Unfortunately, nearly every senior dog will suffer from arthritis to a varying degree. However, arthritis pain can be mitigated, managed, and even prevented in some cases. Here, everything a dog owner needs to know about arthritis will be discussed.
What is Arthritis?
The basic definition of arthritis is joint inflammation. The most common type of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis, which is degenerative joint disease. Over time, the protective cartilage that cushions a dog’s joints begins to deteriorate. When the cartilage becomes too thin, bones rub against each other, causing pain and poor mobility.
What are the Signs of Arthritis in Dogs?
Dogs are hesitant to show signs of pain, so many pet owners do not realize their dogs are suffering until arthritis has progressed. The most common symptoms for dogs include:
Stiffness upon standing
Slow, laborious movements
Swelling of joints
Licking of joints
Change in behavior
Reluctance to jump or be active
How Can I Manage My Dog’s Arthritis Pain?
If you recognize any of the above symptoms in your dog, the first step is to visit a veterinarian to rule out any underlying causes that are not associated with arthritis. Once arthritis is diagnosed, pet owners can take the following steps for managing their dog’s pain.
First, evaluate your dog’s weight. Even a few extra pounds can place undue stress on your dog’s joints. Make sure your dog is receiving proper portion sizes and keep in mind that a dog’s metabolism slows down with age.
If your dog is already at a healthy weight, continue to maintain proper body composition to ensure your pet does not develop worsening pain.
While seemingly counterintuitive, light exercise can improve your dog’s arthritis symptoms. Exercise improves circulation and strength, both of which are lacking in an arthritic dog. Short walks on soft surfaces are a great way to help your dog build strength and improve mobility. However, if walking is too painful for your pet, consider hydrotherapy. Water exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation while improving strength and mobility in arthritic pets.
Historically, the most commonly prescribed supplements for arthritics dogs have been chondroitin and glucosamine. However, new evidence suggests that these two ingredients are not effective in managing arthritis pain.
A better alternative is WINPRO Mobility, which treats inflammation – the main cause of arthritis pain at the source. WINPRO Mobility contains animal blood proteins that immediately go to work to reduce inflammation. Balanced collagen, an additional active ingredient, helps to restore connective tissues for strength and mobility. Unlike other supplements which require 6 – 8 weeks to take effect, WINPRO Mobility improves joint comfort and mobility for dogs within days.
Changes in Routine
As your dog’s arthritis becomes more painful it will be helpful to make small changes around the home. Place a water bowl in every room so that your dog does not have to travel far to drink. Purchase an orthopedic pet bed for your dog so that joints are cushioned during sleep. If your dog is welcome on furniture, purchase a ramp or pet steps so that your pet does not have to jump onto the bed or couch.
How Can I Prevent Arthritis in my Dog?
Although arthritis cannot be completely prevented, the onset can be delayed for most pets. Listed here are important joint-health tips.
Maintaining your dog at a healthy weight throughout his or her lifetime will reduce damage to joints. Feed your pet a high-quality dog food that is high in protein and low in inflammatory fillers and grains.
Make sure your dog recovers fully after strenuous exercise. Not only can WINPRO Mobility improve your dog’s arthritis symptoms, but it can aid in your dog’s recovery following a hard workout. Chronic inflammation has been shown to be a risk factor for many types of arthritis.
Prevent Wear and Tear
Osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis in dogs – is more likely to occur when joint damage is already present. Protect your dog’s joints by making environmental changes. Do not allow your dog to jump from a high vehicle (such as an SUV) onto pavement. Discourage your dog from jumping from high furniture, and instead teach your dog to use pet steps. Exercise on soft surfaces as much as possible and use a harness when walking to prevent placing undue stress on the cervical spine.
Ultimately, arthritis is inevitable for nearly all senior dogs. However, the steps you take throughout your dog’s life to minimize joint stress will prolong your dog’s joint health.