Happy Dog1

A dog ages and experiences health problems just like we as humans do.  If you think your dog has developed arthritis it is important to take them to your veterinarian right away for an examination.  If a dog has developed arthritis, it will not be curable.  But, fortunately, there are many ways to treat the symptoms of your dog’s arthritis, ease their pain, keep them comfortable, and help them live a full life.

The first thing that you may want to do is put your dog on arthritis medications.  There are many different medications and they each serve different purposes, as PetMD points out, “Supplements to the dog’s diet, such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate, Omega Fatty Acids, Vitamin E, Selenium, and MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) all assist in decreasing inflammation and improving the body’s ability to repair and strengthen tissues. Supplements, however, will not reverse structural changes in a joint such as torn cartilage, calcium deposits, and advanced scar tissue. Although you cannot reverse these changes, you can still treat the arthritis to make it a little easier on the dog.”

Medication is just one way to help manage your dog’s arthritis.  If your dog is overweight, your dog may benefit from going on a diet.  Not only will it be better for their overall health but by reducing their weight you reduce how much pressure their joints experience every day.  There are many dog food brands that have special dog food designed specifically for weight loss.  Additionally, just because your dog has arthritis does not mean that your dog cannot exercise.  With careful supervision and the proper choice of activities, your dog can have fun and get the exercise they need to maximize their joint health.  Any type of non-weight-bearing exercise, such as swimming, is great for your dog because they get exercise without putting any strain on their joints.  But, not all dogs love to swim and they often cannot do it year-round due to the weather.  Short walks, short hikes, playing a game of tug with a toy, and hunting for a treat are all great ways to get your dog up and moving in a safe way.  As long as you avoid bursts of running or jumping, the exercises should be safe for your dog.  Though, it is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian first to ensure the exercises are ideal for your individual dog.  Finally, after some exercise, who doesn’t love a nice gentle massage?  Your dog does too!  Give your dog a gentle dog massage to help ease their muscles to prevent pain and discomfort.  Arthritis does not mean your dog cannot live a fun, full and happy life.  With some simple adjustments, you can keep your arthritic dog as comfortable, strong, and happy as possible.