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Monday, August 11, 2014

9 Ways To Help Your Arthritic Dog

By:  Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care - Round Lake, IL

As the President/Owner of Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care - Round Lake, IL, we do take care of senior dogs from time to time.   Some of these dogs do show signs of arthritis so we take extra special care of them.

Arthritis in a dog is not uncommon.  Canine arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, is characterized by pain and inflammation in a dog’s joints. Arthritis is caused by the breaking down of smooth cartilage that covers and protects the bones that form a joint. Once the bones are exposed, painful wear and tear can occur.

I personally use a "Help Em Up" harness for my dog Sebastian.  For more information about this harness please go to:  http://helpemup.com.

Some of the most common symptoms of arthritis are:
  • Walk stiffly
  • Limp or favor certain limbs
  • Show stiffness or discomfort when getting up from a lying-down position
  • Display lameness in certain limbs
  • Appear to have stiff, swollen or sore joints
  • Seem to experience pain when touched in certain areas
  • Seem to find certain positions uncomfortable or painful
  • Suffer loss of flexibility in their joints
  • Be hesitant to jump, run or climb stairs

There are ways to help your dog with arthritis.  First things first, make sure you take your dog to your veterinarian to diagnose and help treat them.

Below are 9 ways you can help your arthritic dog at home:
  1. Getting or keeping your at their correct weight can help by decreasing the load on his joints. Your best bet: feeding your dog the right amount of high-quality food.
  2. Controlled exercise is a must, but make sure you carefully monitor your dog while he/she plays, walks, or runs. If possible, find a soft surface for activity.
  3. As much as possible, keep your dog warm and dry, since cold and damp conditions can aggravate arthritis. Consider investing in a padded dog bed and apply warm compresses to painful joints.
  4. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation to a professional animal massage therapist, as massage can increase your dog’s flexibility, circulation, and sense of well-being.
  5. Pain medication, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve pain, and disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs can also play an important role. Talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication.
  6. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can be used to help improve joint mobility and support better joint functioning for dogs with arthritis.
  7. Acupuncture isn’t just for people. This painless technique has shown some success in animals suffering from arthritis.
  8. If your dog’s arthritis is advanced, surgery may be an option. Ask your veterinarian about the pros and cons of surgery and what you can expect.
  9. Be sure to take steps to adjust his environment at home. Some things that can help an arthritic dog include: providing soft supportive bedding for his achy joints, using ramps to help a dog get in and out of a car or up to a bed, and putting down carpeting and secure rugs to help him get traction as he walks.  I personally use a harness for my dog which helps in lifting him up from his shoulders or his hind end.
Dogs get older too just like we do.  Give them lots of affection and supportive care and he/she will feel so much better.

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