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Arthritis in dogs is a painful ailment that can be caused by many factors, including genetics, ageing, obesity, or sudden changes in the weather. The good news is that there are several ways you can help your dog with this crippling disease and the chronic pain it brings.
Arthritis in dogs is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. It can also cause pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Dogs typically experience symptoms between the ages of nine and 14 years old, and it’s important for dog owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
Symptoms vary depending on which of your dog’s joints are affected, but it typically involves both front or back legs. Some symptoms may include limping, difficulty jumping up or down stairs, or favoring of certain legs.
Causes of Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis can be caused by a number of factors which have been listed below:
- Injuries to the ligaments or cartilage
- Decreased mobility in a joint due to an injury or an illness
- Development of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis
- Bone overgrowth from injury, infection, or tumor near a joint
- Sudden weight gain
- Overuse of a joint
- Congenital factors such as hip dysplasia
What Are The Symptoms of Arthritis In Dogs
Are you noticing that your dog is favoring one paw? Maybe he seems a little lethargic or has trouble walking. If you’re noticing these or any other symptoms of arthritis in your dog, it’s time to take action.
The symptoms of arthritis in dogs can vary, but they generally include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. Your dog may also have trouble walking, moving his neck, or chewing.
Common Arthritis Symptoms in Dogs
- Hesitant to move
- Avoids being touched
- Some dogs may exhibit aggressive behavior towards other animals or humans.
- Lameness or stiffness
- Yelping when moving painful arthritic joints
- Swelling in joints
How To Keep Your Dog’s Joints Healthy
As a pet parent, your responsibility is to keep your dog happy and healthy. One of the most common reasons for joint pain in dogs is arthritis which affects over 70% of all dogs by the time they are 10 years old.
There are three major types of arthritis in dogs- osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and arthritis caused by hip dysplasia.
Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage in the joints- this is what keeps our bones from rubbing against each other when we move around.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of synovial tissue which can lead to painful swelling in joints and bone loss. Rheumatoid arthritis is relatively rare in dogs, but can occur in small breed dogs and greyhounds.
Hip dysplasia is usually caused by genetics but it can also be caused by environmental factors like obesity or extreme changes in temperature or activity level.
Dog Foods That are Best For Joint Health
Joint health problems are common among dogs, especially for older dogs. Ailed joints can lead to mobility problems which can cause pain and discomfort.
The best food for joints in dogs are those that have glucosamine, chondroitin, Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins.
There are lots of dog foods that are specially made for joint health, so if you have an arthritic dog it may be a good option. These help the dog’s cartilage stay healthy, which is important because it reduces the risk of canine arthritis or other joint problems later on in life.
When our Ginger was getting older, we started giving her Purina ProPlan Focus because it has glucosamine and Omega-3.
We also made sure to add fish oil to her meals, as well as treating her to a glucosamine supplement daily to keep our senior dog moving with as healthy joints as possible. Joint supplements plus regular exercise (even just a walk around our large yard) kept her joints nice and healthy until she was 15 years old!
Exercises That Keep Your Dog’s Joints Healthy
The exercises you do with your dog will affect their joints in different ways. Exercise can help keep their joints healthy and prevent osteoarthritis, but it also works the muscles in the body and improves cardiovascular health.
Exercise is important for your dog’s hips, knees, spine, and shoulders because these are where they carry most of their weight. Dogs with arthritis and joint damage might need special exercise to help them move around more easily, and extra support to keep them at a healthy weight.
Your dog’s veterinarian will be able to advise you on what exercises are best for your pet’s age and fitness level, but some generally beneficial exercises that can be done at home include walking on a leash, swimming, and nose work.
They can also work with you on a treatment plan, physical therapy, and possibly prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other form of pain medication to improve their quality of life on extra painful days.
If you have a pool, swimming is one of the best low-impact exercise activities for dogs with arthritis. The buoyancy of being in the water combined with the light resistance of water is a great way to exercise without overexertion!
The Best Supplements For Dogs With Arthritis
As with any health issue, it’s important to speak to your vet about what treatment options may be available for your dog. They will be able to give you advice on what might help ease your dog’s pain and discomfort.
Some helpful natural supplement options we’ve used for dogs with arthritis:
Fish Oil – This is my #1 recommendation! Fish oil has SO many benefits, from reducing joint inflammation and lubricating joints, to helping keep a shiny coat and soothing skin allergies. The omega-3 fatty acids are so beneficial! It can even help reduce shedding! Check out this post for even more benefits of fish oil.
Glucosamine – This is naturally found in healthy cartilage, but production slows down as your dog ages. Supplements can help rebuild the cartilage, which improves joint function and helps them be more active. We love Nutri-vet, which contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM in one. Plus Roxy & Rico love it!
Chondroitin – Like glucosamine, chondroitin is found in the body naturally. When they are paired together, it has an even more beneficial effect on your dog’s joints and movement.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) – MSM is an organic sulfur compound that has a ton of benefits! It helps repel parasites, minimizes inflammation, and can help with allergies and neurological disorders.
Super Snouts Joint Power 100% Green Lipped Mussels for Dogs & Cats – Dog Joint Supplement Powder Supports Joints, Tendons, Ligaments (5.29 oz)
- NEW ZEALAND GREEN LIPPED MUSSEL – NO FILLERS – The Green Lipped Mussels in our Joint Power are cold processed to preserve nutrients and lipid stabilized to protect the integrity of the shelf life.
- BOOST TO MOBILITY – Joint Power helps to support the structural integrity of joints,
Green Lipped Mussel – This is an anti-inflammatory that is a wonderful source of vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and amino acids. It’s also full of Omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and many more nutrients.
Turmeric – So many diseases are caused by inflammation. Turmeric can play an important role due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s extremely helpful for treating dogs with stiff joints and can even work better than aspirin! Zesty Paws is a great brand to try!
Knox gelatin – Gelatin contains collagen, which is what the body uses to lubricate bones and joints. Adding Knox gelatin to your dog’s diet can help relieve joint pain and improve their activity levels; just sprinkle a teaspoon onto their food.
These tips will help your dog have a happy, comfortable life as they get older.