(PET CARE/DOGS) Notice your pup limping or more stiff than usual? Maybe they’re sleeping more often? These could be symptoms of canine arthritis, a common occurrence in older pets.

Ciara Black is a Global Animal contributor from the Dog Help Network, a resource for dog health related websites. Read on for symptoms of arthritis and remedies to help keep your pup comfortable and happy. — Global Animal

Photo credit: dreamstime.com

By Ciara Black

What is Dog Arthritis?

Arthritis in dogs simply means an inflammation of your dog’s joints. Arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage or synovial fluid in the joints breaks down. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are ways to help manage it.

Affected areas might include the hips, kneecaps, wrists, shoulders, neck and elbows. Some breeds are more susceptible to arthritis than others.

Most cases of canine arthritis simply come from old age, and the wear and tear throughout your dog’s life. However, some common causes of arthritis include poor nutrition, obesity, trauma or damage to the bones or joints, or malformation of a dog’s bone structure.

The overall outcome of these factors is inflammation of the joints and irritated nerve endings. These will show as stiffness, pain and loss of energy for everyday activities.

Some symptoms to look out for when dealing with dog arthritis are:

  • Sleeping often
  • Difficulty in standing, walking or sitting
  • Hesitancy to jump up or climb stairs
  • Decreased interest in everyday activities
  • Favoring a limb

If you notice any of these symptoms, your dog may have arthritis. Once arthritis has been properly diagnosed, there are a number of home remedies available to help ease the pain in your pup’s joints.

Home Remedies for Dog Arthritis

Apply Heat on Sore Joints

Applying a warm compress to your dog’s joints will help to ease the pain. Heat will penetrate deep into the muscle to the joint for relief. Keep in mind your dog cannot get up fast, so avoid burning him with a water bottle that’s too hot.

Light Exercise

Exercise should be regular, but not too strenuous. If your dog wants to turn and go back home after a short walk, let him. The key is constant exercise, but keeping it light and short. Avoid walking when it is too cold out, as the joints will be especially sore. Treadmills are great when supervised, and swimming is a great form of exercise as well.

Control Their Weight

A healthy diet is extremely important for your dog during arthritis. Getting rid of excess weight is beneficial for your dog, as he won’t have to carry any more weight around on his joints. Fat tissues secrete hormones that cause pain.

Keep Them Warm and Comfortable

This is especially important on cold or wet days. Cold weather may cause the joints to be especially stiff or swollen. Add an extra blanket to his bed or let him sleep inside the house. Adding an extra pillow will also help keep him comfortable and ease pain in the joints.

Massage and Acupuncture Therapy

You can do massages at home or take your dog to a professional. Massages and acupuncture provide relief for sore, inflamed joints and will help to loosen these areas up.

Raise Food and Water Dishes

This is especially important if your dog has arthritis in the neck or shoulders. Bending down may cause tension and pain, so raising his food and water dishes will help him to eat pain free. You may notice a weight loss during arthritis, and the pain to eat may be the source of this.

Slip-Free Floors

Your dog may struggle when walking on hard wood floors. If you notice this, consider getting a rug for common areas he plays or rests. Using different cleaning products on the floors may also help with slipping paws.

Keeping your arthritic dog comfortable is extremely beneficial. You can also talk to your veterinarian about supplements and treatment options available.

You can learn more about dog arthritis causes, symptoms, treatment options and home remedies at www.dogarthritisresource.com.