As your dog gets older, the cartilage on the surfaces of its joints can get thinner, making it more prone to developing arthritis. Knowing what to do and how to prevent the condition can help your dog in the long run.
Arthritis is common among older and bigger dogs. Canines who suffer from the condition end up with damaged joints that lack the proper cushioning. As a result, your dog’s bones tend to rub directly against each other, which can be uncomfortable and painful. The continuous bone-on-bone friction could lead to the formation of a new bone, making it even more difficult for your dog to move.
Dog arthritis is a progressive disease with no known cure. However, there are natural remedies available that can help your dog manage the disease.
What are the Causes of Dog Arthritis?
Several factors can contribute to your dog’s damaged joints and cartilage. These include:
- Age: Older dogs tend to develop arthritis as their joints begin to weaken and wear out.
- Injuries: Frequent injuries, such as fractures or ruptured ligaments, can increase a dog’s chance of damaging its joints and cartilage.
- Size & Weight: Large, heavy dogs are more prone to arthritis. The added weight puts more pressure and stress on the joints which speed up their deterioration.
- Genetics: Some breeds of dogs are more likely to develop arthritis because of body structure and development.
What are the Signs that Your Dog Has Arthritis?
If you’re worried that your dog could be suffering from arthritis, here are some signs to look out for:
- Stiff or lethargic movement
- Difficulty getting up
- Sudden weight gain
- Behavioral changes (e.g., irritability)
- Loss of energy
- Pain when being touched
If your dog shows these signs, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible so they can provide the proper dog arthritis treatment.
How to Help Your Dog with Arthritis
Arthritis is a progressive disease with no cure so you may be wondering how to help your dog with arthritis at home. Even if your dog has been diagnosed with the condition, there are natural and non-invasive alternatives available to alleviate your dog’s pain and discomfort.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Weight plays a big role in maintaining the health of your dog’s joints. If your pooch is overweight, its joints are subjected to more stress which could make the arthritis worse. So maintain a healthy weight to help your dog minimize the unnecessary stress to its joints.
Ensure Proper Nutrition
Avoid processed food that could cause inflammation to the joints and opt for natural whole grains and fruits instead. It also pays to include vegetables rich in nutrients such as antioxidants that help fight against inflammation in your pet’s diet. Fatty oils such as omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon or sardines are also excellent for your dog’s diet.
A dog with arthritis may be reluctant to move, but this doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t get any exercise. Light and moderate exercise such as walking, hide and seek, and swimming are great activities that can help keep your pet’s joints moving.
Make Your Home Pet-friendly
As pet owners, making adjustments to your home can help your dog with its arthritis. This may include providing them with a warm, cushioned place to sleep. It also helps to place your dog’s meals and water bowls in areas where they are easy to reach.
Natural Remedies for Dog Arthritis Pain
Sometimes, the best dog arthritis medicine is natural. Even though it always pays to consult your vet for the most effective treatment, you can also explore natural remedies for dog arthritis pain. We’ve listed a few examples:
Natural Supplements for Dog Arthritis
Below are some natural supplements to help your dog manage arthritis pain:
- Turmeric – As a type of spice rich in antioxidants, turmeric can help reduce inflammation and damage to your dog’s joints. The recommended intake is 0.5-1 teaspoon of turmeric powder per day or about 15-20 mg based on your pet’s body weight.
- Comfrey – Comfrey has pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. These shrubby herbs have long, slender leaves, and they’re available as dried herbs in food stores. The recommended daily dose of comfrey for your pets should be around 0.5-1 teaspoons.
- Yucca – Yucca contains compounds that help dogs with inflamed joints and promotes the passage of nutrients to the digestive tract. It’s also rich in vitamins A, B, C, and contains calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Introduce your dog with yucca root powder before giving it a concentrated dose of about 1/4 teaspoon.
Use CBD Oil
You may also use cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound found in medical marijuana, to help alleviate your dog’s arthritis. CBD is effective in pain management, and can help treat conditions such as seizures, anxiety, and cancer.
Additionally, CBD can act as an anti-inflammatory substance for better pain relief. Research shows that CBD can help increase canine comfort and activity if given twice daily in the appropriate dose. And studies on CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures generally follow a dose between 2-8 mg/kg.
Practice Physical Therapy
Another way to help your dog to cope with arthritis is through physical rehabilitation. Therapeutic exercise is a big help for dogs struggling with degenerative joint disease. After all, physical therapy aims to strengthen your dog’s muscles, improve joint mobility, and reduce overall pain.
Hands-on techniques for your pet’s physical therapy include massaging, stretching, and gently manipulating the joints. These light exercises and movements can help reduce pain, improve flexibility of the affected areas, and promote blood flow.
You can also introduce your dog to acupuncture treatment. During the procedure, your vet will stimulate your dog’s nerves using needles placed in specific locations of your pet’s body. This treatment will help increase blood flow and relax the muscles. With regular acupuncture treatments, your dog can more easily manage its arthritis pain.
Will My Dog Feel Better?
Although arthritis can’t be fully treated, your pet can still live a happy and wonderful life thanks to the different treatments available. To learn more about how you can help your dog manage arthritis and other dog injuries, explore the TLPOInfo blog.