CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Just like us humans, our dogs can develop pain throughout the body as they age.

More specifically, neck and back pain.

It can make it hard for your pet to get around and play.

"Just about every dog I see I can make the case for neck or back pain or maybe both," said veterinarian Dr. Denette Cooke.

A lifetime spent pulling you down the street with their leash, being super active running and romping around can all contribute to neck and back pain in your dog.

"Subtle signs that I see from neck and back pain involve reluctance to jump on the couch, reluctance to jump off the couch, reluctance to go up the stairs, reluctance to greet you at the door," Dr. Cooke said.

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Another sign is one you can pick up if you listen. You might hear "the shuffle," as Doctor Cooke calls it. That's when your dog's paws drag on the floor when they walk.

How can you prevent this pain?

"Keep them thin," Dr. Cooke advised. "Keep them exercising, also do some core strengthening exercises where we can get them to do some sits to stands, come up off their feet and strengthen that core."

When it comes to lessening the pain, Dr. Cooke said try medication first. But if you want to avoid drugs, there are methods that are sometimes even more successful.

"Acupuncture is great. This is a great time to use it before it gets worse. Chiropractic can be helpful. Exercise. Once you know what it is, the vet can show you some exercises to do to strengthen those muscles and stay within their range and keep them fit," Dr. Cooke explained.

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