Arthritis is a common ailment for older dogs. It can cause a lot of soreness, stiffness, and pain, which makes it difficult for your dog to move around. It’s hard to see your best furry friend in pain and you want to do everything you can to help make them feel better. Here are a few ways to help an arthritic dog:
1. Visit Your Vet for a Treatment Plan
After a visit to the vet for the initial diagnosis and treatment plan, you will want to take your dog in for regular checkups as well. This will help you and your vet monitor your dog’s progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan as well. Potential treatments could include canine hydrotherapy, massage, pain medication, supplements, acupuncture, or surgery. A combination of the right treatments for your dog can help ease the pain caused by arthritis and maybe even help them improve.
2. Make Adjustments at Home
Your home should be a safe haven for your dog. If they’re suffering from arthritis, they will have some trouble getting around. Thankfully, you can make some adjustments at home to help them be more comfortable. You can prep your house for an arthritic dog by getting them soft and supportive bedding, installing ramps to help them get up or down without jumping, putting down secure rugs to help them get a footing on smooth floors, and more.
3. Focus on the Right Diet and Controlled Exercise
Although weight loss due to inactivity can be a side effect of arthritis in dogs, weight gain can as well and can cause further stress on their joints. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can help decrease the load on their weakened and sore joints. Start by feeding them the right diet, which is the right amount of high-quality dog food for their size and needs. You may be tempted to give your dog more treats and table scraps to help them feel better, but this is often counterproductive. It’s best to avoid table scraps and give out treats sparingly.
Controlled exercise is also important for arthritic dogs. You want to get them moving regularly, but you also want to make sure they’re not in pain and you don’t cause further damage to their joints. Using a soft surface for playtime can help reduce the impact on your dog’s joints as they run and play. If your dog will tolerate water and enjoys swimming, you can plan some time for exercise in the water for a no-impact workout that is easier on their joints.
If you do decide to go swimming with your dog, make sure you bring along plenty of towels, plan to do it on warmer days, and think about bringing a heat source as well. Conditions that are cold and damp can aggravate your dog’s arthritis, so you want to make sure the environment is warm and that you are gently drying off your dog as much as possible after a swim. No matter what you end up doing, you want to monitor your dog carefully while they are exercising to ensure they’re not overworking their joints. If you find yourself stuck in ideas to get your dog moving safely, you can ask your vet for some more recommendations.
It’s never a good time when you know your dog is in pain. With these ways to help an arthritic dog, you can help ease their pain and help them feel better.