Arthritis simply means inflammation of the joints. Arthritis is when the protective cartilage or synovial fluid in the joints breaks down. There is no cure for arthritis, but you can help to manage it.
Some affected areas include the hips, kneecaps, wrists, shoulders, neck and elbows. Some breeds are more susceptible to arthritis than others.
Most cases of arthritis simply come from old age, and the wear and tear throughout your dog’s life. However, some common causes of arthritis include poor nutrition, obesity, trauma or damage to the bones or joints, or malformation of a dog’s bone structure.
The overall outcome of these factors is inflammation of the joints and irritated nerve endings. These will show as stiffness, pain and loss of energy for every day activities.
Some symptoms to look out for when dealing with dog arthritis are:
- Sleeping often - Difficulty in standing, walking or sitting - Hesitancy to jump up or climb stairs - Decreased interest in everyday activities. - Favoring a limb
If you notice any of these symptoms, your dog may have arthritis. Once arthritis has been properly diagnosed, there are a number of home remedies available to help ease the pain your dogʼs joints.
Home Remedies for Dog Arthritis
Control Their Weight. A healthy diet is extremely important for your dog during arthritis. Getting rid of excess weight is beneficial for your dog, as he wonʼt have to carry any more weight around on his joints. Fat tissues secrete hormones that cause pain.
Apply Heat on Sore Joints. Applying a warm compress to your dogʼs joints will help to ease the pain. Heat will penetrate deep into the muscle to the joint for relief. Keep in mind your dog cannot get up fast, so avoid burning him with a water bottle thatʼs too hot.
Light Exercise. Exercise should be regular, but not too strenuous. If your dog wants to turn and go back home after a short walk, let him. The key is constant exercise, but keeping it light and short. Avoid walking when it is too cold out, as the joints will be especially sore. Treadmills are great when supervised, and swimming is a great form of exercise as well.
Keep Them Warm and Comfortable. This is especially important on cold or wet days. Cold weather may cause the joints to be especially stiff or swollen. Add an extra blanket to his bed or let him sleep inside the house. Adding an extra pillow will also help keep him comfortable and ease pain in the joints.
Raise Food and Water Dishes. This is especially important if your dog has arthritis in the neck or shoulders. Bending down may cause tension and pain, so raising his food and water dishes will help him to eat pain free. You may notice a weight loss during arthritis, and the pain to eat may be the source of this.
Slip-Free Floors. Your dog may struggle when walking on hard wood floors. If you notice this, consider getting a rug for common areas he plays or rests. Using different cleaning products on the floors may also help with slipping paws.
Massage and Acupuncture Therapy. You can do massages at home or take your dog to a professional. Massages and acupuncture provide relief for sore, inflamed joints and will help to loosen these areas up.
Keeping your dog comfortable during his time with arthritis will be extremely beneficial. You can also talk to your veterinarian about supplements and treatment options available for your dogʼs case of arthritis.