Arthritis is one of the most common conditions dogs suffer from. In fact, at least one in five dogs suffer from canine arthritis at some point in their life. This condition is most common in senior dogs, affecting their legs, hips, back and more - making day to day movement painful and uncomfortable.
Thankfully, canine arthritis can be diagnosed early and managed accordingly so your pup can live out the rest of their days relatively pain-free!
Let’s take a look at arthritis in dogs and how you can help your dog manage it!
Arthritis in dogs involves the inflammation and degeneration of at least one of their joints. It can be caused by a variety of factors including your dog’s weight, age, injury history, breed or even their diet.
With that said, simply getting old does not cause dog arthritis! It may, however, make your dog more susceptible to it, as a senior dog’s joints may not be as strong.
If you suspect your pup may be experiencing joint pain and discomfort, these are some common dog arthritis symptoms you should look out for:
- Difficulty getting up and laying down
- Walking stiffly
- Dog can’t walk well
- Lameness in one or more legs
- Reluctance to go up and down stairs
- Reluctance to jump up or down, such as on to/off furniture or into/out of a vehicle
- Stiff, sore or swollen joints
- Disliking contact with some parts of their body
- Reduced stamina
- Unexpected aggression
It’s important to note that some of these symptoms may also occur simply due to your dog’s age, rather than due to arthritis. Senior dogs will generally suffer from mobility issues. To better understand your dog’s condition, it’s advisable to visit a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan if you suspect your dog may have arthritis.
If your dog is indeed diagnosed with arthritis, the key point of your pup’s “treatment” is to alleviate their discomfort and pain. While your vet may prescribe some anti-inflammatory or pain relieving medication for your dog, your pup may require further help to make their life more comfortable.
#1 Watch Their Diet
Your dog’s diet can play a huge role in managing their arthritis.
First and foremost, managing your dog’s weight is key to helping to keep excess weight off their joints and reducing their pain. Overweight dogs can have a lot of excess weight weighing down on their body and joints.
While exercise may also help your pup manage their weight, senior dogs will struggle with keeping up with an exercise plan, especially if their dog arthritis is severe.
Regardless, choosing the right dog diet can help your dog even if they can’t manage their weight through exercise. Look into diets that contain natural anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants or Omega fatty acids such as Stella & Chewy’s Hip & Joint Boost Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food.
This particular diet also contains glucosamine, which is essential for building up healthy cartilage and has a scientifically proven track record of reducing arthritis pain.
#2 Keep Up with Supplements
Dogs tend to lose their appetite as they grow older. This may sometimes mean you need to pad your pup’s diet with additional nutrients via dog joint supplements.
Thankfully, there are plenty of dog joint supplements on the market for dogs facing arthritis. For instance, Four Leaf Rover’s Joint & Mobility Dog Supplements and BIXBI Organic Joints Daily Supplement great for relieving arthritis pain and can be spooned directly into your dog’s food.
#3 Don’t Forget Treats!
Outside meal time, your pup is sure to enjoy a tasty treat once in a while. Make use of that by giving them specially formulated hip and joint supporting treats like Bronco Peanut Butter Joint & Movement Dog Treat!
For a 2-in-1 treat, give Happi Doggy’s Hip & Joint Dental Dog Chews a try! These tasty dental chews will help reduce joint inflammation and prevent joint damage while cleaning your pup’s teeth.
#4 Physical Therapy
While dogs with arthritis will find general exercise painful and uncomfortable, you should still try and get some physical therapy into your dog’s everyday routine.
Specific exercises can be recommended by veterinarians and many pet owners benefit from researching at-home physical therapy exercises to perform with their pups. Hydrotherapy can also help as it allows your dog to get some exercise and physical activity without as much impact to their joints.
Holistic therapy like acupuncture or electromagnetic field therapy may also help your dog alleviate some pain and discomfort.
It’s sometimes inevitable for your dog’s mobility to suffer as they get older, but there are plenty of things we pet owners can do to maintain or improve our dog’s quality of life even if they have arthritis. Putting in the time and effort to adjust to our pup’s condition will help them live as pain-free as possible in their golden years!
Tammi is an avid writer, but especially loves learning and writing about animals! She spends her free time visiting cat cafes, playing video games and having plenty of cuddle time with her pup.