Use Ramps Where Needed
If you have a big dog that cannot be easily lifted, consider getting ramps for areas your dog used to jump up to. This includes cars, couches, porches, decks, and similar heights. Dog ramps can be purchased through most pet retailers, so shop around for the ones that suit your dog best. A good dog ramp has a surface that provides traction, such as rubber or a sandpaper-type grit. If possible, a ramp for your staircase would be wonderful. However, this is not practical for many homes, so stair treads may be best.
How Do Dogs Get Arthritis
Many of us have been told that arthritis is a normal part of canine aging.
While plenty of our senior canine friends will suffer from this joint disease at some point, it is not actually a result of the standard aging process.
Arthritis in dogs develops due to certain lifestyle and environmental factors, or a combination of the many factors listed below.
Helpful Supplements To Help A Dog With Arthritis
There are a number of supplements that you can give your dog in addition to the prescription pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs that your veterinarian prescribes.
The most widely recommended supplements for dogs with arthritis are glycosaminoglycans . Also known as mucopolysaccharides, these nutraceutical supplements include glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine HCl, and chondroitin sulfate. Sometimes the unprocessed sources of GAG supplements, such as beef cartilage and green-lipped mussels, are used.
GAGs are important because they actually protect the joint rather than just reduce symptoms by helping rebuild cartilage and restore synovial fluid, explains canine health researcher Mary Straus at dogaware.com. GAGs may also have some preventive effect on arthritis, though this is speculative.
GAG supplements may be most effective given between meals, though they can be fed with food if needed. Always start with high doses, says Straus, so you will be able to tell whether your dog responds. If you see improvement, reduce the dosage to see if the improvement can be maintained at a lower dose. If you dont see any improvement within three to four weeks, try another supplement.
S-adenosylmethione is a pain-relieving compound found naturally in the body that helps regulate hormones and maintain cell membranes. Products containing 200 mg SAM-e are appropriate for most dogs weighing more than 15 pounds.
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Physical Therapy Options To Treat Arthritis In Dogs
Physical therapy is an umbrella term that includes an array of treatment options, from a simple massage to novel laser therapy. Here is a short review of some physical therapy options for arthritis in dogs treatment.
Massage. Body massage uses the power of touch to induce healing in the body. Massage helps with arthritis by increasing blood flow to the affected joints. Increased blood flow results in an influx of healing compounds and nutrients which can promote joint health.
You can massage your dog yourself but advice from a professional is highly recommended. There are different techniques, and it is helpful to know which one is best as part of your pets arthritis in dogs treatment.
Hydrotherapy. This is a form of physical rehabilitation that is performed underwater. The water provides higher resistance than air which helps build strength and resilience in the limbs.
In some cases, equipment like an underwater treadmill is used to improve a dogs mobility and range of motion. Hydrotherapy can be combined with pharmaceuticals as well as with alternative treatments.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of therapy where fine needles are pricked into the skin at specific points to promote healing in the body. The therapy has been practiced on humans for thousands of years but also shows great promise for dog health.
Manage Your Dogs Arthritis Naturally
These 3 simple steps will get to the root cause of your dogs arthritis and I think you and your dog will love the results.
Remember my old Chili? I treated her for leaky gut when she was 10. Afterwards, her joints and movement were so much better and as a bonus, her allergies were too!
So why waste your money on NSAIDs that can make dog arthritis worse?
Instead follow these simple 3 steps. Youll not only set your dog up to succeed youll also reduce his joint pain. And dont forget these steps also reduce his risk of cancer, allergies and other diseases.
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Are There Supplements That Help To Prevent Arthritis In Dogs
The prescription diets such as Hills, JD, Royal Canin Mobility are all specifically formulated and fortified with omega fatty acids, fish oils, glucosamine and supplements that protect the joints. While there are numerous homeopathic and home remedies out there, there is no
conclusive evidence that ingredients such as turmeric are in fact effective.
Invest In Physical Therapy For Dogs
Pet owners can also work with veterinarians to identify physical therapy routines that are meant for dogs with arthritis. While it might sound counterintuitive to have dogs exercise when their joints are in pain, controlled exercise is critical. This exercise is important because it will strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in and around the joints.
The stronger these tissues are, the less work the bones are going to have to do. This means that the joints will be given an opportunity to rest and heal. When possible, try to ensure that dogs are playing on a solid surface. This will reduce the chances of pets suffering an injury while walking, running, or playing.
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Splurge On That Fancy Dog Bed
While some dogs enjoy lying on cool wood or tile floors, many dogs also enjoy a nice, comfy bed. Since hard floors may exacerbate joint pain, it is a good idea to consider providing a bed for your arthritic dog. Having a dog bed may also help prevent your dog from becoming injured by jumping on and off the furniture.
Dog beds come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials, and the descriptions might just make you want to try one out for yourself. There are many companies that make orthopedic dog beds or beds with cooling memory foam mattresses. If your dog has trouble getting all the way down to the floor, consider using a bed that is slightly elevated. Once again, there is no one size fits all solution. Dogs have preferences and may like one style or level of support over another.
If your dog is reluctant to use the bed you select, keep it in a common area like the living room. You may also want to place the bed next to your bed so your dog can rest there at night. If your dog still doesnt warm up to the bed, consider trying a different style of bed. With the number of available choices, even the most particular princess and the pea pups should be able to find a bed that suits their fancy.
Bring On The Exercise In Moderation
If you have watched your arthritic dog get up after lying down for awhile, or if you are afflicted with arthritis yourself, you know that creatures with arthritis may have a stiff gait. The longer they stay in one position, the harder it is for them to get up and go.
Exercise is important for all dogs regardless of their weight. It is also great for dog parents. Getting some fresh air and a chance to stretch your legs together can be a great way to increase your bond with your dog. Additionally, it can be a fun way to help your dog with arthritis at home.
Short and slow walks around the neighborhood can keep your dog limber and help an overweight dog burn more calories. In addition, these walks help maintain muscle mass to stabilize the joints. Swimming also makes a great low-impact exercise for arthritic dogs and can be an enjoyable treat in the summer heat.
Dogs dont always know their limits, so beware of letting your dog sprint or do other high-impact exercises. Also avoid the weekend warrior model of exercise. It may be seem fun in the short term, but your dog could get injured or suffer increased joint pain.
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Slim Down Your Elderly Dog
If your dog is overweight, commit to helping her slim down. Extra weight places extra strain on joints, worsening the pain of arthritis. Feeling guilty because your dog is looking longingly at her food bowl? Mix a little pumpkin into her dinner its healthy, low cal, and will help her feel full. We like both Fruitables and Merricks natural canned pumpkin for dogs.
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Here’s Why It’s Life Changing
Never Run Out
We deliver our food to your door on your schedule, so you can skip the pet store runs. One less thing to think about.
Whether your dogs a puppy or a senior, overweight or underweight, our personally portioned plans can help them be a healthier, happier version of themself.
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Your trial box comes with easy to follow transition instructions and a personalized feeding guide no more how much do I scoop? guessing games.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does this cost?
Plans start at $2/day and include free shipping. Each dog is different, and full-meal pricing will depend on a variety of factors including age, weight, activity, and more. Because we deliver the food right to your door, you can be sure that your dollars are going towards the highest quality ingredients, not to the mark-ups of a big retail store. To determine your exact costs, simply fill out our short questionnaire.
How do you determine my dogs portions?
We work closely with our vet nutritionists to figure out the optimal calorie needs for different combinations of breed, age, activity level, ideal weight, and sensitivities. Certain dogs can metabolize faster than others, so some plans may need further adjusting.
Do I need to refrigerate the food?
Do I need to cook the food?
No need, our food is pre-portioned and ready-to-serve! You can serve it directly from the fridge or add a touch of hot water if your dog prefers warm food.
Provide A Dog Bed In Every Room Where Family Spends Time
Some dogs have one dog bed and it may not necessarily be available to the dog until bed time. This is fine with young dogs, but older, arthritic dogs need something to cushion their protruding joints wherever they spend time with humans.
If your arthritic dog is laying on a cold, wood floor of a game room while the kids play for hours at a time, your dog will thank you for placing a dog bed in the game room.
Now lets move on to products that can be added as budget permits.
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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.
Regular Dog Checkups Are Critical
One of the most important parts of managing a chronic medical condition in a dog is preventative care. All dogs need to see a veterinarian at least once per year. This allows the vet to monitor a pet for the development of arthritis.
Often, through physical exams and lab work, a vet is able to notice signs and symptoms of arthritis before the pet owner realizes that something is wrong. This allows the vet to get the dog started on a treatment plan that can slow the progression of the condition, providing a dog with a markedly improved quality of life. A vet can also track arthritis once it has been diagnosed, altering the treatment plan when it is necessary.
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Weight Control Is Key
Keeping dogs slim and fit has been one of the most effective solutions when it comes to the management of arthritis. The treatment of arthritis focuses on reducing inflammation and removing stress from the joints. With the right diet, both of these tasks can be accomplished.
Pet owners need to make sure they invest in food that is going to keep their dogs slim. By losing weight, the joints will not have to work as hard. In addition, there are specialized diets that can reduce the amount of inflammation throughout a pets body. This will slow the degradation of cartilage and remove stress from the overworked joints of a dog with arthritis.
Diet And Weight Loss To Help Manage Arthritis Pain In Dogs
Next, lets look at the importance of diet and weight loss. Maintaining your dog at a healthy weight is imperative for managing pain. Excessive weight on joints can exacerbate arthritis.
But how do you know if your dog needs to lose weight? Purina offers the Body Condition Score chart, which you can find in my article on how to canine body condition score your dog along with my video demonstration.
In general, when lightly running your fingers along your dogs ribs, you should be able to feel them. The same is true for the spineyou should be able to palpate the spines of the vertebral bodies with gentle downward pressure . Lastly, when looking at your dog from above and behind, he or she should have a tapered waist.
This varies by breed, of course. A Labrador Retriever at a healthy weight will not have as clearly defined a waist as a Greyhound. So please keep in mind that these are generalities. Your veterinarian can help guide you in proper body condition for your dog.
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If You Want To Help Your Dog With Arthritis First Call Your Vet
Going to the vet is extremely important, especially for older dogs. I would argue that other than you, your veterinarian is your dogs biggest ally.
As a veterinarian, I believe its my job to listen carefully to what dog parents are saying and read between the lines to pick up on changes that they may not realize are significant. A thorough nose-to-tail examination and some diagnostic tests complete the picture. Then we can work together to tackle whatever challenges your dog is facing.
If your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with arthritis based on a physical examination and your observations, dont despair. There are countless ways to help a dog with arthritis at home!
Options like pain medications, joint supplements for dogs, physical therapy, laser therapy for dogs, and acupuncture can all help relieve arthritis pain in dogs. There isnt a particular treatment that is superior to the others. In fact, the best results often come from a multimodal approachusing several of these options together. Much like people, each dog responds differently, so finding the right combination for your dog can take a bit of trial and error but pay huge dividends in quality of life.
Keep Tabs On Your Dogs Diet
Did you know that diet plays a big role in your dogs joint health? Paying attention to how much and what kind of food your dog is eating can be a simple way to help your arthritic dog at home.
Feed your dog the right amount of food
It can be easy for doting dog parents to accidentally overfeed their dogs. After all, those begging puppy dog eyes can be so hard to resist. However, showing your love through food may be doing your dog more harm than good, especially when arthritis enters the picture.
When you maintain your dog at a healthy weight or, if indicated, help him shed those extra pounds, there is less pressure on the joints. This translates to less pain and improved mobility.
If youre wondering whether your dog is overweight, you can find out by calculating your dogs canine body condition score and discussing your concerns with your veterinarian.
Select the correct kind of food for your dog
Many of the commercially available foods found in pet stores are well-balanced and contain the correct amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Always read the label to figure out who the food is designed for. Puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, overweight or underweight dogs, and dogs with various activity levels have different nutrient requirements.