10 Ways to Help an Arthritic Dog

When your dog is in pain, you want to help him feel better — fast. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do to relieve the aches that are an everyday occurrence for dogs with arthritis:

  1. Take your dog in for regular checkups so that your veterinarian can monitor your pet’s arthritis and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
  2. Getting or keeping your dog slim can help by decreasing the load on his joints. Your best bet: feeding your dog the right amount of high-quality food.
  3. Controlled exercise is a must, but make sure you carefully monitor your dog while she plays, walks, or runs. If possible, find a soft surface for activity. Your veterinarian can offer more suggestions for getting your dog moving regularly.
  4. As much as possible, keep your dog warm and dry, since cold and damp conditions can aggravate arthritis. Consider investing in a padded dog bed and apply warm compresses to painful joints.
  5. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation to a professional animal massage therapist, as massage can increase your dog’s flexibility, circulation, and sense of well-being.
  6. Pain medication, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly called NSAIDs), may help relieve pain, and disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) can also play an important role. Talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication.
  7. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can be used to help improve joint mobility and support better joint functioning for dogs with arthritis.
  8. Acupuncture isn’t just for people. This painless technique has shown some success in animals suffering from arthritis.
  9. If your dog’s arthritis is advanced, surgery may be an option. Ask your veterinarian about the pros and cons of surgery and what you can expect.
  10. Be sure to take steps to adjust his environment at home. Some things that can help an arthritic dog include: providing soft supportive bedding for his achy joints, using ramps to help a dog get in and out of a car or up to a bed, and putting down carpeting and secure rugs to help him get traction as he walks.

Remember: A low-stress environment, plenty of affection, and supportive care can help your dog feel so much better.

This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.

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