Arthritis is a degenerative disease, which means that it gets progressively worse. How advanced is osteoarthritis in your dog? His stage of arthritis will determine the steps you can take to alleviate his pain.
It’s not just older dogs who get arthritis. Dogs of all ages, particularly larger breeds and obese dogs, are more likely to develop it. Signs and symptoms of mild arthritis include:
- Slower to get up from a sitting or lying position
- A more ‘careful’ attitude when standing, sitting, or walking upstairs
- Less interest in exercise or playtime
- Weight gain due to a decrease in physical activity
Mild arthritis can be very difficult to detect. Dogs have evolved to hide their pain, so you are unlikely to even notice the symptoms. If your dog has mild arthritis, an exercise regimen and proper diet are critical to prevent further damage. A joint care supplement can help you head off this disease before it progresses.
Mild arthritis eventually deteriorates to moderate arthritis. In general, this is the stage when the pain and/or lameness become visible to the owner. Your dog may be reluctant to run, jump on the couch, or go up stairs. He may even hop a bit to avoid flexing the joints. Other symptoms of this stage include:
- Limping or lameness, particularly first thing in the morning or after a nap
- Joint sensitivity
- Increased pain and stiffness in cold or damp surroundings
Moderate arthritis can impact your dog’s quality of life. He seems less energetic, more listless, and doesn’t enjoy his old activities. When your dog is in this stage, light exercise, especially swimming, is beneficial. Make sure he is comfortable by providing stairs or ramps where needed, and a warm and cozy bed. Ask your veterinarian about anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) to soothe his aching joints.
A dog with severe arthritis can be in a lot of pain if not treated appropriately. Your veterinarian should be able to help you develop a medical and diet routine to minimize the pain. Dogs with severe arthritis may:
- Have a pronounced limp
- Avoid walking on hardwood floors or hard surfaces
- Be unable to go up or down staircases
- Move as little as possible
Acupuncture, surgery, and cortisone injections are options for dogs with severe arthritis.
Remember, every dog is different. Your dog may have any combination of symptoms. The most important thing that you can do as a pet owner is be proactive. Consider putting your dog on a supplement, make sure he gets plenty of exercise, and carefully monitor for signs of mild or moderate arthritis. It’s heartbreaking to see your best friend slowly lose his mobility. At Natural Wellness, we want your pets to stay happy and healthy.