A sprint turns into a jog, an effortless jump into your lap seems painful and lying down becomes second nature. Yes, that’s your dog’s age catching up and they are probably dealing with a lot more than just stiff walk. Arthritis is painful and psychologically taxing for a dog. Aging is inevitable, but the pain of arthritis can be managed and minimized with proper care.
As a dog parent, it is painful to see your pooch struggling like with stiff joints and you may find yourself reaching for over-the-counter medicines. Avoid that. The first step to pulling your dog out of that painful situation is to consult a veterinarian and follow the treatment plan.
Other than that, there are ways in which you can relieve the situation or delay its arrival.
Managing their weight
Like humans, extra weight on your dog’s body can strain their joints making the pain even worse. In fact, overweight dogs develop arthritis earlier than their peers. So, revisit your dog’s usual diet chart and adjust it for a senior dog without compromising on the nutrition. You could ask the vet to suggest some supplements that lower joint inflammation and slow progression of arthritis.
Make sure the supplements are made of natural ingredients and contain Glucosamine and Chondroitin to accelerate cartilage production in the joints.
Encouraging an active lifestyle
Dogs by nature are active. However, that may reduce with age. Incorporating regular exercise in their daily routine is a great way to keep arthritis in check. A little low-impact activity every day will also encourage the body to keep the joints more lubricated; thus, preventing the stiffness.
Easing movement with ramps and steps
With the loss in lubrication in joints, simple tasks like getting in and out of the car or hopping on to the bed can aggravate the dog’s pain. So, depending on your dog’s size and need, place some ramps and pet steps to ease their movement. This will also encourage the dog to be more active.
Bonding over massages
Gentle massage helps relax the sore muscles and rejuvenates the dog. By lowering blood pressure, massage also relieves the dog from stress which in turn, motivates them to get up and move. With regular massage, you will also be able to notice the formation of lumps or sore spots which can be treated before the situation goes out of hand.
Treating with Acupuncture
If you are not sure how to massage your dog’s muscles, you can even take them for acupuncture therapy. It goes even deeper into the tissues and stimulates the body’s natural pain and stress relief hormones.
Relaxing soreness with heat
This is one over-the-counter solution that can help your dog find immediate relief from arthritic pain. Just a regular heating pad from a pet store and use it gently on your dog’s body. You can also make it at home using rice and a cotton sock. Simply, fill the sock with 3-4 cups of rice, tie it at the end and microwave it for a minute. Be sure to check the temperature before using it on your dog as dogs are sensitive to heat.
Helping sleep come easy
As the dog’s body starts losing its muscle and fat with age, falling asleep on the same bed as before can seem like another stiff run. Therefore, replace the old bed with a memory foam that is designed for dogs or can be customised for different dog sizes.
Over to you
We all want our dogs to be structurally fit and mentally stimulated. A dog not being able to show its spirit because of stiff joints is the most painful sight. Fortunately, the only good thing about osteoarthritis in dogs is that it can be managed.
We hope that this article gave you some insights on helping your dog age without any pain. Do not forget to get a veterinary opinion on the condition and steer away from OTC painkillers meant even for the dogs.