When you adopt a dog, it becomes a part of your family. Hence, caring for them is imperative. Dogs can stick with you through thick and thin, make you laugh on days you can’t even cope, and give you pure joy and utmost loyalty.
Like humans, it’s inevitable among dogs to experience pain and discomfort as they age. It would be heartbreaking to witness, but there’s something you can do to make the quality of their life better. For instance, dog arthritis can manifest at one year, but most dogs experience this when they’re around the age of eight onwards.
What Is Dog Arthritis?
Just like arthritis in humans, dog arthritis is a painful condition resulting from the inflammation of the joints due to damage in the cartilage, typically on an old dog’s hips and elbows. The damaged cartilage will be less smooth, making the bones in the joints rub together.
The friction on the joints can be excruciating for your dog, and since they can’t communicate, you’ll notice a few changes in them. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage this, including a new treatment using light therapy. If you would be interested, you can check out LightTherapy.org.
What Are The Signs Of Dog Arthritis?
Now that you know what dog arthritis is, you should consider the following signs to know if your furry best friend has arthritis. Below are some of the symptoms:
- Loss of muscle
- Weight gain
- Hesitation to jump or walk
- Personality changes
- Chewing, biting, and licking the affected area
If you notice these signs, it’s best to know what to do next.
How To Manage Dog Arthritis
As your dog age, improving their quality of life and addressing their pain could help them stay happy. As a pet owner, you can do many things to give them a comfortable life. And if they manifest signs of dog arthritis, you can help manage their condition by doing these things:
- Weight Management
A slight increase in your dog’s weight and limited mobility can add pressure on their joints, making it more painful. It would be best that they stay at an ideal weight. You can do this by adjusting their calorie intake and reducing the food you usually give them. Moreover, exercise can help your dog lose weight.
However, when you’re dealing with dog arthritis, a high-impact activity is not recommended. Instead, short, regular walks are encouraged. They need to be able to move their joints even in small strides to prevent them from getting super stiff.
- Joint Supplements And Specific Diet
There are nutrients naturally found in food that you can give your dog to reduce their joint inflammation and pain. You may try giving them turmeric or adding this to their meal. Turmeric has curcumin which is known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Your dog can also benefit from omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon with skin, cod with skin, sardines, and ground flaxseed. Aside from helping reduce inflammation, it also helps regulate blood flow. Papaya is also good for your dog’s joint health since it’s rich in vitamins A and C, which can help improve bone health and reduce arthritis pain.
The mentioned foods can be given alongside their regular meal, but if you can’t access them, you can also give them as supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin are also two other supplements given to dogs with arthritis. But before giving these to your dog, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian first.
- Environmental Modification
Slipping and sliding on surfaces can lead to more injuries. If your home has a slippery floor, providing slip-resistant mats could help prevent your dog from injuring themselves further. If your home has stairs, it’s best to assist your dog or carry them since stairs can be tricky for a dog with arthritis.
If you go on a drive, watch out for your dog and prevent them from jumping out of the car. If they do this regularly, they may forget that they have joint pain and exacerbate their condition. That said, you can carry them or assist them in getting off the car. Moreover, give them warm, comfortable bedding, and don’t let them sleep on cold hard floors since the floor’s temperature can increase their pain.
You can bring your dog to a physiotherapist, who can help increase your dog’s mobility and decrease their pain by giving them massages and manipulation treatment. A physiotherapist may also implement electrotherapy if needed.
The therapeutic use of water to increase mobility and improve dogs’ overall health is becoming popular today. Dogs with extreme joint pains can move better in water because it helps with buoyancy and resistance. Moving in the water lessens the stress on their joints, and bathing in hot water dilates their blood vessels and relaxes their joints and muscles, giving them relief from pain.
- Light Therapy
Humans have used light therapy for quite some time, and recently it’s become more prevalent in treating many canine conditions, including dog arthritis. A study shows a significant reduction in pain for dogs with elbow osteoarthritis. The light is said to stimulate healing, provide analgesia and reduce inflammation.
- Pain Medication
If the first suggestions above don’t work, you may want to give your dog pain medication to alleviate its pain and discomfort. You may provide a medication suitable for any recognizable pain in your dog. Human pain medicines are not recommended for dogs since they can cause stomach bleeding and kidney and liver failure.
In this situation, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian so they can prescribe the correct medicine that will treat and not harm them.
Dog arthritis can cause your dog pain. And for a dog that has given all its life to you and your family, helping them cope is vital. Luckily, you can help improve their quality of life by treating their condition using therapy, weight management, and supplements. They may not be able to say it, but looking into their eyes will tell you they appreciate everything you do for them.