With warmer weather headed our way to Minnesota, the Osteoarthritis in your dog may appear to be in decline. But, canine arthritis will still make a comeback in the fall. So what can you do this spring and summer to help treat your dog? We’ve come up with a few ways to help lessen the pain and discomfort of canine arthritis and hope this article helps. Please be sure to check with your veterinarian prior to any treatment information. !–more–>
If your dog’s joints click when they walk, doesn’t appear to want to go on walks, or doesn’t want to walk very far; there’s a chance your dog could be suffering from canine arthritis. Arthritis in dogs can be one of a variety of types, but the most common is osteoarthritis.
What is Osteoarthritis in dogs and what causes it?
There is no single cause of canine arthritis. So whether it’s an old injury they suffered as pups, being overweight or simply bad breeding (see: hip dysplasia), there are a number of ways your dog can succumb to arthritis. As a dog gets older, the cartilage in their joints acts as a buffer between bones; quite often cartilage degrades and deteriorates thus reducing the buffer between bones; sometimes to the point where there is direct bone-to-bone contact. Much like arthritis in humans, this too is extremely painful for your pet.
Arthritis Symptoms in Dogs
If your dog displays some of the following symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian regarding the possibility of canine arthritis:
- Inactivity or unwillingness to be active
- Clicking of joints as they walk
- Reluctance to get up or lie down
- Favoring one limb and visible pain when walking
- Swelling of Joints
- Whimpering/Crying when attempting to stand or move
- Reluctance to climb stairs or even go for walks
Is There a Treatment for Canine Arthritis?
While there is no cure for canine arthritis, there are methods and products to help reduce inflammation and help manage your dog’s pain. You should always consult with a veterinarian prior to any treatment you decide to give your dog. Please consult your veterinarian as they will decide whether prescribed drugs will indeed aid in reducing the pain and swelling your dog may be experiencing.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin have shown good results in reducing the inflammation, and therefore the pain, in the joints in many dogs. Changing the animal’s diet might also help. For overweight dogs, a dog food low in calories should be given. Commercial supplements providing this combination include Cosequin and Arthogen, among others. They are available without a prescription, but please: CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN FIRST!
What Can I Do to Make my Dog Comfortable?
- When the weather is warm, try to get them outdoors – the warmth of the sun will usually help during the day.
- Get them in warm water this summer. Warm lake/ocean water will help relax them. We’re not talking a full swim, just a soak.
- When the weather is cold or damp, keep your buddy cozy and warm.
- Raise their food and water bowl onto a stand to help when they eat so they don’t have to bend their neck or shoulders
- Using a hot towel or towel wrapped in a water bottle apply to arthritic joints. Don’t use a heating pad!
- Instead of stairs, bring your dog’s bed to a lower level, or create ramps they’ll be able to use.
- Maintain a reasonable activity level, especially in warm weather. Exercise and mild activity will help stop joints from further deterioration.
Once a dog develops arthritis they will most likely suffer with this medical condition for the rest of their life. Truly, just try to make them comfortable as possible by maintaining a reasonable activity level, feeding them a proper diet, and/or treating with over-the-counter medications, prescribed drugs, or holistic remedies.