When you hear about arthritis, probably the first thing that comes to your mind is old dogs. However, thing condition affects both young and old dogs equally. The sad part is that it’s not treatable, meaning that your pet will have to live with it for the rest of his life. Because of that, it’s important that you know how to keep your arthritic dog as comfortable as possible while managing his condition. The following are some useful tips worth considering:
Consult Your Veterinarian First
If you suspect that your dog may be having arthritis (i.e. he’s showing signs of stiffness or limping), don’t diagnose and medicate him by yourself as this will only worsen his condition. It is only by consulting a professional veterinarian that you’ll be able to get the right diagnosis and the best management plan for him. It is only by conducting a physical examination and other tests on your dog that your vet will be able to know for sure whether your dog suffers from arthritis or a different health condition.
Ease Arthritis Symptoms By Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Obesity causes several health problems in dogs including diabetes, heart, liver and kidney problems. If your arthritic dog is obese, the extra pounds can make his condition worse by exerting extra pressure on his joints. This causes more pain and inflammation. To help him lose weight, consider reducing his food portion size. You can buy a measuring cup to know the exact amount of food you serve him.
In addition, try to stick to a low-impact exercise routine regularly. This can be anything from walking to swimming. Be sure to include non-physical exercises too (treat dispensing toys, chew toys, puzzle toys and games etc) to help stimulate him mentally and keep him entertained. Maintaining a healthy weight will ease your dog’s symptoms besides improving his overall health.
Find The Right Balance Between Play and Rest
It’s important that you also keep track of all the exercises that your dog does to know what works for him and what makes him uncomfortable. This will help you adjust them accordingly.
Once you find what works for him, let him have fun but know when to say stop. This is for his own good since overexerting himself will only cause him more pain and discomfort. After playing, let him relax his tired joints and muscles and get his energy back. You may want to use this time to pamper him a bit through a gentle massage. Massage is very effective in relieving stiffness and soothing aching joints in dogs.
Other simple ways to keep your arthritic dog comfortable at home include:
• Buy him an orthopedic bed to offer him the extra support that his achy joints need. It will also ensure that he sleeps comfortably.
• Get him a raised food bowl to prevent him from bending down whenever he needs to drink or eat.
• Since getting inside a car can be challenging to an arthritic dog, consider buying yours a ramp or carrying him into the car.
• Ensure that he stays warm, especially in the evening when it’s cold.
Managing arthritis in dogs is not easy but it’s possible with professional help, the right attitude and patience. I hope with the above tips, your arthritic dog wil be as comfortable as possible.