Does Your Dog Have Arthritis?
I don’t think there’s a more pitiful sight as witnessing a dog that has arthritis.
Arthritis is usually a result of ongoing wear and tear of the cartilage that acts as a cushion between the joints. As the cartilage deteriorates, the movement of the joints becomes less smooth, leading to discomfort and reduced mobility.
Would you know if your pooch has arthritis? Ask yourself these questions…
- Is your dog walking strangely?
- Are they less active than normal?
- Do they frequently lick their leg joints?
How to tell if your dog has arthritis
There are many signs that may indicate your dog is suffering from arthritis, even though most dogs are very stoic creatures and tend to mask signs of pain. Signs may include one or more of the following:
- Reluctance to walk, or jump or play
- Walking awkwardly
- Getting up or down looks awkward and seems like a challenge
- Unusually aggressive
- Licking their leg joints frequently
- Yelping when touched
As in humans, arthritic joints cannot be cured. However, the pain can be effectively controlled and managed.
10 ways to help your dog if they have arthritis:
- Take your dog in for regular checkups so that your veterinarian can diagnose and monitor your pet’s arthritis and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
- Weight management. Getting or keeping your dog slim can help by decreasing the load on his joints. Listen to what your vet says about a new dietary regime.
- Controlled exercise is a must, but make sure you carefully monitor your dog while she plays, walks, or runs. If possible, find a soft surface for activity. Your vet can offer more suggestions for getting your dog moving regularly.
- As much as possible, keep your dog warm and dry, since cold and damp conditions can aggravate arthritis. Consider investing in a padded dog bed and apply warm compresses to painful joints.
- Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation to a professional animal massage therapist, as massage can increase your dog’s flexibility, circulation, and sense of well-being.
- Pain medication, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly called NSAIDs), may help relieve pain, and disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) can also play an important role. Talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can be used to help improve joint mobility and support better joint functioning for dogs with arthritis.
- Acupuncture isn’t just for people. This painless technique has shown some success in animals suffering from arthritis.
- If your dog’s arthritis is advanced, surgery may be an option. Ask your veterinarian about the pros and cons of surgery and what you can expect.
- Be sure to take steps to adjust his environment at home. Some things that can help an arthritic dog include: providing soft supportive bedding for his achy joints, using ramps to help a dog get in and out of a car or up to a bed, and putting down carpeting and secure rugs to help him get traction as he walks.
A good source of further information can be found at https://wagwalking.com/condition/arthritis
Please check out Amazon’s wheelchairs specifically designed for dogs with rear leg arthritis.
Remember: A low-stress environment, plenty of affection, and supportive care can help your dog feel so much better.