How you can help your arthritic dog.
Many of my newest clients are senior dogs that have some mobility issues due to arthritis and aging. So let's take another look at canine arthritis and how you can make your senior dog more comfortable as they age.
As dogs age, they can develop age-related conditions like arthritis which can cause discomfort and pain. As pet parents, we need to learn how to recognize the signs of arthritis in our dogs and develop a plan of action to help our dogs manage their condition.
What is Arthritis? Arthritis is a degenerative disease that focuses on the movable joints in the body like knees and shoulders. It effects 4 out of 5 senior dogs. It’s important for pet parents to know what to look for in our dogs to be able to recognize arthritis. Here are some signs to look for in your dog:
Being less active and less interested in exercise
Difficulty standing and sitting
Changes in the way your dog walks or runs
You may expect your dog to exhibit signs of pain, but dogs do not show pain in the same way humans do, so it is important to be observant of your dog’s behavior. For a more comprehensive look at the signs of arthritis in dogs, please check out Signs of Arthritis at Canine Arthritis Management.
Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many ways that pet parents can be active in helping their dog’s arthritic condition.
1) Be sure your dog has a thorough examination by their veterinarian. Your vet can evaluate your dog’s condition and help establish a treatment plan that may include dietary modifications and anti-inflammatory medications. Complimentary therapies may also be included in the plan like massage and acupuncture.
2) Weight management is important in treating arthritis. Extra weight can put more pressure on joints, so keeping your dog at their ideal weight for their breed is important.
3) Slippery floors in your home are a great hazard to your dog especially if they have arthritis. Cover all your slippery or slick floor surfaces with non-skid rugs to make your home safe for your dog. Stairs can also be a hazard, so it is best if your dog’s bed and their activities take place on a lower level floor that does not require stairs.
4) Reducing your dog’s daily exercise can be helpful in reducing pain and stress on your dog’s joints. Take them on shorter works and reduce the length of their playtime Your dog’s exercise routine should be based on how they feel not on the duration of time.
5) Your daily walks can shortened and choosing flat and even terrain will be helpful in reducing stress on your dog's joints.
6) Keeping your dog warm and dry can is also a good idea. Being cold can increase pain and stiffness, so keep their beds away from cold drafts and dry off their paws if they get wet. If your dog likes to lay on the floor, try to encourage them to sleep in their cushioned beds. You can also place blankets or rugs on the floor to make the surface warmer.
7) Orthopedic dog beds are a good option for your dog. They are generally made with egg-crate foam that will help reduce the pressure on your dog’s joints and bones while they are laying down and sleeping.
8) Massage therapy is a great way to help your arthritic dog. It can increase circulation warm the tissue, loosen tight muscles, and reduce pain.
Successful treatment of your dog’s arthritis includes early detection, proper diagnosis, having a treatment plan, being observant of changes in your dog’s behavior, modifying your home, a good massage, and showing your dog lots of patience, love, and kindness.
For more information on canine arthritis please visit these web sites:
CARE – Canine Arthritis Resources and Education
Canine Arthritis Management
How to Manage the Symptoms of Canine Arthritis