How to care for your dog with arthritis

old dog with arthritis

Time flies, and before you know it, walking up stairs and jumping on the bed seems like an insurmountable task for your dog. Once your vet has diagnosed your dog with osteoarthritis, there are a few small changes that you can make at home that could mean a world of difference for your best friend.

Ramps, stairs, and carpeting

If your dog misses climbing into bed and snuggle up next to you at night, consider placing a small set of stairs or a step stool next to your bed. Speaking of stairs, if the steps up to your home are becoming a challenge, you can make the climb a little easier by building a simple ramp from plywood.

Adding carpeting or non-skidding mats with rubber bottoms to smooth surfaces like the kitchen and bathroom floors can make traction easier for elderly dogs who are a little unstable on their feet.

Exercise and weight management

In an interview with WebMD, James L. “Jimi” Cook of the Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory at the University of Missouri-Columbia recommends talking to your vet about putting your dog on a weight management plan to help reduce the amount of stress on the joints. Excess body fat is also a source of inflammation that can cause joint pain and discomfort.

According to Director Cook, “With body condition, we’re trying to get the dogs’ strength built up. That’s because the muscle mass and muscle function will help protect the joints and help the overall function as well.” However, he cautions that until you’ve gotten a thorough review from your vet, try to limit your dog’s activity or else you could make things worse.

Vitamins and supplements

There are a lot of over the counter vitamins and supplements that claim to aid in joint health, but keep in mind that once joint degeneration begins, it can’t be reversed without surgery. However, there are supplements available that can help ease the symptoms and support your dog’s body in repairing itself.

Both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are naturally occurring food supplements that have been shown to help with arthritis with few side effects, but you should always consult your vet before modifying your dog’s diet.

Do you have a senior dog who needs a little extra care and time on walks? Give us a call to be paired with one of our most patient and loving dog walkers.

Candace Elise Hoes is a blogger at Kim’s Urban Hounds. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

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