Helping Soothe Your Senior Dog’s Aching Joints

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Arthritis, also called as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, is found to be one of the most widespread health issues in adult dogs. As a matter of fact, The Arthritis Foundation revealed that one in every five dogs in the US is affected by this chronic pain condition. So, as a dog owner, you will most likely have to deal with arthritis someday. Arthritis normally begins due various reasons like genetics and poor physical activities during the pet’s younger days. However, the most widely held cause is the eventual normal wear and tear of Fido’s joints over the years. Yes, dogs’ joints simply deteriorate over time.

First Telltale Signs of Arthritis

The most obvious indicator of joint problem in older pooches is a reluctance to move around. As your dog ages, he becomes more reluctant to run and play for lengthy periods of time. Your dog may refuse to bound up and down the stairs like he used to, and when he rises in the morning, he may appear stiff and may even start to limp. These changes normally take place very gradually. No wonder, it’s almost very easy for most owners to ignore the symptoms and even not notice them earlier till the condition is already quite advanced.

How to Help Fido Deal with Joint Pain

As a responsible dog owner, it is your duty to keep your pet healthy and happy. While arthritis in older dogs may eventually become chronic, there are several things that you can do to help ease your pooch’s pain.

· Consult your veterinarian. The very first thing to do is take a trip to your vet. Let him examine your pooch to rule out any underlying medical problem such as broken bone, torn ligament, or cancer that could be causing Fido pain. By conducting several diagnostic procedures, your vet will find out the real cause and decide on the most effective management strategy. If your dog suffers from arthritis or a similar form of chronic joint pain, your vet will likely recommend pain medication.
· Provide your dog a healthy diet and sufficient exercise. Most dogs tend to gain weight as they grow older. Since this extra baggage can result in even more stress on your senior dog’s joints, your dog should be on a good healthy diet as well as getting adequate exercise. Try consulting your vet for any recommendation on specific foods that are especially made for both joint care as well as pain management. In addition, although your dog is already slowing down, remember that he still needs exercise to keep him fit. A nice walk in the park or swimming can be both therapeutic.
· Other dog care essentials. Massage and stretching can also be incorporated to help relieve your pooch’s joint pain. You can try rubbing Fido’s muscles gently by yourself or you can take him to an expert dog massage therapist. Aside from this, you may also consider getting an orthopedic bed that comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Finally, if going up and down the stairs becomes too difficult for your senior dog, help him get things easier by building a special ramp and other assistive device alternatives.

With proper care and a healthy diet, your arthritic senior dog can have a wonderful, pain-free life.

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


  1. There are other options besides the pharmaceuticals and dangerous chemicals! One of them that is based on an ingredient that many humans are taking for arthritis and other ailments our pets also suffer from is Fucopia. It is all natural, 100% organic with no side effects, only beneficial effects that really help older pets live more comfortably.

  2. This must be a common question; I can’t afford the cost of Rimadyl or the generic forms. Since we can’t use Ibuprofen type products over the counter, what can I use?
    Thank You!

  3. I have been using a chelated mineral supplement from a company known as Build A Better Dog. Works wonders in about two weeks. Got my eight year old German Shepherd that couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs up and jumping on our 40 some inch high bed.

  4. Once the regular pain meds are no longer adequate, when life is so painfull for your dog the only new/old med to make a major impact on pain is methadone. We were going to euthaniize our healthy but totally overcome by hip dyaplasia, systemic arthritis eight year old female tibetan mastiff. She had hip replacement surgery at age three but could no longer get up steps and cried out in pain regularly,mshe had essentially become bedbound.
    She weights 110 lbs is on 40 mg per day and now walks two miles per day and goes up and down stairs like a teenager. if it was not for the help of for our very smart and devoted vet our girl would have been put down a few months ago.
    Ask and consult a pain management specialist usually a anathesist, or just a good and caring general vet.
    . Cost of metthadone is about 20$ per month.
    Best to you all,

  5. Good day! I know this is kinda off topic however
    , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
    My site discusses a lot of the same topics as
    yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you are interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  6. My vet recommended Adequan injections for my lab’s arthritis. I get it at Costco and go to the vet for the injection. They get a shot every 3-4 days while in the “build-up” phase (usually 8-9 injections) and then about once a month or as needed. This made a huge difference. He also gets Cosequin DS Plus and Rimadyl once a day.The Adequan made such a difference he is off the tramadol

  7. Our 7 year old Catahoula has been on Rimadyl for a year; his limp is getting worse in the morning and we cannot up the Rimadyl because it affects his liver. Taking Finnegan to see his doc tomorrow; we’ll probably add Tramadol. But I’m wondering what I can do holistically. My arthritis usually feels better the day after I eat avocado–should I put avocado oil on his food? He eats a very, very high quality food supplemented with green beans, and loves to snack on fruits and veggies.

    Any recommendations?

    • My 9 yo labby cannot take Rimadyl due to the impacts of it on her liver. Our vet recommended we take her to a holistic vet for acupuncture and chiropractice adjustment. This has helped her tremendously. Bear in mind, it is not a cure, but my girl has gotten quite a bit of relief. (Dasuquin w/ MSM is a great supplement, too.)

    • My 12 yr. old lab is on Meloxicam 7.5mg. JHe takes 1/2 pill in the morn. This med is prescribed to people with arthritis. Tucker is more active , does stairs better and gets around much better. And this med is much easier on his liver. Good luck

  8. If you have stairs and can walk backwards down them, I used to put a harness on my 15 year old beagle/shar-pei rescue dog and hold his harness. I did this for the last 1-2 years of his life (miss you buddy). It let him know he was safe going down and helped relieve the stress. I also walked up behind him holding his rump above his tail. It gave him support going up.

    Massaging his joints really helped too. Although I started his before he got arthritis so he knew it helped him before it got sore.

  9. We took our Iclandic Sheepdog mix to the vet and he prescribed glucosamine same thing we use for our joint pain, plus my husband did build her a handicapp ramp and she uses it very gratefully. She didn’t at first, we had to help her develop a habit, but she soon saw the benefit of it. Her’s a smart girl.

    • Make sure you are using Glucosamine HCl and NOT glucosamine sulphate. I buy Glucosamine HCl at Walmart for our 13 yr old Australian Shep. mix. Sulphate is not recommended for dogs.

    • We have 2 dogs that suffer with joint pain we also give them Glucosamine sulfate complex 1000 mixed in with their food and not had any problems since and they are very cheap from chemist warehouse great things .

    • Usually around 7-8 they are entering their senior years! The vet I worked for for years used to start doing yearly blood work on dogs starting at 7. When I say blood work I mean General screen type blood work as opposed to just doing certain tests every year like heartworm tests!

  10. So we bought a ramp to help Mikey up the stairs to our motorhome, we carpeted it so he won’t slip, and it takes two of us to get him to use it. The lunatic tries to jump up from the side. But we’re working on it.

  11. So we bought a ramp to help Mikey up the stairs to our motorhome, we carpeted it so he wouldn’t slip, and it takes two of us to get him to use it. The lunatic tries to jump up from the side. But we’re working on it.

    • I have dachshunds and of course they did the same thing at first. Also “how far do I have to jump to get past that stupid stair thing and get to the floor from the bed?” And then one of them was not willing to use the stairs at all. I started putting treats on the floor next to the first step, then on the first step, then on the next and so forth until they had to go up all the steps to get the treats on the couch or bed. It worked! Good luck with Mikey. He may decide to use the stairs after showing off his macho abilities for a bit first.