Preventing Arthritis in Senior Dogs

Preventing Arthritis in Senior Dogs

Arthritis is an almost inevitable health condition in which your dog’s joints become inflamed, resulting in pain and swelling. Arthritis pain occurs due to damage to your dog’s joints caused by such occurrences as disease, daily movement, and stiffening. Sadly, dog arthritis can lead to other physical ailments as lameness, reduced mobility and even require surgery. Certain dog breeds, such as larger dogs and breeds which are called Dysplastic, were found to be affected by arthritis sooner than other dog breeds.

Arthritis is a genetic canine issue, running in families of dogs as well as humans. Recent studies have shown that, when dog owners avoided neutering at an early age, their pets were less susceptible to arthritis later in life.  In addition, there are some good preventative measures that dog owners can take which will decrease or prevent the impact of arthritis on your pet. Educate yourself with the information below for the health and comfort of your beloved canine companion.


Keep your Dog at a Healthy Weight

It is no secret that dogs which become overweight are more likely to suffer from arthritis than dogs of average proportions. Control your dog’s body weight through diet and regular exercise to help prevent the onset of arthritis. Exercising will help keep your dog’s joints and muscles strong and healthy without packing on unnecessary pounds. If your dog is overweight, visit your veterinarian for an appropriate diet and exercise program which will effectively decrease your dog’s weight.


Prevent and Treat Your Dog’s Injuries


Old injuries are a likely cause of arthritis in most dog breeds. Arthritis develops in the injured joint over time, especially without taking steps to avoid the health issue. By trying to prevent any injuries, large or small, dog owners can lessen the likelihood of arthritis affecting your dog.

Pay close attention to your four legged friend when you are taking him outdoors, as there are many dangers to consider. Always keep your dog on a leash that is attached to a collar when out and about, rather than allowing him to run free. This is the best way for dog owners to avoid accidents and injuries, by preventing unpleasant occurrences or mishaps which might lead to a lifetime of pain from arthritis.


Provide a Comfortable Bed for Resting

Provide your pet with a soft padded bed to rest and sleep on. The more comfortable your pet’s dog bed is, the less likely he is to suffer with pain that is due to joint problems. Even while vacationing or taking a road trip, your dog should be provided with a comfortable travel bed to help prevent soreness caused by riding and sleeping in strange places.

A pet friendly environment can provide prevention from arthritis as well. Small dogs and dog breeds that are prone to hip problems, such as dachshunds, will need stairs to climb onto beds or couches to prevent injury and control discomfort. Consider a pet ladder for arthritis prevention while boating and enjoying other outdoor activities.


Seek Routine Veterinary Care for Your Dog

Regular veterinary care can reduce the onset of arthritis through medications and supplements which will ease inflammation and pain from arthritis in dogs.  Choose a veterinarian that has been trained to observe your pet’s physical state to decide if your dog is experiencing pain judging by such factors as body language, the dog’s gait, and even his eyes.


Proper Diet and Nutrition


Your dog’s diet plays an important role in arthritis prevention. Although your dog loves to eat, it is important to exercise portion control and feed your pet a low calorie diet. Currently, there have been no studies to determine that ‘senior dog food’ actually helps older dogs avoid arthritis, but pet food aimed at senior dogs are higher in fiber and lower in calories than other labels.

In addition, senior dog food almost always contains calcium, omega-3, glucosamine, antioxidants, and fatty acids. You can look for these nutrients in dog treats, as well as in many snack items, likely finding that they will have one or more of these ingredients. Glucosamine is most helpful with the condition of arthritis due to its pain relieving properties and can be found in antlers for dogs.


Exercise Regularly


Exercise is a very important part of your dog’s health, considered necessary for both the prevention and treatment of arthritis. While your senior dog may have some aches and pains from arthritis, it is far more beneficial for him to exercise rather than lay around. The best exercise routine is an hour each day rather than allowing your dog to be sedimentary all week and then exercising several hours on the weekend. This can actually damage muscles and cause arthritis in your dog. For added safety, a dog harness is usually the best tool for exercising your pet, as you can control the amount and level of exertion your dog experiences.


Nail and Foot Care


Your pets toenails should be properly clipped for normal walking and running Overgrown toenails can be very uncomfortable and cause an uncomfortable gait in your dog. This places abnormal stress on your dog’s joints and ligaments.

Rosin sprays are recommended which can be applied to the pads of your dog’s feet which will help with proper walking and gaiting. You should exercise extreme caution while clipping your dog’s nails, using an approved dog grooming tool, being careful not to cut the toenail too short. Trimming the dog’s nails in small sessions over several weeks is the best approach, making sure they barely touch the floor when your dog stands. If you aren’t comfortable with the task of clipping toenails, your veterinarian or groomer can perform this service for a nominal fee.

By following these preventative measures, dog owners can slow the onset of aching joints and muscles caused by arthritis. The internet is overrun with all kinds of remedies and treatments for dogs (and people) who suffer from arthritis which may or may not work. But as the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take good care of your dog and help him maintain a healthy weight for a long and happy life together.

Authored by: DogLoveIt

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