How to Help Your Arthritic Dog!
23 September, 2016
arthritic dog

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.

4 thoughts on “How to Help Your Arthritic Dog!”

  1. I do agree with giving them joint meds and taking them on short walks. My dog is 14 now and she can’t walk to far but she so enjoy it she just love’s going for a walk with me. I can see a different in her mood and she not as stiff afterwards. I believe taking your dog for a walk is the best thing you can do for them.

  2. Great that you mention acupuncture and massage. And acupressure, for seniors especially, can be even better than “regular” massage, and it’s something you can do yourself between any vet appointments (for acupuncture). Google “power of touch for senior dogs” and find e-course especially for seniors, focusing on acupressure.

  3. My little Yorkie is 14 and her back legs are so bad that at times she cannot even stand. She’ll walk around the house on occasion if she’s feeling up to it but the days of walking her are over. My heart breaks every time her back legs give out. It seems so unfair that our pets are with us for such a short time especially when you remember how active they were.

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