Do you have a dog who may be exhibiting symptoms of arthritis?
Some symptoms include
- walking stiffly,
- having trouble getting up,
- favoring one limb or limping, or
- being unable to jump on the bed or into the car, or climb stairs.
Having arthritis isn’t restricted to older dogs, we’ve worked with dogs who begin experiencing symptoms as young as two years old. Often when arthritis develops in younger dogs, it’s the result of scar tissue due to an injury or surgery.
What can you do if you suspect that your dog has arthritis?
First have your veterinarian thoroughly check your dog to confirm arthritis and rule out anything else.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, there are a number of things you can do to help ease his discomfort and give him a comfortable life. Here are some suggestions.
- If he’s overweight (and many arthritic dogs are), your first priority should be to get the weight off. Arthritic dogs need to be as thin as possible.
- Keep up the walks but give him more frequent, shorter walks.
- Consider hydrotherapy for exercise. It’s an ideal form of exercise because it’s non-weight bearing.
- Give high quality omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements to slow the progression of the disease. Remember that these supplements aren’t created equal so do your research to find the highest quality supplement available. We like K9 Level 5000 by Liquid Health, in fact, it’s what we give to our dogs.
- Talk to your vet about giving Adequan injections. It’s a prescription medication that is thought to act as a joint lubricant. We’ve had several clients do this with good results.
- Give laser therapy a try. It works with some dogs to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Give your dog regular massages. It helps with circulation, bringing much needed blood to arthritic joints, helps to break up scar tissue, relieves stiffness and improves range of motion.
- Keep his nails short. Long nails affect gait and may cause additional discomfort.
- Teach your dog to use a ramp.
- Consider pain medication only when necessary.
Following these suggestions can help you managing his arthritis. While arthritis is not curable, at least you can help reduce your dog’s discomfort, and help him have the quality of life he deserves.