Dogs are naturally playful, usually full of energy and with a tendency to love to run and jump. That’s just the way we love them. It is a shame however, when this love of exercise and fun-loving spirit is dampened by pain. At first, it would be easy to think ‘my dog has less energy because he’s getting older now’. But is that really the case? Could there be an underlying cause that has been missed and can be treated??
This article will help us understand what are the warning signs, treatment options and in short, all we NEED to know about dog arthritis so we can act fast to help our faithful friends feel better.
Warning Signs of Dog Arthritis
Many dog owners may be completely unaware that their dog is already starting with signs of arthritis. Why? One of the last signs of arthritis is pain and stiffness. So how can we tell our dog has the beginnings of arthritis problems? The answer is, being attentive to changes.
It is very tricky to know what can be wrong with Bigfoot early on because the signs are not always obvious or can also be signs of other problems. However, if you see your dog cannot manage to run with you as much as before, or has trouble or stops jumping up or walking up the stairs… there are good chances arthritis has set.
As you now know, pain and lameness or limping, are usually some of the last warning signs. So, if at all possible, it’s good to always keep an eye out for changes in your dog’s habits, this is their way of ‘telling’ us something is wrong.
Different Types of Dog Arthritis
We all know more or less what arthritis is, but why do we say there are different types? And why is it important we know the difference?
Developmental problems or joint problems in dogs usually result in elbow or hip dysplasia due to the fact that the joint may not have developed correctly. It is common to see these side effects in breeds like German Shepherds or other larger breeds, the mal formation of the hip sockets causes a lot of pain and discomfort in their older years.
On the other hand, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and others like this, attack the joint tissue slowly, resulting in pain and inflammation. This degenerative condition is the most common type of arthritis. Most of our beloved dogs end up suffering from this type of arthritis later on in their lives. Yet, hope is not lost. We do not have to helplessly stand by and watch our pets suffer.
Helping Your Dog Avoid Arthritis Pain
The big question here is, can arthritis be prevented? In a sense we can do all we can to keep the joints healthy and strong for as long as possible. There are now many dog food companies with special foods that include additive such as fish oils and glucosamine. Also a great supplement for joint health is Sili-Mer G5, this will strengthen the joints and tissues. Another big factor in prevention is weight management. The less excess weight your dog has to support on his joints, the better. Keep him slim trim and in good shape for happy joints.
There are no guarantees that your dog will never develop arthritis even with these precautions, but it will at least substantially slow down the deterioration of the joint tissue.
If your dog has a malformation from birth, these conditions are more difficult to deal with. Your dog may live healthy and happy many years before this malformation becomes a problem. Here again, weight management is a big must to keep them on their feet as long as possible. Sometimes surgical treatments are inevitable. Arthroscopic cleaning or joint replacements are rather invasive and expensive so let’s keep these as a last alternative if at all possible.
If your dog already shows the last signs of arthritis with pain and stiffness, not to worry, options are available to you. There are now various medications, foods and additives that help the inflammation and pain. You can easily consult your veterinarian or a homeopath for remedy options. After all, you want to make sure you spend your hard earned money on the best possible remedies.
Living With Arthritis
Big dog, small dog, really any dog can be hit by arthritis. This in no way means we love them any less. If anything, in all stages of their lives, no matter what difficulties lie ahead, they will have our love. Walks in the park may be shorter, getting up the stairs may talk longer, but they give their 100% for us.
Having a dog struggling with arthritis may be more of a challenge. However, with a little bit of effort on our parts for prevention and treatments, they can keep their healthy and happy lives.
Suzanne Simard- is part of the Homeoanimal.com family, a growing enterprise focused on achieving optimal animal health naturally. She has loved animals all her life and now is happy to devote her time and efforts to helping others improve their animal’s quality of life.