There are some affiliate links below, but they are all products I highly recommend. For more info, view my disclosure here.
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.
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.
Symptoms vary depending on which joint is 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
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 seniors. 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. These help the dog’s cartilage stay healthy, which is important because it reduces the risk of 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. It 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 might need special exercise to help them move around more easily.
Your 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.
If you have a pool, swimming is one of the best activities for dogs with arthritis. The buoyancy of being in the water combined with the light resistance of water is great!
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 their arthritis pain and discomfort.
Some helpful supplements we’ve used for dogs with arthritis:
Fish Oil – This is my #1 recommendation! Fish oil has SO many benefits, from reducing inflammation and lubricating joints, to helping keep a shiny coat and soothing skin allergies. 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.
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.