you have to understand is that it is commonplace for older schnauzers to develop arthritis. Therefore, you need to adapt to the new norm instead of forcing the dog to adapt to new conditions. Keep the environment the same. Also, avoid changing the dog’s habits and yours.

Another thing you can do is to make sure that the schnauzer receives the needed medication. By consulting with your vet, you will get the needed advice to make sure that you purchase the effective medication.

Modern medication, such as painkillers and arthritis medication has shown an ability to not only alleviate but also greatly improve the condition of dogs with arthritis. Medications such as carprofen capsules are perfectly suited to making sure that the pain and inflammation your dog may be experiencing is completely eradicated.

Though arthritis isn’t treatable, the said medication can greatly improve the condition of the dog, and sometimes it can even return to its old self. Deramaxx Chewable Tablets (or something similar) are also another highly recommended remedy for relieving pain.

Other Problems Your Schnauzer May Develop

There are a myriad of other problems that your dog may develop later on in its life. It is important that you stay knowledgeable about the said conditions to be fully prepared for any eventuality. Here are some of the most common health problems when it comes to schnauzers.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones are a condition where calcium oxalate uroliths, calcium stones, develop in the urinary tract, making it difficult and sometimes impossible for the dog to urinate.

Kidney stones are particularly notorious when it comes to schnauzers. Though other dogs also tend to develop the condition, it is miniature schnauzers that have the highest likelihood amongst dog breeds to have complications from kidney stones.

According to a study published in 1998, miniature schnauzers were almost 12 times more likely to develop kidney stones than the other breeds. Additionally, male schnauzers were three times more at risk of developing the condition than their female companions.

It has even been suggested that the condition may be hereditary when it comes to miniature schnauzers.

As you can see, it is critical that you remain constantly vigilant for the signs and symptoms of kidney stones, especially in older, miniature schnauzers.

Some of the signs and symptoms include a poor appetite, abdominal discomfort, and most importantly, the change in urine production be it an increase of a decrease. Blood in the urine is also a tell-tale sign.

Immediately after you notice one of these signs or any other indication of altered urination behavior, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately. Kidney stones may turn fatal if the condition is not addressed as soon as possible.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common health problem amongst the larger canine family. The condition is hereditary. When it comes to hip dysplasia in schnauzers, the condition may occur in two ways.

  • The first is when the dog has osteoporosis, or when the cartilage faces chronic degeneration.
  • The second way is the head of the femur, the socket where the bone fits into doesn’t form fully or is partially disjointed from the hip bone, resulting in joint laxity.

The signs of hip dyslexia are tell-tale. They include:

  • Loss of muscle mass especially in the thigh,
  • Pain or problematic mobility when jumping, running or even rising,
  • Stiffness,
  • Fatigue,
  • And a bunny-hopping gait.

Additionally, you may note imbalance and even a narrower stance in your dog’s posture.

Surgery is the most practical, efficient, and effective remedy for this condition. The type of surgery may vary depending on the condition and the doctor’s recommendation. However, the condition is reversible.

Myotonia Congenita

This is a muscular disease that causes the muscles of dogs to contract too easily. The muscles stiffen, and this can lead to several issues for the dog. This includes problems swallowing and walking.


Hypothyroidism is inherent to schnauzers. This condition is characterized by the shrinking or inflammation of the thyroid glands. As a result of this change, the thyroid glands are not able to adequately produce the required quantity of thyroid hormone. The condition is prevalent in middle-aged and older dogs.

It may be a bit tricky to identify the signs and symptoms of this particular health condition. However, if you see that your dog has developed a lack of energy (beyond what’s normal for its age), both mental and physical has gained a lot of weight over a short period and is having skin issues such as hair loss and changes in the natural coat, consult with your vet immediately.

Note: Though normal hypothyroidism is common to all the schnauzers, central hypothyroidism is particularly ubiquitous when it comes to schnauzers that have the dwarfism gene, miniature or otherwise.

Notwithstanding the type of hypothyroidism, there are medications that can vastly improve the condition of your dog. One of these remedies is synthetic levothyroxine. It will reverse all the damage caused by the condition.

Alternatively, if the condition is identified early enough, the vet can prescribe medication that, after between four and eight weeks, your dog’s condition will be back to normal.


As stated earlier it is only natural that the heath of your dog will dip ever more slightly as he or she gets older. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that the pet is in tip-top health condition. Though health problems are sometimes inevitable and nonreversible, you can ease the pain and discomfort your dog is experiencing by providing the best medication possible.

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