Have you noticed that your once sprightly and energetic Jack Russell is now lagging behind on dog walks?
Or, perhaps you have noticed that your slightly senior Labrador is struggling to get up after lying down. If this is the case, you need to book them in for an appointment with their vet as soon as possible, as these can be the early signs of arthritis.
In dogs, there are generally two common types of arthritis, with the most prevalent being osteoarthritis, followed closely by rheumatoid arthritis. Both of these will require veterinary attention and lifestyle modifications to ensure that your pup is happy, healthy, and has a good quality of life for as long as possible.
So, what are things that you can do to ensure your doggo with arthritis is kept comfortable? Read on to find out!
Consult With Their Vet
As mentioned before, it is important to ensure that any signs of arthritis are checked by a trained veterinary professional and that treatment options are discussed.
Veterinarians are also able to offer guidance on pain management for dog owners whose pets have arthritis, as well as dietary adjustments and exercise regimens that can keep your pup’s arthritis in check for as long as possible. It is also worth noting that if you have lifetime dog insurance for your pet, with the additional vet visits, you will need to inform them of the changes in your dog’s health and potentially make payment adjustments to keep up with these appointments.
Joint Friendly Exercise
Arthritis does not mean that you need to stop walking your dog. You should continue to give them walks, but they should be low-impact and gentle on their joints. As well as this, many dog owners offer their dogs hydrotherapy and swimming, which provide all of the cardiovascular benefits of regular walks without hurting the joints. You should also aim to prevent activities that involve running on hard surfaces as well as jumping. So, you may need to get some ramps in your home.
Keep Their Weight In Check
As any vet will tell you, excess weight on any animal is likely to put additional strain on their joints, which can worsen their arthritis. You need to make sure that your dog maintains a healthy weight via a balanced diet and portion control. This also means you may need to prevent them from receiving treats at the park and no longer feed them titbits off of your plate!
Memory Foam Beds
You should also be seeking to make sure that the beds are as comfortable as possible. There are now orthopedic beds and mats available, which will prevent pressure from being applied to their joints as they are resting. Memory foam beds are also a good addition to the home of a dog that has arthritis, as well as ramps and easy access to elevated surfaces.
There are multiple supplements that can be used to help dogs who have arthritis, such as glucosamine and fish oils which can loosen the joints and prevent inflammation. However, if your dog has a more serious case of arthritis, you will likely need to have them on prescription medication from a vet, which may involve non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, steroids, or even opiate-based medications. For these, they will need to undertake regular blood tests to ensure that their liver and kidneys are functioning correctly.