Senior dogs as well as many middle-aged dogs develop the most common form of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis. This condition causes the cushioning cartilage between the joints to wear down. Inflammation occurs as a result, and the dog feels pain as he or she moves through everyday life. In many cases, this causes the dog to live a life that is restricted in regards to what they can and cannot do, without feeling pain.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
Wondering if your older dog is suffering from arthritis? Here are several indicators to watch out for:
- Hopping or walking on three legs
- Intermittent difficulty walking
- Stiffness after resting or exercising vigorously
- Walking or standing abnormally
- Reluctance when getting up or moving
- Showing depression or uninterest
- Joints that are sore or warm to the touch
Helping an Arthritic Dog at Home
After a veterinary diagnosis and supplementation recommendations are given, there are several things that you can do on your own that will move your dog toward a more comfortable way of life.
Encourage weight loss in your dog. Losing weight is one of the most important things that he can do to have less pressure on his aching joints. Select foods for your dog that are high in protein, low and carbohydrates, and have moderate fat levels.
It is essential to keep your dog fully hydrated. When arthritic dogs become dehydrated, it only complicates their medical situation. If your dog resists drinking enough water, try adding a bit of bone broth to his water to stir his interest.
Provide your dog with an orthopedic mattress. Dogs who suffer from osteoarthritis shouldn’t have to lay on a thin dog bed that has very little padding in it. A memory foam bed or another style of orthopedic foam bed should stop your dog’s aching joints from having to make contact with the hard floor.
Give your senior dog traction. Sliding around on a slick floor is nothing but a health risk for a dog that has arthritis. Slippery areas such as hallways should have carpet runners to give your canine some traction.
Make exercise a part of his day. Even if your dog has arthritis, he still needs exercise, provided your veterinarian still recommends it. When it comes to movement in an arthritic dog, think slow and steady. Getting advice from your vet about the best types of exercises for your dog is always a smart move.
Provide extra assistance when necessary. When a dog has arthritis, jumping up or down can be difficult. Because of this, you might decide that you need a ramp to get your dog inside of your car when it is time to take a road trip. Another example would be that you might want to use a set of doggie stairs to help your dog get up to his favorite spot on your bed. Having these props available for your arthritic dog will help to make his life more comfortable.