How to Help Your Arthritic Dog!
23 September, 2016
As our dogs age, what used to be second nature to them becomes harder (just like as we get older). The run becomes a stiff walk; the jump to a favorite chair is no longer possible and even lying down can sometimes be accompanied by a deep groan. One of the most common ailments in older dogs is arthritis.
The symptoms of arthritis include the following:
Arthritis symptoms include stiffness, lameness, or limping after rest; appetite loss or unusual weight gain; inactivity and sleeping more; reluctance to walk, run or climb stairs; unusual urinating in the house; and irritability and other behavioral changes. A veterinarian can diagnose arthritis based on your dog’s age, medical history, and a physical exam. X-rays of the joints may be necessary to determine severity of disease.
Below are some ways to help minimize your dog’s arthritic pains that are non-medical approaches:
Make sure your dog is not overweight
If your dog is overweight, this puts added stresses on joints, causing greater joint damage and more severe arthritis. Helping your dog lose weight will help minimize further joint damage.
Add some omega 3 – fatty acids to your dog’s diet
The right mix of dietary fatty acids can do more than improve your dog’s skin and coat. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation, help limit damage to cartilage and reduce the symptoms of arthritis in dogs. Calcium can also give your dog’s joints extra strength.
Light to moderate exercise is very important to keep the joints mobile
Light to moderate exercise helps keep stiff joints supple and mobile. The exact exercise requirements depend on the individual dog, with 15 to 20 minutes of exercise twice daily often recommended, rather than one long, 40-minute walk. Ideal is swimming, a low-impact activity that improves muscle mass without overstressing joints.
Physical rehabilitation is a great way to get exercise and stretch out the joints
Rehabilitation therapy can include underwater treadmills, ultrasound therapy and electric stimulation. Like techniques used to help humans with arthritis, canine physical therapy utilizes applications of cold and heat, massage, stretching and range-of-motion exercises to maintain joint health and muscle strength. Rehabilitation can relieve pain and promote cartilage, tendon and ligament health.
Natural over-the-counter treatments
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids have shown to ease arthritis symptoms in dogs. They usually come in a powder form which you can easily add to your dog’s food.
Acupuncture and massage can ease the pain of your arthritic dog
Acupuncture can sometimes help relieve pain from hip dysplasia and degenerative joint disease in dogs. You can also gently massage your dog’s painful joints to help restore blood flow to the tired muscles.
Provide a comfortable sleeping space for your dog and try to prevent your dogs from jumping
Providing a comfortable sleeping space for your puppy will help prevent him from laying in awkward positions and relieve unnecessary pressure on his joints.
If you can make your dog’s run a walk, add some glucosamine to their diet and make sure your home in senior-dog friendly, it can really benefit your arthritic dog.