As your furry friend ages, it’s not uncommon for them to experience joint pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a common condition in dogs that can cause discomfort and limit mobility. As pet owners, it’s heartbreaking to see loyal companions struggle with daily activities. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve your dog’s discomfort and pain.
This article compiles expert tips from veterinarians to alleviate your dog’s pain and help them maintain an active and happy lifestyle.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
In the United States alone, around 14 million adult dogs are affected by osteoarthritis, according to Morris Animal Foundation. It is also reported by owners as one of their furry companions’ most significant health concerns. Therefore, pet owners must know the symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs.
These can vary but commonly include stiffness, limping, difficulty rising, and reluctance to play or exercise. As the condition progresses, dogs may become less active, show signs of pain when touched, and experience a decreased range of motion in their joints.
If you suspect your dog may have osteoarthritis, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. The veterinarian may perform a physical exam and take X-rays to assess the extent of joint damage. Blood tests may also rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
Responsible dog owners must know management strategies for osteoarthritis in dogs. It focuses on reducing pain and inflammation, improving mobility, and slowing the progression of joint degeneration. It can involve a combination of medication, exercise, weight management, physical therapy, acupuncture, and complementary therapies.
Medications for Managing Pain and Inflammation
Osteoarthritis in dogs can cause significant pain and inflammation, making it crucial to manage these symptoms to improve the dog’s quality of life. Effective pain and inflammation management in dogs with osteoarthritis heavily relies on medications.
Typically, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed by veterinarians to alleviate pain and inflammation in the affected joints. Carprofen is a commonly prescribed NSAID for dogs. Another brand name for carprofen is Carprovet, which is available through veterinary prescriptions.
Carprovet for dogs is an over-the-counter medicine that is also available in online pharmacies. While several reputable pharmacies provide carprofen, you can get it from online pet pharmacies, including PetRx, which offers free shipping on orders above $49.
Ensure that any medication purchased through PetRx or any other online pharmacy is legitimate and obtained through a valid prescription from a licensed veterinarian.
Joint Supplements and Nutraceuticals
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two supplements that promote joint health and reduce inflammation. In addition, these supplements provide building blocks for cartilage and joint fluid, which can help slow down joint degeneration and alleviate pain.
Omega-3 fatty acids are another type of supplement that can be beneficial in managing joint pain and inflammation in dogs. Omega-3s, which are abundant in fish oils, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce joint pain and stiffness in dogs with osteoarthritis.
Other nutraceuticals recommended for dogs include green-lipped mussel extract and turmeric. These supplements have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce pain and improve joint mobility.
It is an essential aspect of managing osteoarthritis in dogs. Excess weight strains the joints, leading to increased pain and inflammation. By maintaining a healthy weight, dogs can reduce joint stress and improve mobility.
A survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 87% of veterinarians believe pet obesity is a disease. However, weight loss can significantly improve the quality of life for dogs with osteoarthritis. Dogs who lost weight had improved mobility, less pain, and increased vitality compared to dogs who remained overweight.
By maintaining a healthy weight, pet owners can help improve their dog’s quality of life and reduce the impact of osteoarthritis on their joints.
Exercise and Physical Therapy
Regular exercise can help strengthen muscles, increase joint mobility, and reduce pain and inflammation. Experts from the American Kennel Club believe that low-impact activities with vet approval can be great for dogs with osteoarthritis.
Activities like swimming or walking are ideal for dogs with osteoarthritis, as they help improve joint mobility without putting excessive strain on the joints.
In addition to regular exercise, physical therapy may also be recommended for dogs with osteoarthritis. Physical therapy can include massage, hydrotherapy, and stretching exercises, which can help reduce pain and inflammation and improve joint mobility.
Acupuncture and Other Complementary Therapies
Acupuncture is a technique that entails inserting tiny needles into specific points on the body in order to activate the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. In cases such as dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, acupuncture can aid in decreasing pain and inflammation while enhancing joint mobility.
Other complementary therapies recommended for dogs with osteoarthritis include massage, chiropractic care, and herbal supplements. These therapies reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint mobility, and can be used with other treatment options for maximum benefit.
While acupuncture and other complementary therapies are generally considered safe, working with a licensed and trained practitioner is crucial to ensure that your dog receives safe and effective treatment. Your veterinarian can provide recommendations for reputable practitioners in your area.
Simple changes in your dog’s surroundings can help reduce joint stress and improve mobility for dogs with osteoarthritis. Home care can play a vital role in managing osteoarthritis in dogs. Some examples of home care measures include providing comfortable bedding, using ramps or steps to help your dog navigate stairs and furniture, and providing non-slip surfaces to prevent slips and falls.
You can also change your dog’s daily routine to reduce joint stress. For example, taking shorter, more frequent walks instead of long walks can help reduce joint stress while still providing necessary exercise. Providing interactive toys and puzzles can also help keep your dog mentally stimulated while reducing the need for physical activity.
By incorporating these home care measures into your routine, you can help improve your dog’s quality of life and reduce the impact of osteoarthritis on its joints. In addition, your veterinarian can provide additional recommendations for home care measures specific to your dog’s needs.
With the Right Approach, You Can Manage Your Dog’s Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can be challenging for dogs and their owners, but with the right management strategies, it is possible to provide relief and improve quality of life. Collaborating closely with your veterinarian can help you create a thorough treatment strategy for your pet.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that every dog is distinct, and an approach that proves effective for one may not be successful for another. However, by taking a holistic approach to managing osteoarthritis, you can find a combination of treatments that work best for your dog’s needs.