Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative joint disease that affects humans and animals, including dogs. While you cannot cure this condition, it can be managed and alleviated to improve the quality of life of your pets. As responsible pet owners, it is necessary to recognize the signs of osteoarthritis in your dogs and take action to relieve them from pain and discomfort.
This article aims to educate around 69 million dog owners in the US about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for osteoarthritis in dogs. From proper nutrition and exercise to medications and supplements, we have outlined a comprehensive guide to managing osteoarthritis in dogs and helping them live a comfortable life.
Following the tips and advice covered in this article, pet owners can ensure that their furry friends receive the care and attention they need to manage osteoarthritis and enjoy a better quality of life.
Regular exercise is an essential component of managing osteoarthritis in dogs. While asking a dog with joint pain to exercise may seem counterintuitive, a regular exercise routine can help improve joint mobility and reduce pain. In addition, low-impact exercises such as short walks, gentle play, and swimming can help strengthen the muscles around the joints and increase flexibility.
The intensity and duration of exercise should be gradually increased over time, and owners should monitor their dog’s response to exercise. Adjust the routine accordingly if a dog shows signs of discomfort or pain during or after exercise. Additionally, exercise should be tailored to a dog’s individual needs, considering their age, weight, and overall health status.
2. Consider NSAID Medicines
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a commonly prescribed treatment for dogs with osteoarthritis. These drugs work by reducing inflammation and providing pain relief to dogs with joint pain. NSAIDs can be an effective option for managing osteoarthritis symptoms in dogs, but it is necessary to use them under the guidance of a veterinarian.
One commonly prescribed NSAID for dogs with osteoarthritis is Rimadyl. Rimadyl, also known as carprofen, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in dogs. Rimadyl for dogs works by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that causes inflammation and pain.
Long-term NSAIDs use may negatively affect a dog’s liver, kidneys, or gastrointestinal system. For this reason, it is crucial to use NSAIDs only under the guidance of a veterinarian and follow their recommended dosage and administration guidelines.
3. Massage Your Dog’s Joints and Muscles Regularly
Massaging your dog can also promote relaxation and improve its overall well-being. Regular massage is a great way to help manage osteoarthritis in dogs. Massaging your dog’s joints and muscles can help increase blood flow to affected areas, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain.
To massage your dog, apply gentle pressure to the affected joint or muscle using circular motions or light stroking. You can also use your fingertips or a soft-bristled brush to massage your dog’s coat, which can help stimulate circulation and promote relaxation.
Be gentle and slow when massaging your dog, as too much pressure or vigorous movements can cause discomfort or even injury. You should also be attentive to your dog’s response to the massage and stop immediately if they seem uncomfortable or in pain.
4. Try Nutritional Supplements
Some supplements can help reduce inflammation, promote joint health, and relieve pain associated with the condition. Some of the most commonly used supplements for dogs with osteoarthritis include glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, and turmeric. Glucosamine and chondroitin also are two commonly used supplements.
According to Canine Arthritis Resource and Education, Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can naturally help reduce inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis. In addition, these fatty acids can help reduce joint pain and stiffness and promote overall joint health. Thus, it’s good to add these supplements to your dog’s diet to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Turmeric, a spice commonly used in cooking, has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Adding turmeric to a dog’s diet may help reduce joint inflammation and pain.
However, it is crucial to discuss the use of nutritional supplements usage with a veterinarian. The veterinarian can recommend appropriate supplements, dosages, and safe and effective brands for a dog’s specific needs. Additionally, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosages and monitor the dog’s response to the supplements.
5. Have Your Vet Check for Other Causes of Pain
Osteoarthritis is a common cause of pain and stiffness in dogs, and approximately 25% of their population is affected by osteoarthritis, as stated by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
However, it is not the only reason for pain. Other conditions, such as hip dysplasia, intervertebral disc disease, and cancer, can also cause similar symptoms. Therefore, it is necessary to have a veterinarian check for other causes of pain before beginning a treatment plan for osteoarthritis.
A veterinarian can perform a physical examination, take X-rays, and perform other diagnostic tests to identify the cause of a dog’s pain. They can also guide appropriate treatment options based on the underlying condition. Treating the underlying cause of the pain can lead to more effective pain management and improved quality of life for the dog.
6. Try Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two dietary supplements commonly used to manage osteoarthritis in dogs. Both supplements are believed to help support joint health and reduce inflammation, which can help alleviate pain and stiffness associated with the condition.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar naturally found in the body and is a building block for the cartilage that cushions joints. Chondroitin is a complex sugar that helps keep cartilage healthy by drawing water into the joint, providing shock absorption and lubrication.
Both supplements work by supporting the health and function of the joints, helping to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. They may also provide some relief from joint pain and stiffness.
Proactive Steps are Necessary for Dog Owners to Help Their Pet Live a Comfortable Life
Osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects many dogs and can cause significant pain and discomfort. However, there are several ways that pet owners can help manage their dog’s symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Working closely with a veterinarian to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your dog’s specific needs is crucial. In addition, regular check-ups with a vet can help ensure that your dog’s pain is well-managed and that any changes in their condition are promptly addressed.
Pet owners can help their furry friends live happier, healthier lives for many years by taking proactive steps to manage osteoarthritis in dogs.