For all types of dogs, arthritis is a problem that is faced especially in the later years of your dog’s life. Regardless of breed, dogs enter the stage where joints and bones become weaker, the usual run becomes a walk, and the usual jump is almost impossible. You notice that your pet has slower movements and is most of the time sedentary.
This is because all dogs at a particular age have thinning joints, and they experience pain in their movements. Similar to a person with arthritis, a dog experiences inflammation at the joints. This is due to lack of enzymes and excess joint fluid. However, this condition can still be avoided by giving your pet high quality food and keeping it within normal weight levels. This is why proper feeding and exercise is important to your dog, to not let the weight take a toll on his joints.
Thanks to modern science, research on dog arthritis has progressed and we know more about it now than before. There are also studies available now on how to deal with dog arthritis, and be able to manage it with greater ease. Here are some of the ways.
1. Make a comfortable rest area.
First of all, your dog is in pain most of the time. The first thing to do is make him a padded bed and away from very cool places in the house. The warmer he is the better, and will make his pain a less excruciating. In the yard, make a gentle slope that he can use rather than a step. Do not pad the steps or railings inside the house.
2. Take him for massages.
There are facilities that offer massages to dogs to lessen inflammation and increase blood circulation. Take your dog to one session and have the therapist teach you how to do it, so you can do it yourself in the house.
3. Have his regular meds available.
Upon the vet’s diagnosis, your dog will get his regular prescription of medicines. Although degenerative joint disease cannot be cured, your vet might prescribe medicines that can help reduce pain or inflammation.
It’s not going to be easy but make your pet engage in exercises which are not too straining but will still have him engaged in physical activity. Swimming is the best option, although it might be difficult for your dog. Exercise is still important as weight gain should be monitored and if your pet has limited movements, he is more prone to obesity.
5. Get a portable ramp.
Getting in the car or managing a few steps in the house might be difficult for your pet now that his joints are thin. A portable ramp will help him ease through the steps. Make sure that the ramp is padded to avoid slipping and accidents.
6. Elevate his food.
To avoid strains in the neck, place his bottle feeder or dog dish on an elevated area. This way, he will not have a hard time eating and his neck will not be strained from long periods of bending.
7. Groom him in hard to reach areas.
With his limited movements, there are areas that he will not be able to reach. Take him to more frequent grooming sessions or groom him at home. This way, he is still well-maintained and healthy, and will keep you from other possible problems caused by ticks and fleas, ear or teeth infections, and hair loss.
Remember that it is important for you to get quality grooming supplies. Petco has a wide array of products that are dog-friendly and non-toxic. If you opt to have him groomed by a professional, seek the most cost effective and that offers quality service.
Living with a pet with arthritis can still be fun. Although it might be hard for you to see your dog in pain, but with proper management, you and your pet can still create a harmonious relationship. Always remember that a dog with arthritis is not a liability but a challenge.
All you need is to give him an extra dose of loving. Nurturing a dog will also help you develop patience and compassion, as well as creativity to provide him with physical activities that he can still accomplish given his condition. There were other dog owners that have overcome the obstacle completely, and their relationships with their pets are better and happier.
Your dog’s arthritis, even if his condition cannot be eradicated, will create a better opportunity for you to bond and make your pet feel like he is a part of your family, that you will be there for him through sickness and good health, like how he is with you, loyal to you in whatever situation you’re in.