Has your dog's walk become stiff? Does he groan or is having a hard time getting up from the floor? Is your dog gaining weight? Is he irritable and avoiding touch? Your dog may have arthritis.
What is Arthritis
Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints and is a common problem in dogs particularly senior dogs. It has the same pain and discomfort that humans experience when they have arthritis that is why proper care and helping them ease the pain should be your priority.
The joints that are commonly affected are:
- Knee joint
What Causes Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis is the result of damage to the cartilage within the affected joint. This damage happens due to the wear and tear of the joint from aging, obesity, athletic injuries, congenital abnormalities, traumatic injuries, etc.
The primary function of the cartilage is to provide a cushion between the joint and the bone. When the cartilage is damaged, the cells die and it releases the enzymes. This causes the inflammation of the joint capsule and excessive production of joint fluids. Without the cartilage to provide a cushion, the bones of your dog will become completely damaged. This is called osteoarthritis.
When the immune system of your dog is lacking lining in the joint capsule (synovial membrane), it becomes inflamed and swollen. This destroys the cartilage and the bone within the joint. This is called rheumatoid arthritis.
There is no specific breed or gender for a dog to have arthritis. But, this disease affects elderly dogs
Signs that Your Dog Has Arthritis
The clinical signs of arthritis appear over time. Oftentimes the symptoms of arthritis mimic other diseases. The first symptoms are often mild that even the most observant dog owners miss it. The common signs of arthritis are the following:
- Abnormal gait
- Weight gain
- Aggression when the joints are touched
- Licking or chewing at the affected joint
- Loss of appetite
- Obvious joint deformities
- Difficulty in rising
Ways to Help a Dog with Arthritis
There are several ways in which you can help to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis of your pet.
Give them a canine massage
Through massaging, you stimulate the blood flow to your dog's muscles. It is a good idea to visit a reputable canine massage therapist to massage your dog's muscles. But if you can do it on your own the better. Have a massage therapist teach you the methods to do it at home on your own.
Changes in your dog's lifestyle
Think of what would you do if you have arthritis yourself. The lifestyle changes that you would do to reduce the pain works with your dog as well. Here are some things you can do:
Orthopedic memory foam beds are every arthritic dog's dream. Make this the first one on the list to help ease their aching joints.
Climbing up and down the stair would be painful for your pet. Dog ramps and steps can help your dog climb up and down stairs.
Your dog will have trouble getting up your car. Help them with a lifting harness to assist them in getting into the car.
If your dog is overweight, slim them down to help decrease the load on his joint. Ask your vet about the ways to help your dog lose weight without the need for strenuous exercises.
Studies show that acupuncture can help reduce the inflammation that is brought about by arthritis. It uses very fine needles to help
Swimming can help strengthen your dog's muscles but is gentle on the joints. This makes it a natural and effective method to ease your dog of the symptoms of arthritis. There are centers that do canine hydrotherapy. The Natural Healing Dog Wellness in Chicagoland is a good start.
Several vitamin supplements are used to treat arthritis. These are Glucosamine, MSM, Omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin, turmeric curcumin, and Boswellia. The benefits of turmeric curcumin includes the reduction chronic inflammation and aids in weight loss. Talk to your vet about the best vitamin supplements for your dog and at what dosage.
PlushPaws is specially formulated with an extensive blend of vitamins and minerals to help not just with your dog's arthritis, but with their hip, eyes, skin, coat, teeth, brain health, immune system etc. It contains MSM, Omega-3 fatty acids, Chondroitin and many other vitamins and minerals to help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.