By Linda Butts
Canine arthritis is a fairly common disease among dogs. It’s often found in older dogs, but can strike younger dogs, too.
The severity of canine arthritis can range from moderate to intense as dogs age. Larger dogs are more vulnerable to the disease than smaller ones.
Regularly check your dogs for signs of arthritis.
To help keep them healthy, monitor their weight and feed them the right kind of food to help avoid canine arthritis and other joint problems.
Warning signs of canine arthritis and joint disease
When your dog was a puppy, he was always running around and jumping. But as he ages, your dog loses a bit of that pep. Too often, we disregard this warning sign as just a common symptom of aging. But that isn’t always the case.
As dogs age, they won’t be as active and may take some time to sit up or lay down. They may also have a problem jumping up on the bed or climbing stairs. That’s because joint pain can make even easy tasks difficult.
And while you can attribute some of that to age, you also need to be vigilant to watch for warning signs of canine arthritis or other joint problems.
Unfortunately, while dogs readily show their love, happiness and loyalty, they are extremely good at hiding their pain. It’s up to you to watch for subtle signs that show they are suffering.
Look for signs such as lethargy, walking in unusual patters or problems jumping on furniture and climbing stairs.
Treatment options for canine arthritis
1. Manage their weight
This is the first and the most important rule. Don’t let your dog get overweight. I know you would like to shower them with their favorite food all the time to show your love, but trust me on this.
Watch their weight and don’t over feed them. It doesn’t matter what size or breed your dog is, try to identify your dog’s ideal weight and then help get him to it. Extra weight on the skeletal frame puts added stress on bones and joints.
This can worsen the pre-existing problems causing the cartilage to deteriorate and lead to bone rubbing against bone, which increases the chances of inflammation in the joints.
Instead, show your love by playing with them,. This way, you will help your pup get the exercise he needs and keep him happy. It’s a win-win situation.
If you can go on a diet. so can your dog. I am not talking about the abs workout thing; this is just about a healthy diet. Helping your dog lose — or maintain a healthy weight — also will reduce inflammation around the joints to relieve pain.
If you’re a multi-pet family, you may have this dilemma, can my cat eat dog food? The answer is just a nibble won’t hurt, but for long-term use, eating dog food can be dangerous for your cat. So always keep foods for your cats and dogs separate.
There isn’t a dog who doesn’t love treats.
By feeding your dog healthy treats that are tasty and high in Omega fatty acids (for example treats with flaxseed oil or fish oil), calcium-rich foods high in vitamins C and D or iron, can help improve your dog’s nutritional intake and potentially ease pain and inflammation.
4. Prescription dog food
Prescription food like Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic are specially developed by veterinarians to manage your dog’s weight and promote joint health.
The food promises to increase your dog’s mobility in 21 days and help him to reduce weight by 13% in less than 60 days.
5. Natural remedies
Sometimes nature’s remedy is the best treatment.
Here are some foods from your kitchen that can help your dog:
- Herbs (turmeric, basil, parsley, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, cumin)
- Berries (wild blueberries, Goji berries, cranberries)
- Natural extract of blue-green algae
- Potatoes (which can help lubricate joints).
- Anti-oxidants: You can go for anti-oxidants such as turmeric and vitamin E, which help reduce inflammation.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin: Many dog foods contain these supplements that help heal cartilage and maintain joint health.
- Vitamins: In addition to vitamin E, consider adding a multivitamin to help keep your dog in peak condition.
- Fish oil: Omega-3 fatty acids are great for reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system.
7. Soothe aches and pains
If your dog is suffering from canine arthritis treatments such as massages or acupuncture can help.
So can a nice warm bath. A good soak combined with cleaning his coat with the best puppy shampoo, will not only give you a clean dog, but one that also feels better.
My best advice, never ignore any warning sign and get your dog checked out by a vet if you suspect he is showing any signs of canine arthritis. Starting a course of treatment will prevent permanent joint damage and help keep your dog happy, healthy and playful.
Linda Butts is the editor of Pawsometalk. She uses her blog to share ideas and techniques from her personal experiences and pet research.