Top Five Tips To Reduce Older Dog's Arthritis Symptoms
by: Kate Rieger
For older dogs, arthritis can be a debilitating condition that affects their health, wellness, and sense of security. As your dog ages, he may begin to have trouble getting up from a sleeping position, difficulty running or climbing, and have trouble doing the things he "used to" do with ease. Older dogs with arthritis can get some relief from their symptoms, and resume some of their activities in the following ways:
1. Lose weight: For older dogs, arthritis is only one of the issues that can be triggered by an excessive amount of body fat. An overweight dog will suffer more with any arthritic pain. Help your pet lose weight by switching to a "light" dog food, and making sure he gets some gentle exercise. You should also avoid giving your senior dog table scraps—"people food" can be very calorie rich and could contribute to your dog's weight problem.
2. Supplement for joint health: Find a homeopathic supplement that's easy to give to him as well as offer support for joint mobility. A natural supplement can help by alleviating stress on his joints, and help preserve cartilage. Joint supplements are safe and effective for older dogs, and should be added to your dog's health plan as soon as you consider him an "older" dog.
3. Provide a soft bed: Older dogs with arthritis must have a clean, warm and soft bed to help him sleep. If your dog has always slept on the couch, he may not be able to climb up as easily. Put his dog bed in a warm area and make sure the batting is thick and supports his structure. Large breeds may find it easier if the bed is raised a few inches off the ground.
4. Exercise: Encourage your older dog with arthritis to take part in slower gentler exercise routines. A short walk around the block will help keep your dog fit, and help him preserve the muscles in his legs and back.
5. Offer accessibility options: Older dogs with arthritis still need to be a part of the family. If your dog likes to travel in the car, invest in a small pet ramp so he can climb inside without injuring himself. Add accessibility devices like ramps to help your dog get in the truck or on the couch. You may need to offer some support with a strap or harness while your pet is climbing up or down stairs (down can be more difficult for some dogs, as they can't control the speed of their descent).
In older dogs, arthritis is a serious condition that can affect their quality of life if left untreated. Fortunately, arthritis and its effects can generally be dealt with using the techniques above. One of the best things you can do for your older dog with arthritis is to take him to the vet for an evaluation and examination. Your vet will be able to work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your dog.