How to help a dog with Arthritis?
Many dogs in later life suffer with arthritis. This is particularly true with certain breeds but how can you help your dog with arthritis?
From a dog coat on wet walks, a bed with sides and changing the flooring at home, there are small things you can do that will make a difference to a dog with arthritis. The first thing if you suspect your dog has arthritis is visit your own vet, gain a diagnosis and follow any medical plan given.
The tips given in this article are designed to be additional to any medical treatment or advice given by your own vet.
But they can make a difference.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition which causes inflammation in the joints, making movement painful and difficult. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the term used to describe the progressive deterioration of the joints as a result of the inflammation.
Arthritis is a progressive disease with symptoms that gradually develop and worsen over time. Sadly there is no cure for arthritis.
Has my dog got arthritis?
The first thing you’re likely to notice is your dog starting to slow down; they may take it easier on walks, be reluctant to play as much or they may no longer go up the stairs or jump on their favourite chair quite so easily.
Do make sure you book your dog in for a vet check-up if you notice any of these signs.
I noticed the signs in one of my Labradors when she was 7 as she had started with Arthritis at an early age. My other Lab (her biological sister) only started when she was 12 so it does vary a lot.
Here’s some of the symptoms of arthritis that you may spot and that need a Vets attention:
- Limping or lameness
- Stiff gait, likely to be worse after exercise and when first waking up
- Groaning or being extra careful when laying down or getting back up
- Wary of you touching the joints affected
- Muscle wasting which can show as loss of weight
- Tiredness or sleeping more than usual (hard to spot in ageing dogs however)
- Irritability and generally not as happy as normal
- Licking or chewing on areas that may be painful
So after seeing a Vet what can you do to help you dog?
Helping your dog with Arthritis in your home
- Help keep ( or get) your dog slim. This can help by decreasing the load on his/her joints. As well as their main food this also includes treats. Try to buy natural and low fat treats, and don’t feed them tit bits from your own plate (as hard as those eyes are calling!).
- As much as possible, keep your dog warm and dry, since cold and damp conditions can aggravate arthritis. Investing in a padded dog bed with sides prevents drafts and can make a difference to arthritic dogs. We have various options. You can also apply warm compresses to painful joints, these heat-pads last for 24 hours and are perfect when your dog is having a flare up.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can be used to help improve joint mobility and support better joint functioning for dogs with arthritis. Many vets recommend their own, but we have these natural joint supplements that taste like treats so a lot easier to get down!
- Be sure to take steps to adjust his/her environment at home. Some things that can help an arthritic dog include: providing soft supportive bedding for his achy joints including memory foam beds and beds with sides, using ramps to help a dog get in and out of a car or up to a bed, and putting down carpeting and secure rugs to help him/her get traction as he/she walks.
Helping your dog with Arthritis when out on a walk
- As much as possible, keep your dog warm and dry, since cold and damp conditions can aggravate arthritis. Consider investing in a padded and waterproof dog coat to prevent their body getting wet and cold. This will allow them to dry off quickly after a walk and reduce any aggravation. Our All Season Waterproof coats is one of the only FULL waterproof padded coats around (many are water resistant not waterproof).
- Controlled exercise is a must, but make sure you carefully monitor your dog while she plays, walks, or runs. If possible, find a soft surface for activity such as fields, parks etc but make sure this is relatively flat. Your veterinarian can offer more suggestions for getting your dog moving regularly.
The whole reason Treat Your Dog exists is because of our dogs having Arthritis, read more about our story and how the All Seasons Waterproof Dog Coat has made a difference to our elderly dog and now lots of others around the UK.