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Albuquerque VetCo

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Arthritis and Your Dog

swimming exercise for dogs with arthritisDid you know that 1 in 5 adult dogs will get arthritis? It is also the most common source of chronic pain. Dogs can’t tell you when they are in pain or what is wrong with them. This is why it is important to watch for their non verbal cues.

Signs of Arthritis:

  • Favoring a limb
  • Difficulty sitting or standing
  • Sleeping more
  • Stiff or sore joints
  • Hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased activity or less interest in play
  • Attitude or behavior changes
  • Being less alert

If your dog is demonstrating any of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks you should call your vet for an arthritis examination.

Larger breeds of dogs are more likely to suffer from arthritis and are more likely to start suffering earlier than smaller breeds.

Treatments for Arthritis

There is no cure for arthritis, in people or in pets. Thankfully there are a variety of treatment options to help your furry friend deal with the aches and pains.

  • Healthy diet and exercise to help maintain proper weight. Often as our pets get older they start to gain weight. If it is hurting them to move a lot they are more likely to gain weight. The problem with the weight gain, besides overall health, is that it puts extra strain on the joins which are already suffering from the arthritis. So in fact, it makes the arthritis worse. To help keep the arthritis pain down you need to keep their weight down as well.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): This is the most common form of drug treatment for arthritis in dogs.
  • Over-the-counter treatments, such as pills or food containing either glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids. Both have shown to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
  • Alternative MedicineAcupuncture and supplements are great alternatives to traditional medicine that have shown to be very helpful with managing arthritis.

When a dog starts having symptoms of arthritis is can be hard to get them to want to exercise. Swimming is a great exercise that is easy on their joints and will cause very little pain, plus it is fun to do. You can also help control their weight with a good healthy diet and specially designed weight loss food.

Never give your dog human medication like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. They can cause serious health complications with your dog. Always consult your vet about human medications that are right for your dog and what doses are safe to give.