You see your pup limping up and down stairs because of his arthritis.
You want to help, but many treatments seem drastic.
Did you know in addition to traditional treatment options, there are ways you can help your dog on a daily basis?
Taking a closer look at how you can improve your dog’s day-to-day lifestyle can elevate your dog’s general health, making veterinary-prescribed treatments even more effective.
Provide Your Dog with Healthful Foods
Is there a perfect food for arthritis?
The right mix of dietary fatty acids can do more than improve your dog’s skin and coat.
Think about how you can incorporate foods with Omega-3s into your dog’s diet.
Ensure Your Pup is at a Healthy Weight
Helping a dog lose pounds to reach his recommended weight may be the most important thing an owner can do for a pet. It may also be the most demanding.
Feed your dog recommended amounts daily and keep treats to a minimum.
You can also try a low-calorie diet for your dog. It is best to consult your veterinarian for help in deciding how to help your dog shed unnecessary pounds.
Studies have suggested approximately one-quarter of overweight dogs develop serious joint complications.
If your dog’s bones, joints, muscles, and associated tendons and ligaments are stressed trying to carry excess weight, they can become damaged – paving the way for arthritis to develop or become more severe.
It is much better for the health and longevity of your pet to feed less food.
Make Sure Fido Gets Daily Exercise
Exercise is the next important step. Go for low impact exercise that provides for good range of motion and muscle building while limiting wear and tear on the joints.
Here are some great low-impact exercises:
- Leash walking
- Slow jogging
- Going up and down stairs
An exercise program should be individualized for each dog based on the severity of the osteoarthritis, weight, and condition of the dog.
In general, too little exercise can be more detrimental than too much, but the wrong kind of exercise can cause harm. For instance, frisbee may be enjoyable and fun for you and your dog, but it is very hard on a dog’s joints.
Warming up and cooling down are important for any exercise regimen.
And even if you can only do a little every day, shorter daily exercise is better than doing longer exercises only a couple of times a week.
Again, consult your veterinarian to devise an exercise program appropriate for your dog.
Give Your Pup Warmth and a Good Bed
Most people with arthritis will tell you pain tends to worsen in cold, damp weather.
Keeping your pup warm may help him be more comfortable.
This could include getting him or her a sweater to help keep joints warmer, and/or keeping the temperature in your home a little warmer.
A firm, orthopedic foam bed helps many dogs with arthritis.
These types of orthopedic foam beds distribute weight evenly and reduce pressure on joints. Since they are firmer, they are also much easier for the pet to stand up in and get out of.
Be sure to find a warm spot away from drafts for your dog’s bed.
A good bed will have:
- A washable cover with a heavy-duty zipper
- A layer of medical-grade orthopedic foam (looks like an egg carton)
- A firmness which will make it easier for the pet to stand up after laying down
Adjust Pet Supplies in the Home For Pain Relief
Going up and down stairs is often difficult for arthritic dogs. Consider building ramps, especially on stairs leading to the outside.
Elevating Food & Water Bowls
Elevated feeders make eating and drinking more comfortable for arthritic pets, especially if they suffer from neck or back stiffness.
Try some of these simple tips before pursuing more extreme options.