Seeing a dog suffering from arthritis is something that nobody wants to go through. Your four-legged friend, who was always up for running around and playing fetch, is now suffering and unable to partake in their favorite activities. Joint pain, specifically osteoarthritis, is common in companion animals such as dogs. In fact, one in four dogs suffer from osteoarthritis. Dogs are also prone to bacterial arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and septic arthritis.
In addition to pain, other symptoms of arthritis in dogs include limping, difficulty rising, snapping when petted, a change in personality, and difficulty with stairs. Depending on the cause, arthritis may affect one or any number of your dog’s joints.
Thankfully, the pain and discomfort caused by arthritis can be effectively controlled and managed. Below are 8 ways that you can help an arthritic dog:
Exercising an arthritic dog is not easy, but this is something you have to do. While too much exercise can cause pain in the joints, lack of physical activity will only make the condition worse. Therefore, staying moderately active will keep your dog’s muscles strong, as well as improve circulation to those achy joints.
2. Go Swimming
Swimming is often recommended as an alternative exercise for arthritic dogs. This non-weight bearing exercise will help to keep the joints mobile and the muscles working well. Therefore, you should keep an eye out for canine-friendly hydrotherapy centers, pools, public beaches or dog parks with a water feature.
3. Massage the Joints
A relaxing massage from time to time is beneficial to an arthritic dog. Massages help to increase circulation to the painful joints as well as improve your dog’s flexibility. To add to this, they relax your canine friend and increases their sense of well-being. Always use gentle, circular strokes to massage your dog.
It’s very important for dogs suffering from arthritis to maintain a healthy weight. Any additional weight adds more pressure and pain to your dog’s achy joints. While losing weight can be a tricky for older dogs, helping your canine friend shed some extra pounds will do them the world of good. With controlled exercise and a healthy diet, weight loss is possible.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
This, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, is another great remedy for dogs suffering from arthritis.
• Add some raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water. Gradually increase the dose to the amount that is suitable for your dog. You can give up to 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a small dog, up to 2 teaspoons for a medium sized dog, and 2 tablespoons to a large dog daily.
• Another option is to add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s food.
There are numerous dietary supplements that you can consider giving to your pet to ease arthritis pain and improve flexibility. These include:
• Omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce pain as a result of reduced joint inflammation.
• Glucosamine and chondroitin are very effective joint supplements that help joints make new cartilage and repair any damage caused by arthritis.
• Vitamin C and E supplements.
When deciding to give your dog supplements, always consult with your vet to determine which joint supplements are best for your pet.
There are many natural foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties that you can add to your dog’s diet to provide relief from arthritis. Such natural foods include sweet potatoes, salmon, tuna, turmeric, ginger (in small amounts), blueberries, celery, coconut oil, and papaya.
8. Make Your Dog Comfortable
Heat can help to soothe painful joints, so putting a heating pad on their achy joints for 10 minutes can help a lot. Furthermore, when your dog is sleeping, put a warm blanket over them. You should consider investing in a padded dog bed or look for store-bought heating options available for pets.
• Take your dog for regular checkups so that your vet can monitor the arthritis and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
• If your dog’s arthritis is advanced, surgery might be a good option.
• Use ramps to help your dog get in and out of a car or up onto a bed or sofa.
• Put down carpets and secure rugs to help your pet get traction as he walks.
• Acupuncture is beneficial for animals suffering from arthritis.