Arthritis is a very painful and common condition that affects older dogs. One in five adult dogs are affected by arthritis, and it has been reported to be the number one source of chronic pain that veterinarians treat every year. “Arthritis” simply means inflammation of the joints. Arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage, or lubrication (synovial fluid) of the joints breaks down.
There are two common types of dog arthritis. These types are known as degenerative and inflammatory. They are diagnosed by their causes, and both types of arthritis have basically identical symptoms. There are a number of causes of arthritis in dogs. Some common causes of arthritis include poor nutrition, obesity, trauma to the bones or joins and malformation of the dog’s bone structure.
Symptoms Of Arthritis
Weight gain/loss – Your dog may lose or gain weight when he has arthritis. He will likely sleep more than play and lose interest in activities, hence, he may gain some weight. On the other hand, he may be in pain from bending down to eat his food, so he may lose weight. Dogs may become depressed when dealing with arthritis, and this is a common cause of under/overeating.
Decreased interest in activity – Since your dog is in a significant amount of pain, he will likely not become very excited to play and run around. Your dog may want to stop and turn around during a routine walk. Even playtime may seem like a huge effort when your dog has arthritis.
Difficulty sitting or standing – Your dog may find it hard to get up and may not move right away. The first few steps may be painful and appear stiff. He may become uncomfortable while sitting or standing and shift around a lot.
Hesitancy to jump or climb stairs – Jumping up on the couch for a cuddle may not be possible when your dog is suffering from arthritis. You may notice your dog does not want to jump up and sit with you as much anymore, and will choose to rest on the floor instead. He may also be hesitant to climb any stairs around the house as well.
Sleeping often – Lethargy is very common with arthritis. Your dog may not want to move around at all, so he will sleep to ease the pain in his joints.
Favoring a limb – This is known as limb lameness, and is a common symptom of canine arthritis. It may come and go, and can affect different legs at a time. Your dog may even limp.
Mood swings – Your dog may not want to play or listen when he is called. Because of the pain, he may become easily irritated if he is forced into any activity. Keep an eye out for noises when you touch him as well.
Home Remedies For Arthritis
Control Their Weight. A healthy diet is extremely important for your dog during arthritis. Getting rid of excess weight is beneficial for your dog, as he won’t have to carry any more weight around on his joints. Fat tissues secrete hormones that cause pain.
Apply Heat on Sore Joints. Applying a warm compress to your dog’s joints will help to ease the pain. Heat will penetrate deep into the muscle to the joint for relief. Keep in mind your dog cannot get up fast, so avoid burning him with a water bottle that’s too hot.
Light Exercise. Exercise should be regular, but not too strenuous. If your dog wants to turn and go back home after a short walk, let him. The key is constant exercise, but keeping it light and short. Avoid walking when it is too cold out, as the joints will be especially sore. Treadmills are great when supervised, and swimming is a great form of exercise as well.
Keep Them Warm and Comfortable. This is especially important on cold or wet days. Cold weather may cause the joints to be especially stiff or swollen. Add an extra blanket to his bed or let him sleep inside the house. Adding an extra pillow will also help keep him comfortable and ease pain in the joints.
Raise Food and Water Dishes. This is especially important if your dog has arthritis in the neck or shoulders. Bending down may cause tension and pain, so raising his food and water dishes will help him to eat pain free. You may notice a weight loss during arthritis, and the pain to eat may be the source of this.
Slip-Free Floors. Your dog may struggle when walking on hard wood floors. If you notice this, consider getting a rug for common areas he plays or rests. Using different cleaning products on the floors may also help with slipping paws.
Massage and Acupuncture Therapy. You can do massages at home or take your dog to a professional. Massages and acupuncture provide relief for sore, inflamed joints and will help to loosen these areas up.
Always talk to your veterinarian about treatment options and home remedy options for your dog’s specific case of arthritis. For more information about dog arthritis causes, treatment options and more, please visit www.dogarthritisresource.com