Arthritis can be a painful condition for dogs and humans alike. Nobody wants to see their best friend, furry or otherwise have to live with pain. Arthritis is an acute or chronic inflammation of a joint or joints. There is no cure for most types of arthritis but there are several treatments that can ease the pain and improve quality of life.
NSAIDs are a non-steroid that can help with inflammation. You can find these over the counter at just about any drug store. The most common type is aspirin. As with any medication it is always a good idea to discuss this with your veterinarian before you start giving it to your dog. This is important because dosage amounts will differ with dogs and most labels will have the correct dosage amounts for humans only.
Steroids such as Prednisone, Dexamethasone, and Corticosteroids will need a prescription from your vet and help reduce swelling and inflammation. You should not leave your dog on steroids for any length of time as they will eventually wear down joints and make the problem worse in the long run but can be of great short term assistance.
Glucosamine is the most common supplement recommended by veterinarians. It is a combination of a sugar and amino acids naturally found in several seafood species, most commonly shellfish such as shrimp, crab, and lobster. These fish oils help the body’s production of joint lubricants which helps take the tension off the joint and allows the cartilage to stay healthy. It works almost like the shock absorbers in your car. The less tension on the joint the longer cartilage will stay healthy and not wear down. Having your dog on a supplement with fish oils, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids before or as soon as you start noticing symptoms will help prolong your dog’s joint health.
There are also a few things you can do to help your dog that are not related to medicine or supplements. One thing you can do is make sure your dog has padded bedding, the softer the better. After a period of sleep or rest joints can stiffen up and be even more painful. There are several companies that sell beds specifically made for dogs with arthritis. This may not be necessary as you can use pillows and other household items to help ensure your dog is more comfortable.
Ramps are a great idea as well. If you like having your buddy up on the couch or bed with you the jump may be too tough for them. You can buy or make a ramp yourself that will help the dog get to his favorite places.
Massages can help blood flow to their muscles. When you are petting your dog you can easily turn it into a massage by gently kneading their sore muscles.
The worse your dog’s arthritis gets the less they should exercise. Gentle exercise can help them stay healthy but you should make sure it is at their own pace and not over exerting themselves. Too much exercise will hurt the dog but a slow and short walk can help keep their muscles and joints loose. If your dog gets no exercise his muscles will atrophy more and the dog will lose mobility faster. Make sure you are not pushing the dog too hard but short walk will certainly help.
Warm ups. A short one or two minute walk will help your dog loosen up and get the blood flowing. As with people you should always warm up before exercising, the same goes with your dog.
Low impact exercises are the best. If you have a dog that loves water you are in luck. Possibly the best low impact exercise is swimming. Sometimes it may be hard to tell how tired your dog is getting so you should either swim next to the dog or get a doggy life jacket in case your pooch gets too far out and cannot make it back.
Your dog may not be able to use items such as a flirt pole or spring pole anymore, but some light tug of war and playing will suffice. If you are walking or playing and you see the dog hurting or whimpering it is time to pack it up and let them rest.
Unfortunately once a joint is damaged there is nothing short of surgery that can completely reverse the issue. Proper exercise and using an all natural supplement such as Bully Max Total Health Powder that contains Fish oils and Omega fatty acids will help keep your old friend up and running with a higher quality of life. Steroids and NSAIDs will help treat the pain and can be used in conjunction with a natural supplement.
If you start noticing stiffness and pain in joints you should take your dog to a vet right away and make sure you know the root cause. Arthritis is common in dogs but is not the only reason a dog might be showing symptoms. For example Lyme disease is another common issue that can cause stiffness in joints and if that is the issue antibiotics prescribed by your vet is the best treatment.