If your dog is suffering from swollen joints or other dog arthritis symptoms, it’s possible they have canine osteoarthritis. If you’re not used to an older dog who has these symptoms, you’re likely unsure of what this is and how it can be treated.
Read on to learn how you can help your dog with this condition.
What Is Canine Osteoarthritis and What Are the Signs?
Canine osteoarthritis is a form of Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) in dogs.
This is a condition that will affect older canines and lead to behavioral differences in our pet, that will be hard not to notice.
Much like a human, it is a sign of aging and slowing down. And dogs – who can often be excitable animals with boundless energy to run and play – often show signs more so than other domesticated animals.
You’ll notice your dog be slower on walks, run around less, show less interest in chasing things, and stop jumping up.
They’ll also spend more time and take more effort to get up from lying down or sitting. If you take your dog out in the car, he or she will find it harder to get into the car. They become stiffer and a little lamer.
Often this can alter a dog’s temperament too. They can become a little more blase, have less interest in playing, and just be lacking in zest and energy.
Try not to let it upset you – it’s all part of the aging process. But it helps to know how your dog’s joints are responding to age.
Degenerative Joint Disease
A dog’s joint – again, like a human’s – are where two bones meet and allow them to move around. They connect the bones in areas such as the legs of the dog, with ligaments able to move using lubricating fluid and cushioning tissue.
Aging means that the cartilage can wear down and the fluid can become less dense, leading to DJD or osteoarthritis. Sometimes this can rub parts off the joints and they can become brittle and uncomfortable.
It tends to flare up more in larger dogs, as they are heavier. Years of resting on their own joints can cause wear and tear.
My Dog Has Canine Osteoarthritis – What Can Be Done?
The first thing to do is to remember that this is all part of getting older – and then book an appointment at the vet.
They will examine your dog and explain things further to you, offering you options on how severe the DJD is and how to treat the pain.
Your vet will examine your pet’s ligaments and perhaps send him or her for an x-ray. This is standard procedure, as it would be at a human hospital.
There are several ways treatment can be taken forward – and the vet will decipher which course of treatment is best, depending on your pet and their condition.
How Can My Dog’s Canine Osteoarthritis Be Treated?
If canine osteoarthritis is caught early, you can work a routine into your dog’s day to day lifestyle to help ease any pain and to improve their joints.
Joint Support Nutraceutical
You can use a joint support nutraceutical – a natural supplement product to help joint support and maintain healthy function for your pet’s mobility.
Remember that arthritis is not a condition that can be cured, only maintained. This is a big reason why getting started on healthy habits and supplementation early is the best thing you can do since prevention is always easier than treatment.
The right nutraceutical will work to battle against inflammation, strengthen joints, help prevent breakdown of cartilage, and more. Bark Nutrition’s ‘Complete Joint Care Supplement’ for dogs features a full spectrum of ingredients that do just that.
Dogs in much pain may require stronger anti-inflammatory drugs.
The most commonly used pain control medications for dogs are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) which ease the pain of the pet and also help lessen the inflammation.
This can often have a side effect on your dog’s liver or kidney, but, again, a vet will be able to advise you on this. It may be that your canine simply has to make more regular trips to the vet to have his or her blood checked.
In extreme cases, surgery or joint replacement could be required. But a vet will always look at non-invasive options before resorting to this.
Other such treatments include cold laser, physiotherapy, or acupuncture.
A simpler solution would be weight management if your pet is overweight. A dog suffering from canine osteoarthritis will suffer more if they are heavier than recommended as their body will feel more strained.
Caring for Your Dog
Canine osteoarthritis is a natural issue with dogs and can be treated without too much stress and trauma. Only in truly severe cases, usually with elderly dogs, can it become a real problem.
It’s always important to monitor your pet’s behavior, to see how they are acting and if you suspect something may be up, simply get them checked out at the vet.
Catching it early is the key, as you can work with your dog using natural remedies, as explained. This can help soothe the problem early on and keep things from getting worse. Putting the dog on a diet or working natural supplements into his or her diet will go a long way if you start at the early signs of canine osteoarthritis. (Ideally even before that!)
The more pro-active you are, the longer and happier life your pup will lead. To learn about Bark Nutrition’s Complete Joint Care supplement, click here.