Unfortunately, the problems and infirmities of old age, such as arthritis, catch up with our canine buddy as easily as they do for us. Seems like one day out of the blue, you notice that your dog has difficulty climbing stairs, or jumping off something.
If the problem persists, get your vet to make sure this is not a treatable disease, or condition that can be corrected, possibly surgically.
If it turns out this is chronic, or simply the effects of aging, there are several things you can do to assist your buddy with his discomfort.
1. Make sure your dog is not overweight. You should be able to feel the ribs. If not, put him on a diet. THIS IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do to show your love for your dog. Excess weight really increases joint problems, and makes treatment of other problems more difficult.
2. Avoid vigorous activities, such as Frisbee.
3. Get the dog on gentle exercise programs, such as swimming or walking.
4. If Rover is in pain, ask your vet if glucosamine might help. The animal brands are usually very expensive, so ask if a generic human brand can be substituted, and what dose. (You may have cut the pills to get the proper dose.)
5. Or, if that is not enough, ask the vet about using buffered aspirin.
6. Check the dog’s surroundings for comfort. Make sure he sleeps in a warm, comfortable area with his favorite bed. Avoid cold, damp areas. Also check for loose rugs, or slippery floor areas where the dog could further injure himself.
7. Surgery may be the only thing that will work, but as you know it can be very expensive.
Do your best to ease your faithful companion’s aging problems, and find the medication that works best with the least dosage. He or she has been a loyal companion and friend — return the love.