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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can be used to help improve joint mobility and support better joint functioning for dogs with arthritis.
- Acupuncture isn’t just for people. This painless technique has shown some success in animals suffering from arthritis.
- 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.
- 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.