Arthritis is one of the most difficult health conditions in aging dogs because it causes joint pain and stiffness. Watching your beloved pup put up with this disease is hard, but there are many things that you can do to make its life comfortable and happy.
What Is Dog Arthritis and How Is It Diagnosed?
Dog arthritis is a condition caused by deterioration of the cartilage in their joints, which further results in inflammation, stiffness, and pain. Arthritis in dogs can also be caused by an infection, injury, or immune system disorder.
Dog arthritis is usually diagnosed by a veterinarian’s physical exam and analysis of a complete medical history of the dog. A vet may also perform X-rays to see affected joints and assess the extent of the damage. Besides that, blood tests are done to check any underlying conditions that could be causing the joint pain.
Early diagnosis and treatment are very important to help your dog reduce pain and increase its quality of life. Some breeds are more likely to get arthritis than others, and for those, it is recommended to start taking arthritis supplements for dogs even when they are about one year old. Therefore, regular visits to the vet are essential for any responsible dog owner, as they can give you the right diagnosis and advice.
What Can You Do at Home to Help?
Making a few small changes at home could do wonders in soothing your dog’s arthritis pain:
- Make sure you have non-slip rugs. Arthritis would make your dog afraid and anxious on slippery surfaces like tiles and wood because their limited mobility will make dogs feel pain and afraid of falling. Using carpets and non-slip rugs will make your pup more comfortable to move around the house without slipping.
- Get an orthopedic dog bed. Dog beds that are low to the ground and comfortable, with orthopedic support will help your dog get in and out without a struggle and much pain. Also, make sure all the dog’s favorite spots are soft with non-slippery surfaces, to prevent injuries and make it easy for them to stand up.
- Use car ramps and dog-lift harnesses. Dogs are used to jumping up the stairs or into the car, but with arthritis, each of those jumps is adding extra pressure on their joints and causing pain. Using car ramps or lift harnesses can help a lot. However, do expect that you will need to be patient and train your dog to use the ramp. Harnesses, on the other hand, are especially useful if your dog has any part of the body severely affected by arthritis, to support its proper movements.
- Keep your dog warm. When the cold days come, consider getting a sweater or a jacket for your dog and keep it warm when you go out for walks. Cold can badly affect dogs’ joints and muscles around them, causing stiffness and pain.
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Find the Right Medication and Joint Supplements
Probably the best way to treat your dog’s arthritis is to use a combination of prescribed medication and joint supplements for dogs.
Your vet will most likely prescribe your dog nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids which should put the pain and inflammation under control.
When it comes to supplements, make sure to get the right ones. Petz Park shop offers some of the best quality dog supplements on the market. However, talk to your vet and get expert advice on how to create the best diet for your dog if it suffers from arthritis.
What Kind of Therapy Is Available?
Exercise, physical therapy, and massage can be very effective for dogs with arthritis. Short walks, three-four times a day without any extreme activities (running, jumping, chasing a ball) is a good way to keep your dog in shape without causing it pain or stress because of its condition.
There are certified dog therapy practitioners that your vet can recommend if you need help with leading your dog through a special set of physical therapy such as passive stretching, different motion exercise, walking with obstacles, etc.
Alternatively, acupuncture can be one of the options for dogs with arthritis, and there is medical evidence that it helps release dogs from pain, in combination with other prescribed therapy.
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Good Nutrition and Weight Management
Feeding your dog a nutritious and balanced diet is a foundation for their overall health and well-being. Weight management is essential when there is joint pain. Obesity in dogs leads to increased pressure on the joints which causes discomfort and pain.
Find out what should be the ideal weight for your pet, and devise a long-term weight management plan for your dog. Finally, with lots of love, proper care, and attention, dogs with arthritis can enjoy a rich and quality life.
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