How to Help Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis in dogs can be very debilitating. This is the number one cause of pain in dogs and is very common once a dog reaches the seven year mark. Visible signs of arthritis can be noticed by a dog’s behavior. These early warning signs can be anything from:

  • stiffness in getting up or in laying down
  • limping
  • slowing down when taking them for a walk
  • a reluctance to jump up into a vehicle, a couch, or a bed
  • a dislike of going up or down stairs
  • gravitating towards heat or cold
  • licking the sore joints often

The sooner we recognize the symptoms, the better it is for slowing down the progression of arthritis.  One of the best treatments we can provide is the addition of gluocosamine and chondroitin in their diets. These are a nutraceutical called glycosaminoglycans or known as mucopolysaccharides. These supplements are important because they assist in rebuilding cartilage and restoring the synovial joint fluid. Some experts feel that these possibly act like a preventative as well.

Cartophen is an injectable form and is administered subcutaneously. There has been good results seen with the use of this. Some injectable forms help more than the oral forms, however each dog responds differently. Products designed for people such as glucosamine, chondriotin sulfate and green-lipped sea mussel work well on dogs too.

Various foods can aggravate arthritis and cause even more inflammation. These foods should be eliminated from the diet and include foods such as grains, and members from the nightshade family such as potatoes (excluding sweet potatoes and yams), tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Many pet foods contain grains and if not grains they are based on potatoes instead. Reading labels for all ingredients is a must.

Foods that actually help with arthritis include the following:

  • papaya
  • alfalfa
  • celery
  • ginger
  • goat’s whey

A dog that suffers from arthritis needs to be kept lean and in shape. The less weight that is on their joints, the better it is for them. Any unneccessary stress placed on the joints only leads to greater pain and immobility and wear and tear. Feeding them a diet high in protein is far superior than feeding them a diet high in carbohydrates. Fat in the diet needs to be regulated and should come from a good source.

 They need to exercise regularly and swimming is one of the best methods. This is pain free exercise and zero impact. All of their joints will be gently stretched and mobilized as well as the countless other benefits that go along with hydrotherapy for dogs.

A wonderful natural anti-inflammatory you can give your dog is fish oil. This is a super rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which reduces inflammation and has many other benefits for the body. Use a salmon oil or a white fish oil and not a liver oil. In addition to supplementing with this give your dog vitamin E as well or the body will become depleted of this. For small dogs give 100IU, medium dogs 200IU and large breeds 400IU daily.

Equally, herbal products have also helped cainine arthritis. Boswellia, yucca root, turmeric, nettle and licorice all have reportedly helped. Treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage or hydrotherapy all are highly valuable in the care of arthritis. For really indepth information about all the ways we can help our pets function at their optimum, check out my ebook. It is loaded with so many valuable tips and methods.

We need to take preventative measures and be aware of our best friends health. Noticing the subtle changes can help catch it and control it before it becomes really difficult for them. We all want our companions to live a full and rich life and it is amazing how even the smallest of changes can offer a profound difference in the quality of their lives.

Great Tips for Helping your Dog’s Arthritis

There are many ways that we can help our dog’s arthritis. Some of the simplest and most cost effective ways are by starting with their mobility challenges. If we imagine what it would be like to us, we can get a pretty good handle on how difficult everyday routines become. Arthritis in dogs causes stiffness and pain just like it does in their human counterparts. So realizing that, we can start with everyday events.

  • For many large or medium size breeds, bending over to eat causes strain upon their necks and backs as well as on their forelimbs. Watch the position they are in when they eat or drink from a bowl down on ground level. It is not very comfortable eating or drinking never mind swallowing their food. Simply by raising the food dish and water bowl up onto a platform can eliminate much unnecessary strain on them physically. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, and even by cutting a hole in a small plastic stool that sits 9 inches high and placing the dish inside that does wonders.
  • Providing a softer, supportive bed that is slightly off the floor helps their sore joints when they sleep or rest.  The bed they sleep on should not be too high so they are forced to jump up and down. There are beds made with crate foam to prevent bedsores and provide even support. The warmth of the material will also be better for them than a cold and hard floor. Magnetic beds are available and help an arthritic dog. The choices are endless when it comes to a bed for your companion.
  • If you have stairs into your home from outside, a ramp will do wonders for your pet’s knees and hips. Even transporting your dog in and out of the vehicle becomes hard for them. There are many types of ramps available and some are fairly inexpensive ones. If you find the surface material on them still slips,  glue down some carpet runner on the surface. That makes a world of difference for a dog who would otherwise slide and become skittish about using it. The ramp can also be used as a stretcher for larger dogs if you are ever in a crisis situation and need to carry your dog to the vehicle to seek medical attention. Ramps are amazingly helpful if your dog is required to have surgery. It will save your back as well! 
  • Rear end slings are available for dogs with back end difficulties. There are a variety of them on the market. Another way to aid them is by simply placing a towel around their abdominal area and assisting them when they need to go and eliminate. This works even with larger breeds but can be taxing on your back. Be careful as to how you bend over when using a towel.
  • Wheelchairs or carts are designed for many dogs. A dog with arthritis can be very immobile and fitting them with a wheelchair gives them a whole new lease on life. They will go from hardly moving at all to where suddenly they have the use of their rear limbs or forelimbs again. These are very lightweight and designed to fit securely and not cause  sores from rubbing. Helping them with supplements and acupuncture is the first choice and if needed, a cart can be introduced later on when they are really challenged.
  • Placing mats upon the floor if it is slippery will help with their walking. Even if it is just in the route they travel from the door to the bed to their eating and drinking dishes. Placing more than one drinking dish in the home also makes their life a little easier. Carpet runners are relatively inexpensive and can be rolled up afterwards and used again.
  • Paw protectors help keep their feet warm and dry. There are many different kinds available and they do work well. Raincoats also help with colder and damper weather conditions. This helps keep your canine dry and protects their body heat from dispersing when outside in the not so nice weather.

Arthritis  in dogs can be helped through using: supplements, vitamins, herbs, diet modifications, acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathic remedies, T-Touch, magnetic therapy, hydrotherapy, exercise, Bach flower remedies, aromatics, chiropractic treatments, medications and lastly surgery. In my ebook I go into great length about all the ways we can assist our companions.There are so many ways we can help our dog’s arthritis, we just need to observe them and see what it is that we can help with to make their life easier and more pain free. They are worth every bit of it!