Arthritis is a painful condition that affects our four-legged friends as much as it does humans. The only difference is that dogs cannot tell their owners when they are hurting because of this often debilitating condition. As with most conditions the earlier you spot there may be a problem, the quicker a treatment can be started to make your pet feel more comfortable and get them mobile again.
There are 5 signs to watch out for which could be an indication that your dog may be suffering from arthritis which are listed below:
If your beloved pooch shows any of these signs or all of them, you would be forgiven for thinking there are just growing old and therefore the things they used to do are just not as easy any more. You may also think there is not a lot you can do to help your dog. Although, age may be playing a part in the way your dog acts and may have a bearing on what they can do and how mobile they are, there is a chance they may also be suffering from arthritis.
However, if you recognise and get a correct diagnosis early enough you would have taken the first step into helping your four-legged friend get back some (if not all) of their normal mobility and made them feel a lot more comfortable in the process.
It is perfectly natural to want to help your best friend when they're in pain and the good news is there are many things you can do to help relieve the aches and pains associated with arthritis. Below are ten ways you can make your dog feel a whole lot better and which will get them moving freely around more freely.
It is really important to take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups so their condition can be carefully monitored which in turn allows the vet to adjust any treatment and pain relief your pet might already be on. They may recommend upping the dose or reducing it according to what they find.
Making sure your pet is in good condition and not overweight will help take any pressure off your dog's joints. This means carefully planning their meals and the amount of food they are given to match the sort of daily exercise they get. However, the diet has to be a high quality food and the amount you feed your pet also has to correspond to their breed and age.
Your dog must have regular and controlled exercise – this is absolutely essential so you can keep an eye on the amount of play-time they have, the extent of their walks and how they are moving. You should try to avoid taking your dog for walks on hard ground, but rather choose a spot where the ground is nice and soft which will be easier on your pet's bones. It is really important for dogs suffering from arthritis to receive the right amount of daily exercise to keep them mobile.
Your dog needs to live in optimum conditions and out of any cold and damp or draughty areas which can all make their arthritis that much worse. You may like to think about investing in a padded dog bed for your pet and when you notice they are aching, then apply some warm compresses to any joints, this is something your pet will greatly appreciate.
You might also like to ask your vet if they would be able to recommend a qualified animal massage therapist. These therapeutic sessions would certainly benefit your pet and help to increase circulation, flexibility and your pet's general well-being.
Your vet might well recommend putting your dog on some type of pain medication which could include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, more commonly known as NSAIDs. These would certainly relieve any pain and discomfort. However, these days there are disease-modifying osteoarthritis medication which are known as DMOADs and which could also prove to be very beneficial.
Certain supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin could also help improve your pet's mobility by supporting joint function. You should discuss adding this type of supplement to your dog's food with your vet before starting a course of it.
Your vet might even recommend acupuncture for your dog which is a painless technique often used on humans and which has proved very beneficial when used on dogs and other animals suffering with arthritis.
You may find that if your dog's condition is very advanced, the vet might even suggest surgery – but you would need to discuss this option in-depth with them so they can explain the pros and cons of going down this invasive route.
Apart from making sure the home environment is as comfortable for pet as possible, you may also need to set up ramps so they can get into the car, up steps and make it easier for them to jump up onto their favourite chair. You should also take up any rugs which could be a little too slippery for your pet to walk on or at least use sticky backing on them to stop them from moving around a wooden or other type of flooring – your pet would need all the traction they can get to keep them walking so anything that is even a little bit slippery could prove difficult for them to cope with.
If you think your dog may be suffering with arthritis, you need to make an appointment with the vet so a correct diagnosis can be made followed by the right type of treatment. The condition is incredibly painful for your pet to have to cope with and as such you need to get them on some pain relief drugs sooner rather than later. You also need to take a close look at their weight and adjust their diet if they need to shed a few pounds. This will help take any extra pressure off their aching joints. Lastly, you need to be very patient with your dog and make their lives as comfortable as possible by investing in a nice comfy yet supportive dog bed and make their environment easier for them to negotiate.