Your Guide to Dog Arthritis — Symptoms, Treatment, & Support

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Your Guide to Dog Arthritis — Symptoms, Treatment, & Support - Animals Matter, Inc.

Every pet owner hopes their canine companion will have a long, healthy, and pain-free life. And thanks to current advances in veterinary science, our furry friends are living longer than ever. According to US Today, the average pet lives 10 to 13 years. Unfortunately, just like humans, advanced age introduces new problems and medical complexity into your pet's life. One of the more prominent problems is canine arthritis.

It is estimated that somewhere around 20% of all mature dogs suffer from some form of dog arthritis, with a staggering 90% of geriatric animals feeling the condition's crippling effects. Today, we're going to explore the topic of canine arthritis, including courses of treatments and adaptive equipment such as orthopedic pet beds and dog car seats. Welcome to our quick yet comprehensive guide to canine arthritis.

What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?

First things first, Some definitions. What is canine arthritis? As with humans, arthritis is a condition which affects the animal's joints. Each of the animal's leg joints are lined with a special substance called synovial fluid. In most types of canine arthritis, the synovial fluid, which normally provides a layer of lubrication between surfaces, thins out and breaks down causing friction between the bones. In turn, the joints in question become inflamed due to a variety of reasons causing the animal stiffness, pain, and general discomfort.

Just like humans, there are multiple types of canine arthritis. Those types include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Joint damage
  • Infections
  • Degenerative joint disease (DJD)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia

By far, the most common form of arthritis found in canines is the osteoarthritis variant. Osteoarthritis occurs naturally with age for many dogs and is marked by a number of symptoms, including:

  • Pain during movement AND pain while at rest
  • Stiffness and inability to move the affected joint
  • Pain and discomfort when touched
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Feeling of friction as bones rub against one another
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Formation of jagged lumps on bone

Unlike their human counterparts, dogs are unable to vocalize their pain and discomfort. Yet their susceptibility to arthritis increases exponentially over time. The older your canine companion gets, the higher the chances are that they will develop some form of arthritic condition. Don't expect them to tell you though. They are reliant on non-verbal means to do so. Watch for your pooch pal to display any combination of the above symptoms. For example, when you let Fido out for a bathroom break, look for an irregular gait, sluggishness, and trouble moving. If you do see any of the aforementioned symptoms, don't hesitate to contact a veterinary professional to discuss courses of treatment and orthopedic interventions that are designed to improve the quality of your doggy's life.

Common Courses of Treatment

So you suspect your furry friend is having issues with arthritis. It's time to consult a professional regarding your dog's treatment options.

So what treatment methods are available to you and your precious pooch? While arthritis can certainly be life-altering for your companion, the good news is it is also highly treatable. There are a number of options available to pet owners, including:

  • The use of mild, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS)
  • Supplemental joint vitamins as well as all-natural nutraceuticals
  • Healthy lifestyle, including eating habits, stimulation, and exercise
  • Targeted physical therapy programs
  • Surgery Prescription medication

Bear in mind that each and every dog is different. What works for one canine might not work for every pooch. It is highly dependent on their breed, overall health, and lifestyle. The best strategy is to consult with your dog's veterinarian, or other pet specialist, to come up with a targeted treatment strategy that includes a mix of natural, holistic interventions, therapy, positive lifestyle changes, and medications. Surgery should always be the last option, especially for pets who've reached the geriatric stage. As the dog's age increases, their candidacy for surgery decreases.

Short of formal medical interventions, there are also a number of ways that you can improve your pet's overall quality of life, including the use of adaptive equipment such as orthopedic pet beds and the use of a mobility harness. In the next section, we'll explore more about these holistic treatment methods.

How Can You Ease Your Dog's Arthritis Pain at Home?

So you've taken the time to speak to your family's veterinarian about your pet's emerging condition, and they've given you a tailor-made course of treatment for your beloved pet. You've taken meaningful steps to alleviate your pet's pain and suffering and improve their day-to-day lives. The next step is modifying your home environment to better protect your pet's health. Below are some simple interventions that you can put into place to improve your arthritic canine's overall wellbeing.

If your aged companion is showing signs of stiffness and possible pain, begin by modifying their environment to be easier on the dog's joints. If you have a multi-level home, try to limit unsupervised access to stairways as obstacles like that can greatly exacerbate pain and inflammation.

If your dog struggles to move around the house, consider removing slippery carpets and low, unsecured bedding, or use non-stick padding to better secure hazardous items.

Another strategy is employing orthopedic dog products such as orthopedic dog beds and dog car seat. Orthopedic pet beds are higher than standard beds, ergonomic, and help the animal stand more easily. Dog car seats help preserve your pet's posture while riding in a vehicle.

Looking to help comfort your aging pet? Animal Matter, Inc. can help. Contact us today to view our inventory of specialized pet products.


Should you walk a dog with arthritis?

While each animal's level of functioning differs, given the pain and stiffness associated with canine arthritis, walks should be sparing and shorter in duration for animals with osteoarthritis.

How long can dogs live with arthritis?

Arthritis will affect your dog for the rest of its life, but it is not a terminal condition itself. A dog can live many long and happy years after diagnosis.

Where should dogs with arthritis sleep?

Your furry friend should sleep in an orthopedic dog bed specifically designed to help dogs sleep more comfortably and stand more easily.

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