My friend, Joy, has a dog that is older and has developed arthritis. This article is to help her cope with her dog that has aged a lot in the last year.
As most of us know, arthritis is the inflammation or swelling in a joint in pets, mostly older ones. The cause can be abnormal bone or joint development, instability of the surrounding ligaments and tendons, damage or injury to the joint, an infection, or injury caused by the immune system. While anti-inflammatory medicines are popular treatments for arthritis, another approach involves protecting the cartilage in the joint.
Here are some tips that may help an arthritic dog:
A Soft Bed
A soft bed can help support your dog’s bones and joints, making your dog more comfortable. This can be especially important in thin dogs whose bony bodies are more likely to rub on hard surfaces. Some beds are made especially for dogs with arthritis, such as waterbeds and beds with plenty of extra cushion.
Ramps or Cubes
Stairs and furniture can become difficult obstacles for your aging companion. Ramps or specially designed cubes can help older dogs climb stairs, get into or out of bed or get in and out of your vehicle. Ramps can be made of plastic or wood and are available from many pet catalogs. A new product called “Puppy Stairs” are soft modular cubes that fit together in combinations that allow your pets to climb up or down from beds or sofas.
Various medications are available that can help your dog feel better. Drugs classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can work to help suppress the inflammation. Think of these as Doggy Aleve and always get a recommendation from a Veterinarian.
Peace & Quiet
As your dog ages, he may not be as tolerant or as patient as he used to be. Sore joints make it difficult for your pet to enjoy playing. You should try to supervise your dog’s play time and consider keeping your dog away from very young children. Even parties and holiday time can be distressing for an arthritic dog. He may want to join in the festivities regardless of the discomfort. So, just keep an eye on him or her.
Weight Control and Diet
Arthritis is more of a problem in obese pets. Weight loss can help by reducing the workload on the bones and joints. In addition to basic weight loss, diets formulated for pets with arthritis may be beneficial in some dogs. Your veterinarian can give you some recommended foods.
Modest daily exercise can help some dogs. Special care is needed, so it is important to first see your veterinarian, who can recommend an appropriate exercise program. Exercise can strengthen the muscles and ligaments and reduce the potential risk of injury.
Extra Time – be patient
It is important that you are patient with a dog that has arthritis. It often takes them extra time to walk, climb stairs or get in and out of the car. You should help and support them if needed or just give them extra time to get around.
I hope these tips help!
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