Osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects many of our dogs, particularly as they age. It is caused by degeneration in the cartilage found in the joints which results in inflammation. This painful condition is progressive and early detection is important.
Signs that your dog may be suffering from arthritis include:
- A decrease in activity levels
- Difficulty getting up, climbing, stairs, or jumping up on furniture
- Reluctance to engage in activities your dog once enjoyed such as play or going on walks
- General lethargy
- Loss of muscle mass
- Difficulty getting into certain positions such as going potty or bending down to eat
- Pain when touched, particularly near the joints
In addition, there are various risk factors, some of which offer keys for prevention or slowing the progression for this disease. They include:
- Large dog breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, Rottweilers, etc.
- Old injuries such as torn ligaments
- Poor condition from lack of exercise or poor diet
- Genetics from poor breeding
- Tick borne illnesses such as Lyme disease
Once your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, there are some natural ways to improve your pet’s quality of life, mobility, and help with the pain and inflammation. Let’s take a look at three of the big ones:
CBD Oil Made for Dogs
You may have heard about this natural product that has become very popular among dog enthusiasts. However, you may be skeptical about whether or not this hemp based natural extract has any science to back it up. After all, trends come and go.
It turns out that CBD oil has been the subject of hundreds of research studies on lab animals, people, and even a few on dogs. It has been shown to have numerous properties because it works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This biological system is made up of receptors and special enzymes throughout the body. It is responsible for maintaining balance across many systems, and research shows it plays a role in the progression of arthritis.
In fact, one study done on dogs with osteoarthritis (OA) showed significant increases of mobility and comfort in dogs treated with organic CBD oil, such sites as Handicapped Pets have more information. Another study done on rats showed that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil were so strong that they may significantly slow the progression of OA.
Many dog owners are becoming increasingly aware of the potential dangers of NSAIDs for our dogs, particularly when they are administered to older dogs for chronic conditions. CBD oil is a natural alternative that may help some dogs feel better without the use of these pharmaceutical drugs. Consider discussing CBD with your veterinarian to help decide which treatment plan is right for your pet.
Physical Therapy, Acupuncture, Massage
Many people know that people benefit from physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage. However, not everyone knows that there are also veterinarians who specialize in these techniques to help alleviate pain and restore mobility for our canine companions who are suffering from OA.
If you are unsure what the options are in your area, consider searching for a holistic veterinarian near you. They are usually either certified in one or more of these natural alternatives for arthritis treatment or know someone in your area who is.
Low Impact Exercise
One of the cheapest and most helpful ways you can help your aging dog deal with the progression of arthritis is to identify some low impact ways to help them keep moving. Not only do our aging dogs need exercise to maintain muscle tone, they also benefit from losing some weight as obesity usually exacerbates the progression of OA.
It might be time to rethink your current plan for exercising your dog if they are showing signs of arthritis. For example, finding a way to get some swimming into the routine is one way to get your pooch moving without putting undue strain on the joints.
Some dogs also benefit from increasing the walk frequency, while decreasing the walk duration. In addition, look for routes to walk on that have fewer hills, offer grass rather than concrete to walk on, and have shady spots to take a much needed break midway.