As your dog gets older, you may notice them slowing down or experiencing some trouble getting around. Arthritis is a common problem that occurs when a dog ages and can significantly affect your pet’s daily life.
While medication and other treatments can help, there are also some great ways you can improve your dog’s comfort and address their condition at home.
In this article, I’ll discuss some of the best ways you can help your dog’s arthritis at home and how to keep them comfortable.
Canine arthritis is a painful condition caused by the inflammation and degeneration of your pet’s joints. Healthy joints have a cushiony layer of cartilage that protects the bones and prevents friction as your dog moves.
However, as your dog ages, the cartilage in their joints can start to deteriorate.
Without the protective layer of cartilage, the bones inside the joint will start to rub together. This friction can be quite painful and cause significant inflammation.
Over time, dogs often experience pain and a decreased range of motion as a result of these joint changes.
Luckily, arthritis is a condition that is easily diagnosed with a physical exam and careful observation. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend X-rays to rule out other conditions or determine the amount of joint damage.
The symptoms associated with arthritis can vary and are usually dependent on the severity of the disease. Pets with arthritis often are less interested in physical activity and avoid jumping or playing.
In some cases, you may even notice your pet seems more irritable or has a sudden change in behavior.
Helping Your Dog at Home
If you suspect your dog is struggling with arthritis, there are some ways that you can help. Below are my top tips for helping your dog at home and preventing additional injury.
1. Maintain Your Pet’s Weight
The first step in keeping your dog comfortable is making sure they are an appropriate weight. Excess weight puts significant strain on your dog’s joints and can make their condition more painful.
Because of this, it’s important to monitor their weight closely and consider a weight loss plan if necessary.
Remember that weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s important to be patient and continue to make healthy choices for your pet. Over time you should notice the weight coming off, and your dog’s comfort level start to improve.
2. Consider a Joint Supplement
Another important factor in keeping your dog comfortable is improving their joint health. Joint supplements can help reduce inflammation and slow the progression of your dog’s arthritis.
Unlike many anti-inflammatory medications, joint supplements are safe for long-term use and cause little to no side effects.
For dogs at risk of developing arthritis, joint supplements can even be used as part of a preventative plan. If you have a large or giant breed dog, consider starting them on a joint supplement early.
According to research studies, chondroitin and glucosamine provide the most benefit for dogs with arthritis. Green-lipped mussel (GLM) is another joint supplement that can provide significant benefits.
GLM contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect your dog’s joint function.
When purchasing a joint supplement for your dog, pay close attention to the ingredients and manufacturer’s quality standards. Unfortunately, there is very little regulation when it comes to pet supplements.
As a result, it’s essential to do your research and pick a reputable product to meet your pet’s needs. You can also consult your veterinarian to discuss the best options for your pet and determine an appropriate dose.
3. Consider an Orthopedic Bed
For many dogs with arthritis, it can be difficult to get comfortable. Fluffy beds don’t provide enough support, and laying on the hard floor can make their aches and pains worse.
If your dog is experiencing these issues, consider investing in an orthopedic bed for dogs.
Orthopedic dog beds are a great way to improve your dog’s comfort and provide additional support for their aging joints. The bed’s design helps to evenly distribute your pet’s weight and keep their body in proper alignment.
4. Avoid Slippery Surfaces
Hardwood and tile floors can be hard on any dog. These surfaces provide very little traction and can cause your pet to slip and slide. This can be dangerous for older dogs and can cause significant pain for those struggling with arthritis.
When possible, try to keep your dog away from slippery surfaces. Carpet is much easier for your dog to walk on and is less likely to cause injury. Additionally, carpet provides some cushioning that can lessen the stress on your dog’s joints.
If you have tile or wood floors throughout your home, rugs can be a great way to keep your pet safe. A large area rug or runner can provide some additional traction and keep your pet from struggling.
Keep in mind that rugs can slip on hard surfaces, so consider using some adhesive backing to keep your rugs in place.
When to Seek Additional Care
While there are many steps you can take to keep your dog comfortable, some dogs may require additional care. If your dog’s discomfort continues to increase, consider scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s options.
They can provide additional resources to help manage your dog’s pain and make recommendations based on the severity of your dog’s condition.
Some dogs may require medication to get their pain under control. However, that doesn’t mean your efforts at home aren’t important.
Caring for your dog’s arthritis requires a multi-faceted approach. Taking the necessary steps at home is critical in keeping your pet comfortable and improving their daily life.
Arthritis is a debilitating and painful condition that affects many dogs. Luckily, there are simple ways you can help improve your dog’s comfort and care for their arthritis at home.
Investing in an orthopedic bed and avoiding slippery surfaces can improve your pet’s comfort and prevent additional injuries.
Additionally, maintaining your pet’s weight and using nutritional supplements can improve joint health and slow the progression of the disease.
It’s essential to remember that some dogs may need additional care to manage their pain. If you have concerns about your pet’s comfort or additional questions about arthritis treatment, I recommend scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian.
I hope these tips will help keep your dog comfortable and give you some useful ideas to help your aging friend.