Canine Arthritis: How to Help Your Arthritic Dog?
By Guest Columnist Jenny Perkins; edited by Your Pets Forever
Like humans, our dogs’ joints and bones also go through wear and tear. It can get severe as our pets age and make them more susceptible to diseases like Osteoarthritis. The illness can affect our dog’s mobility and put them through excruciating pain. Hence it is essential to control the disease and find out ways to make it easier for our arthritic pups.
Why do Dogs Suffer from Arthritis?
As our dogs grow old, the cartilage deteriorates which reduces the space between joints. When the bones start to brush against each other, it causes your dog pain and discomfort. The joint cells also die and release enzymes which cause inflammation. This can worsen if other factors accompany the disease such as diabetes, obesity, Cushing’s disease, etc.
Arthritis impacts the everyday activities of our pups. They become reluctant to movement and hesitate to go for walks. A significant issue is that dogs are stoic and therefore they hide pain until it becomes quite unbearable.
What are the Common Symptoms of Arthritis?
The indications can vary depending upon how far the disease has progressed. Common signs include stiffness of bones especially after resting for long durations. You will notice that your dog has difficulty standing up after sleeping or lying down. Your pup won’t be as active and excited for playtime or exercise. As the problem gets severe, you may find your dog limping or spot lameness in one or both hind legs. Animals that suffer arthritic pain may get easily annoyed and growl or bite. Excessive licking or muscle atrophy are among the other signs.
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, get him checked by the vet immediately. The veterinarian will conduct physical examinations and may suggest X-Rays to determine the condition accurately. If your dog gets diagnosed with arthritis, he may be prescribed medications or some treatment. Here are a few useful tips to help you take better care of your arthritic pooch:
Add Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Hyaluronic acid to your pup’s diet.
These three compounds are favorable for joint health and relieving arthritis. Glucosamine is made up of Glutamine (an amino acid) and glucose. It repairs the cartilage by boosting the production of glycosaminoglycans, the building block of cartilage and joint fluid. It also reduces inflammation and slows the aging process for your pup’s joints. Glucosamine is often used in combination with Chondroitin Sulfate. Chondroitin inhibits the production of cells that damage cartilage. Hyaluronic acid helps to keep cartilage strong and flexible to better cushion joints. You might also add an ultra-pure fish oil.
You can give your dog these substances in the form of useful supplements. Some foods are a natural source of these compounds such as bone broth, trachea, shellfish shells, lipped mussels, etc. The gristle over animal bones is a useful source of chondroitin.
Keep a Tab on Your Dog’s Weight
If your dog is obese, the excessive body weight will put significant strain on his joints and bones. Maintaining an ideal weight is essential but make sure your dog loses weight at a reasonable pace. Measure his food! Consider feeding our Adult Weight Loss food made of high quality proteins, which is also appropriate for maintenance and for senior dogs.
Exercise also needs to be a vital part of the routine but if your dog is suffering from arthritis think of gentle ways of incorporating it. Ideal activities would include swimming as it doesn’t put pressure on your pup’s joints, but the exercise utilizes the muscles. You can also take your dog on short walks.
Massage Can Help
Ask your veterinarian if massaging your pup would be a good idea. If the vet approves then you can try different techniques and choose the one that best suits your dog. It can help relieve muscular tension and may decrease joint deterioration. Make sure you don’t massage your dog after he has eaten, wait for about 2 hours. Begin by warming up your dog using light strokes along the length of the body. If any area of the body appears inflamed after the massage, wrap it up in a cold towel. Contact the vet if the swelling persists. Another thing to keep in mind is not to directly apply pressure on the painful joint, always massage the area around it.
Provide Your Furry-Friend a Comfortable Environment
It is crucial to make changes to your pup’s surrounding that would facilitate him. Install dog- friendly ramps to avoid jumping from car seats or sofas. Provide warm and comfortable bedding and add rugs or soft surfaces around the house to minimize the chances of injuries.
Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.