What is the best thing to do for a dog with arthritis? 6 ways you can help your dog

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Dogs suffering from arthritis (more precisely, osteoarthritis) are especially affected by the cold weather, which can aggravate their symptoms and make life difficult. Arthritis is a painful disease that is caused by abnormal changes in the joints, leading to chronic inflammation.

This condition frequently occurs as a result of injury, aging, or developmental disorders. Some dogs may experience slight discomfort, while others may experience severe pain.

Although arthritis in dogs cannot be 100% cured, there are certain remedies that can relieve pain, stiffness, and other specific symptoms.

Since a dog suffering from arthritis has special needs, always talk to a veterinarian and determine the treatment options together with them.

In this article, we offer you some suggestions to help improve the symptoms of arthritis, which you can apply in the cold season and not only.

Signs of joint problems in dogs

  • High irritability.
  • Aggression due to pain.
  • The dog remains behind during walking.
  • It has difficulty standing up in the morning.
  • Stiffness, limping, or slowness.
  • The need to sleep more.
  • Decreased enthusiasm for games and walks.
  • Reluctance to jump into the car or go up or down stairs.
  • Excessive licking of a painful joint.
  • Visible signs such as swelling of some joints.
  • Loss of muscle mass.
  • Whining when touched.
  • Performing “bunny hops” (bunny hopping) while running (jumping forward into a crouched position).

What you can do

  1. Pain medication

In situations where arthritis causes severe pain, the veterinarian will recommend regular medication to control the pain. This medication is usually represented by anti-inflammatory drugs designed to reduce inflammation and pain.

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These drugs are contraindicated in dogs suffering from various diseases, including kidney, liver, or stomach problems.

2. Laser therapy

Laser therapy for dogs is an effective alternative method to relieve inflammation and pain in arthritic dogs. This therapy uses penetrating light to stimulate cells and produces a chain of chemical reactions with a role in relieving inflammation and pain.

Laser treatment has no side effects, and a session lasts only a few minutes. Patients will feel an improvement from the first sessions.

3. Dog weight management

Maintaining a healthy weight is often a key element for dogs suffering from arthritis. Excess weight puts pressure on the joints of your quadrupeds, causing even more pain, which affects mobility. Think how hard it would be for you to walk with 20 lbs. bags on your back and how much pressure it would put on your joints. Now imagine what it would be like if these joints were additionally painful and stiff. This is how an overweight dog suffering from arthritis feels.

4. Exercise

Movement and exercise are not something to be neglected in dogs with arthritis. Physical activity helps relieve pain, avoiding stiffening of the joints.

Dogs suffering from arthritis should not do intense exercise, such as running or jumping, but walking and swimming are recommended.

You can also try keeping the movement level balanced. Let’s say your dog will exercise every day, but it will rest during the weekend.

5. Joint supplements

Joint supplements have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties for dogs with arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are the two major substances that are included in joint supplements. Both have benefits for the joints, helping to maintain the synovial fluid that lubricates them, which helps reduce friction during movement. These substances also combat pain and discomfort and help strengthen and regenerate damaged cartilage.

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6. Preventing falls and slips

A fall on ice or stairs can be extremely painful for dogs suffering from arthritis. For harsh icy winters, it is recommended to use a harness for your four-legged friend with arthritic pain. It can help support your dog and give it more balance.

Another recommended accessory is dog shoes. They are non-slip and, in addition, will keep your dog’s paws protected from frostbites. 

Regarding stairs, it is best for your dog to avoid going up/down the stairs, jumping, and other movements that put pressure on its painful joints.

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