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.