Wednesday, July 24, 2024

How Can I Help My Dogs Arthritis

Install Small Step In Front Of High Step

Easy DIY Dog Arthritis Massage at Home – Marc Smith DVM

Even before your dogs arthritis gets really bad, you could help him out by installing a small step in front of a high step. These high steps are really common in capes and ranches or even off decks. Even though its just one step, its a killer on arthritis. These small steps keep your arthritic dog independent longer and the relieve joints from the stress caused by having to navigate a high step up.

Most stutter steps can serve a dual purpose, for instance, you can use it on your high step and then move it to your van or SUV as needed. Just make sure that it is not too narrow. TIP: To save money, and enjoy a better quality, get the kind that are made for elderly or disabled people like this: Anti-slip half step .

Give Your Dog A Daily Massage

Massage therapy is great for arthritis and some pet boutiques charge big money for a dog massage. You can do this for free! Use long gentle strokes and always push blood toward your dogs heart. Massage gets blood flowing to the arthritic area and can reduce pain and stiffness for several hours.

You can actually do this massage in combination with the next suggestion which is heat therapy.

Install Gates Lots Of Them

When it comes to keeping your arthritic dog safe from further injury the old saying prevention is the best medicine rings true.

Stair Gates: You remember early I talked about disabling my doorbell after my dog injured himself flying down the stairs, well if I had installed a gate, the injury would never have happened.

Gates will also stop your older arthritic dog from falling down the stairs at night or when youre not home. This one little preventative measure could save your arthritic dog from taking a fall that impacts mobility permanently.

I highly recommend gating off staircases on the bottom and the top if your arthritic dog is prone to running down stairs or is becoming visually impaired or suffering night vision loss.

The cheaper wood expandable gates will work, but you have to remove them every time you want to go up or down the stairs. I have this, but youll have to measure to see if theyd work for you: Stairway Gate with Access .

Room Gates: can also be used to isolate your dog to one room during the day, which is my preferred method, thus limiting your arthritic dogs exposure to accidents throughout the home.

Porch Gate:Now this only applies if your porch leads to your front door where people come a knockin.

As for a porch gate, I made my own barrier out of an old futon frame and I can personally attest that it keeps most solicitors from entering my porch and getting my arthritic dog all riled up.

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How To Help A Dog With Arthritis At Home

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If youre like me, youre always looking for a new way or the best way to help treat your dogs arthritis so they are pain-free and as mobile as possible. All of these suggestions come from my TRUE experience helping dogs with arthritis at home.

These are 20 things that help a dog with arthritis at home. The first 10 are either completely free or just require a few supplies at the grocery store. The 2nd group of 10 are products that greatly assist you or your dog when dealing with arthritis around the home.

Well start with the 10 free ways to help:

Ways To Ease Your Senior Dogs Arthritis Pain

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Exercise – You might not think that walking your dog is a great way to ease arthritic pain. Especially not when your dog seems to hobble. Were not suggesting marathon hikes of course, but moderate and gentle exercise can reduce pain and stiffness. Moving the joints actually produces synovial fluid which lubricates your pets joints.

The ASPCA recommends daily walks for arthritic dogs. Not only does your pet benefit from more mobile joints but it also helps keep your dog at a healthy weight. Excess weight puts more pressure on the joints which makes it even more painful for your pet to get around. How often should you walk? Two to three 15-20 minute walks a day will be beneficial. You dont want to overdo it.

Another low-impact activity is swimming. If your dog likes to swim and you have a place for him to do so, swimming will help increase mobility too.

Supplements and Medications You may be able to ease your dogs pain and slow down the progression of arthritis with supplements and medications. If your pet is in a lot of pain, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory for your dog. There are many prescription-strength NSAIDs that may be suitable or you may find a combination of Omega 3 fish oil and glucosamine works well for your dog. Your veterinarian can make recommendations and conduct x-rays so you know how far your dogs arthritis has progressed.

Also Check: How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Arthritis

Managing Arthritis In Dogs

The first step in managing arthritis is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough clinical examination. In order to accurately diagnose your dogs condition, a general anaesthetic and radiographs will usually be required to determine exactly what is happening in your dogs joints. A multi targeted plan can then be put together for his/ her individual situation.

To help your dog be happy and enjoy life again, there are 4 important areas that we will focus on:

1. Weight management

This is the most important aspect of managing any animal with arthritis. Overweight animals will place proportionally more weight on their joints and therefore cause more localised inflammation and irritation to the joints- which in turn can hasten the progression of arthritis. Please ask us about our free weight loss clinic

2. Exercise management

Exercise is a very important part of managing arthritis. Regular controlled exercise is extremely beneficial for keeping the joints mobile and the muscles working well. Uncontrolled exercise can place undue pressure on ligaments and result in permanent damage to the joints unfortunately the tennis ball may have to be retired.

3. Home comforts/ environment changes

4. Veterinary treatments

The different treatments that can be offered include:

  • Pain relief through heat / cold, acupuncture, massage, TENS.
  • Stimulation of proprioception through specific balancing exercises.

Cbd Oil To Treat Arthritis In Dogs

A treatment option that has gained popularity in recent years is using CBD oil to treat arthritis in dogs. In short, CBD is a compound found in cannabis and hemp that some dog owners, as well as humans, find effective in treating a variety of conditions. Some anecdotal reports suggest that CBD oil can help dogs with arthritis pain. However, Dr. Klein reminds us that currently there is no scientific data on the use or benefits of CBD.

Additionally, limited regulation of CBD oil makes it difficult for veterinarians to sign off on its use since there is no way of predicting purity, concentration, efficacy, potential benefits, or side effects. While the unknowns surrounding CBD will change with more research , at this time, there is no scientific evidence to support the use of CBD oil for canine arthritis or any other ailments. If youre considering CBD oil as a treatment, make sure to speak to your veterinarian first.

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Treating Arthritis In An Older Dog

You can find many more of our articles related to arthritis, chronic pain and mobility issues in older dogs here.

The first perceptible sign of aging that most owners notice with their dog is arthritis. This can begin as early as 5 or 6 years of age in giant breeds, and occurs later in life in small and toy breeds. You might notice slowness in getting up, stiffness, and even limping for the first few steps in the morning or after a long nap. Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, but retain their natural instinct from their wilder days to hide weakness therefore they will initially hide their pain. However, dogs communicate pain through body language, so it is important to learn this language, especially with senior dogs. Other signs of pain possibly related to arthritis are licking or chewing a joint, slowness to climb stairs or jump on furniture, changes in gait, changes in appetite and/or sleep, and excessive panting unrelated to hot weather. Dogs in severe pain can also exhibit irritability or even aggression. Any sudden change in your dogs personality can mean she is in pain. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it important to have your dog checked by a veterinarian, especially if these symptoms appear suddenly, or if the dog is younger than average, to rule out injury or skeletal issues.

Some veterinarians also offer stem cell therapy as an option.

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Can Arthritis Be Prevented

Dog with arthritis massage technique

Age-related arthritis cant be prevented, but you can certainly do a number of things to help reduce the risk and delay the onset and severity of symptoms. As detailed above, this includes controlling weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The risk of hip dysplasia, which can cause arthritis and is particularly prevalent in certain breeds, can be reduced by good breeding practices including the hip scoring of potential parents.

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When To See A Vet

Its always best to consult with your veterinarian before you begin your dogs at-home arthritis program however, most of the techniques for treating arthritis at home are ok to administer without speaking to your vet. That being said, your veterinarian may have additional recommendations for how to manage your dogs arthritis that will fit into your at-home routine.

For example, holistic and integrative veterinarians may recommend acupuncture or cold laser therapy for arthritis. Cold laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses focused light and small amounts of heat to stimulate cellular growth and regenerative activity, which can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Learn more about cold laser therapy from Sunvet Animal Wellness.

Always see your vet if you have concerns about the symptoms your dog is experiencing or if your dogs condition deteriorates. Our at-home arthritis management recommendations have focused on the most common kind of canine arthritis. There are, however, less-common types of arthritis caused by infections like canine rheumatoid arthritis or septic arthritis. Only your veterinarian can diagnose your dogs specific condition.

If an Ortho Dog brace can help bring back pain-free playtime to your pup, were happy to help. Learn more about our Hip Hound Brace or contact us to get started.

Help Your Dog Get A Grip And Feel Supported

When getting up and walking is already difficult and/or painful for your dog, asking them to do either on a slick floor surface just compounds the difficulty and pain. Worry not though, you needn’t replace all of your home flooring. Fortunately, there are some inexpensive, simple, and highly effective products you can try and steps you can take to quickly make your home floor surfaces less slippery. As well as some great ways to help them get around better when out and about.

  • Lay out area rugs or carpet runners, at least in the areas where your dog walks most. And don’t forget anti-skid mats. You could also do carpet tiles instead of full rugs or runners.An advantage of carpet tiles is that they can easily be removed to be cleaned or replaced when they get soiled or worn out. If you’re not going to do the carpet tiles from wall to wall, you may need some “corner stickies” to help hold them in place.
  • Add non-slip stair treads to your hardwood staircases the inset photo shows a popular option our team has used with great success. They’re a bit spendy, but they work! They’re easy to install, with no tape or adhesive needed. They’re easy to vacuum and when you do lift them up, they don’t leave a residue or marks behind.

Here’s Preventive Vet dog, Daisy, when she was 15 years old, using her ramp to go to bed at night.

For more options for supplements and treatments for arthritis, check out our article.


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Symptoms Of Arthritis In Dogs

Although your pet may seem fine in themselves, eating normally and interesting in going out for walks there are several symptoms of arthritis in dogs to be aware of. Its important to take note of any changes, even if they dont seem to be linked to having sore legs.

  • Limping before and after walks. Your dog may limp if only one leg is affected, but if more than one joint is affected, your dog may not have an obvious limp.
  • Tiredness and showing an unwillingness to get up or walk around. Your dog may seem a bit stiff in the morning, or they cant get comfortable when lying down.
  • Licking or chewing painful areas
  • Signs of pain when standing, walking, or sitting up or down
  • Behavioural changes. Your dogs behaviour may change and seem a bit grumpy if being cuddled or touched too much.
  • Slowing down. Your dog may seem to have got old suddenly and tired quickly.

If you notice your dog is suffering from any of the above symptoms, visit your nearest vet right away who will be able to provide an expert and informed diagnosis:

What Is Arthritis In Dogs

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Arthritis in dogs is a long-lasting, inflammatory disease which affects the animals joint health. It is caused when the cartilage between joints becomes less smooth and damaged, causing the surface of the bone to rub together and your dogs joints to stiffen, swell and become painful.

These symptoms can restrict a dogs mobility, as it becomes uncomfortable for them to get up and walk around. Although more prevalent in senior dogs, young pets can also suffer from arthritis if they become injured, such as tearing their cruciate ligament, or if they have weak muscles and muscle loss.

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Switch To Fresh Snacks

Antioxidants are a great way to fight inflammation and help chronic canine health conditions.

High in essential vitamins and minerals, try and upgrade your pups snacks or mealtime by introducing blueberries to their diet.

Packed up with vitamin C, blueberries will help strengthen their bones and the connective tissue in joints.

Since weight has a significant impact on how much pain your pup will be in, pay close attention to the snacks, and treats youre giving them throughout the day.

Carrot sticks are a healthy and delicious snack to treat an arthritic dog. Fresh and crunchy carrots are full of essential nutrients such as vitamin A, potassium, and fiber.

Far better for a dog hoping to slim down, a baby carrot stick is a fantastic replacement for any dog biscuit.

Plus, this root vegetable is super low in calories and contains pantothenic acid, folate, iron, and copper.

Medication Options For Treating Arthritis In Dogs

Many vets will prescribe medication to keep dogs with arthritis as comfortable as possible.

Most arthritis medications work by decreasing inflammation and/or pain, explains Jennifer Coates, DVM, a small animal veterinarian in Colorado who serves on the advisory board for Pet Life Today. Some arthritis supplements have a similar, albeit often less powerful action, but may also improve joints by promoting cartilage health and the production of protective joint fluid.

NSAIDs for dogs

These anti-inflammatory medications are similar to the ibuprofen or aspirin you would find at the local drug store. But, they are formulated specifically for your pooch. Just dont share from your medicine cabinet. Over-the-counter Advil or Aleve are toxic to dogs and should never be given. Doggy NSAID options include:

When a vet prescribes one of these medications, you can pick them up at the pharmacy where you get your own prescriptions filled, and use your SingleCare card to save.

Your veterinarian will explain the dosage of each medication that is appropriate for your dog. It depends on the medication and the size of your dog.

If you have arthritis, too, dont just share your prescription with your pet. Dr. Coates cautions human arthritis medications can be very dangerous for dogs and can lead to serious side effects when given at the wrong dose, in conjunction with other medications, or to a dog with other health problems.

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Easing Your Dogs Chronic Pain

Although arthritis is common among dogs and can cause them pain, the variety of effective treatments gives us hope that they will be able to jump back up on the couch again, whether you want them there or not. As we mentioned above, CBD oil for dogs is an all-natural remedy that may reduce your dogs arthritic pain. Its becoming a popular treatment for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, joint inflammation, anxiety, digestive issues, and more. Let your vet know if you plan to use CBD to complement your dogs other arthritis treatments.

Giving Your Dog The Medication

How to Help Your Dog With Arthritis
  • 1Give your dog aspirin with food. Giving your dog aspirin with food or immediately after a meal can help decrease the chances of stomach irritation. You can even crush up your dogs aspirin and mix it in with wet food or soft treats.XResearch source
  • Giving your dog aspirin with food helps reduce the chances that the aspirin will come into contact with the stomach lining. This, in turn, helps decrease the risk of an upset stomach, ulcers, and other potential complications.
  • Mixing crushed aspirin with dried food may not be as effective, since the crushed pieces may fall to the bottom of the bowl as debris.
  • 2Mix an aspirin-based headache powder with wet food. Instead of using a tablet, some dog owners find it easier to use an aspirin-based headache powder. This can be mixed directly with wet food so that your dog doesnt even notice the medicine.XResearch source
  • Check with your vet in advance to make sure your intended powder is safe for your dog. Some may contain additives or additional ingredients that your dog shouldnt consume.
  • 3Administer a dose of aspirin every 12 hours. Dogs dont metabolize aspirin like humans do, so they cant take it quite as frequently. For an arthritic dog, you should aim to give them their recommended dose of aspirin every 12 hours.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
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