Arthritis in dogs: All you need to know about dog arthritis
Arthritis is a debilitating condition in both dogs and humans. However, some breeds are more prone to this disease than others. If you notice that your pet is not moving as freely or quickly as usual, or seems to be stiff after resting or after exercise – it may have arthritis.
Even though your dog can’t tell you how it feels, there are certain warning signs that may inform you that your dog could have arthritis.
Look out for limping or stiffness in the joints after your dog has been sitting or lying down for a long period of time.
You may also notice that your pet’s joints are swollen or your dog doesn’t want to jump or climb the stairs any more, or it may find it difficult to squat or cock his leg when going to the toilet. If your dog shows any of these signs, then you must take it to the vet – you don’t want your beloved pet to be suffering.
There is no cure for canine arthritis
Just because there isn’t a cure for this condition doesn’t mean that you can’t make life easier for your dog.
The vet may well prescribe medication or supplements to reduce discomfort and help control the symptoms of arthritis and to prevent them from worsening.
In severe cases your dog may need a joint replacement operation to remedy the condition, but this type of surgery is still relatively rare. However, veterinary science is constantly evolving and there may be operations that could help your pet, so it’s worth discussing this with your vet.
Prevention of arthritis
German Shepherds, Newfoundland’s, Rottweiler’s and other large breed dogs are all prone to the condition, as are dogs that are overweight and do not have regular exercise.
However, arthritis can occur in any type of dog as it gets older – you can help prevent it or minimise the risk by making sure that your dog is not overweight and has good nutrition.
Damage such as fractures can also increase the chance of arthritis developing in later life, so if you know that your dog has injuries of this type, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for any signs of arthritis as they get older.
Making life easier for your arthritic dog
Once your pet is diagnosed with arthritis, you can always help alleviate the condition by making a few changes;
- Give your dog a softer padded bed.
- Make sure that your pet’s bed is placed far away from any damp or draughty areas.
- You could always start a massage regime for your dog; this will bring relief to the animal’s swollen joints and make it feel better in general.
If your dog is really lame, then try and keep it in a part of the house where the floor is covered by a carpet or rug. Even if you can’t heal the condition – you can make your dog’s life easier.
In some cases hydrotherapy or acupuncture can be beneficial, but these options should be discussed with your vet to ensure that they are appropriate.