Helping dogs with arthritis live comfortably

There is no doubt about it, dogs are one of the greatest loves and joys of life. Whether you have a dog for hunting, sheep herding, or simple companionship, they are our best friends. Taking care of your dog is a serious responsibility that comes with understanding proper training, exercise, and nutrition. Remember, just like us, dogs are emotional creatures. They feel happiness, sadness, excitement, fear, and a host of other (very human) emotions. Vet services are an important part of keeping your dog healthy.

Today we wanted to touch on one of the more heart-breaking conditions a dog can suffer: arthritis. Arthritis in dogs can be difficult to deal with because it makes running, jumping, and even walking or sitting very painful. However, over 75% of dogs who suffer from arthritis or severe dysplasia can live comfortable and happy lives with the proper management and vet services. As a vet clinic, we see arthritis in dogs frequently. One of the most heartbreaking things to see is a dog who has developed arthritis, and the dog owners waited too long to help treat and prevent the ongoing pain. If left untreated, arthritis can leave dogs in miserable and painful conditions. If you suspect your dog has arthritis, stop procrastinating and get them into a veterinary hospital for veterinary services.

Even after vet services, there are important things you should be doing at home with your dog to help manage and relieve the pain of arthritis. Here are some of our most important tips for dog owners whose dogs develop arthritis:

First, be sure to take your dog in for regular checkups at any vet services hospital. Veterinarians are trained to monitor a pet’s arthritis to make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. This can help relieve and avoid large measures of pain for the dog you love.

Be sure to keep your dog slim (but not skinny). A healthy weight will decrease the load on your dog’s joints, making it easier for him or her to walk, run, and jump. Give your dog the best care you can by providing the right amounts of high quality dog food.

Make sure your dog is getting controlled and proper exercise. Seeing a vet can help you determine what type of exercise will be best for your dog based on the stage of arthritis they are in. Whenever possible, let your dog walk, run, and play on a soft surface (such as grass) rather than hard ones (such as concrete or asphalt). The activity will help keep your dog in good physical condition, which can relieve the pain of arthritis. Keeping activity limited to soft surfaces will help ensure no further joint pain develops. 

Whenever possible, keep your dog in a warm and dry area. Cold conditions can make arthritis more painful in both humans and dogs. Investing in a padded dog bed can help ensure a restful nights sleep and keep your dog warm. Additionally, consider investing in a heated pad to help warm the sleeping area of your dog.

There are options for massage therapy too. Just like in humans, dog’s muscles can get tight and knotted up, aggravating conditions like arthritis. Massaging can increase the circulation and flexibility of dogs, helping relieve arthritic pain and symptoms. Vet services should have plenty of good recommendations if you aren’t sure where to go for professional doggy massages.

If the arthritis is advanced enough, exercise and massages might not be enough. You may consider surgery to help with advanced stage arthritis, though it is a good idea to consult with a vet first before taking these measures.

There are a number of things you can do to show your love and care for your pups no matter their age (because let’s be honest, they will always be puppies to us). Our goal is to help make sure your dogs get the best treatment possible when you bring them in, and to ensure you have every resource available to you to provide a wonderful home environment for your animals. Be sure to carefully watch your dog for signs of developing arthritis, especially for dogs that are getting advanced in age.

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