Unfortunately, not only humans can have arthritis. As you know, arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It may affect one to multiple joints. The consequences are pain, bone loss, lack of movement, and uncomfortableness.
Did you know that there’s a 65% risk that your dog could suffer from arthritis, especially if they are more than 7 years old? That doesn’t seem like a lot, but for dogs, it’s enough to start developing some arthritis signs.
Your goal as a dog owner is to know how to keep your dog healthy, and it starts by going to the vet. Having pet health insurance is the first step any pet owner must take from the beginning. Your dog health should be checked every once in a while to avoid future health problems like this one.
So without any further ado, let’s get into some of the arthritis symptoms or behaviors your dog might be having and how to care for a dog with arthritis successfully.
1. Having Back Pain
Does your dog walk differently? Perhaps hunching their back? It’s normal for older dogs to walk slower, but if you see something wrong with their back and the way they’re moving, it’s probably because they’re experiencing pain in their back and neck.
Canine arthritis can affect the bones in your dog spine, making them have some severe back pain. Besides going to the vet and medicating your dog for pain relief, you should also work on trying to make them as comfortable as possible.
Make sure they’re sleeping in a comfy yet supportive bed and try to put their water and food bowl as near as you possibly can so they don’t have to walk a lot to get there.
Limping in dogs is very common when they’re experiencing arthritis.
If you’re noticing your dog limping a lot when they get up or favoring a certain leg more than the others, it could mean their other legs are hurting when they lean on them, which can be related to arthritis, especially if they are older.
This can also happen if your dog got hurt or was in some accident. The best way you can figure out what’s causing it is to go to the vet and have your dog professionally diagnosed.
3. Getting Easily Tired
If you think about it, older dogs tend to sleep more and move less, which is understandable. After all, they’re sleeping more, so they are eating less, which means they have lower energies, and probably aren’t doing any physical activity.
But another reason why your dog might be behaving like this is because of arthritis.
One of the most common signs your dog may have arthritis is if they show less energy than they usually would, like not being able to complete their daily walks and lay on the floor until they get their energy back, which usually doesn’t happen.
If your dog appears to be slower or “lazy,” do not push him to do anything. There’s a difference between a lazy dog and a tired dog, make sure you see the signs and understand what your dog is trying to tell you.
4. Thinner legs
If your dog’s legs are becoming thinner with no apparent reason, then this could be a sign of muscle atrophy. Arthritis causes a lot of bone problems such as bone thinning, so if you happen to notice your dog moving less each day that goes by, it’s probably due to pain related to this condition.
The best thing you can do is ask your vet for some exercises or massages you can do to your dog to avoid a future malfunction of their legs.
Dogs deal with pain the same way humans do.
We tend to isolate ourselves, lay in bed all day, and overall be in a bad mood with everyone that comes our way. Dogs do the same.
Arthritis in dogs can be very painful, so the last thing they want is you to try to play with them, putting a leash on them or even petting them.
They might growl at you or even bite you if you try to touch them when they’re in pain.
For you to deal with your dog’s health problems you need to get them diagnosed first. However, f you feel like it’s impossible to transport your dog to the vet, make sure you call your vet or find another vet that does house-calls, it’s way more comfortable for the dog. Vets are trained to be able to touch dogs that show aggressiveness towards them.
6. They Can’t Do Some Of The Things They Used To Do
One of the last early signs of arthritis is your dog showing fear or doubt in doing some activities they once did.
When a dog is in pain or something is wrong with their health, they are not going to feel as confident as they once felt. This means they may be reluctant to run, jump, play fetch, and so on.
Many will still try to do such things, only to end up with even more pain.
So how can you treat your dog?
Canine arthritis treatment is mostly done through medication and physical exercise. Both should be advised by your vet, so before you make your dog run the mile, pay attention to what your vet as to say.
Depending on your dog’s age and condition, the arthritis treatment can vary. Maybe they won’t need as much medication as they need physical activity, or maybe, if your dog is very old, it might be best to take the pain away and leave them be.
In any case, you should always take the pain away first with anti-inflammatory medication and then make your dog go for a walk. Dogs need their joints moving, so make sure you take your dog for a 10 or even 5 minutes walk every day, so their condition doesn’t get any worse.
Incorporating healthy food or having a healthier dog diet could also improve your dog’s symptoms, not only because a healthy diet possesses more vitamins and nutrients, but also because they’ll tend to lose weight, which means they don’t have to put so much weight onto their weak legs.
Other treatments, such as acupuncture and laser therapy, could also have a significant impact on your dog’s health care.
Just remember that osteoarthritis in dogs is very common, and even though you do your best to maintain a healthy dog, sometimes these types of diseases are inevitable. The best you can do as a dog owner is to keep taking care of your dog and give your best to help them recover.