How do you know if your dog has arthritis? The signs are ones you would expect to see from an animal experiencing joint pain. He might limp or not be able to move as quickly or with the range of motion as in the past. He might be reluctant to put weight on a limb, have trouble getting up, not be very eager to jump or climb up stairs, and not show much of an interest in playing. There could be other behavioral changes as well.
As with humans, the odds of getting arthritis increase as your dog ages. And the likelihood becomes even greater if the dog is overweight. But younger dogs can get arthritis as well, especially if they have had an infection, injury, or some other shock to their joints. Some also may be genetically predisposed to arthritis, such as with conditions like hip dysplasia, which is inherited.
Check with Your Vet
If you have noticed some of these signs in your dog, you need to see your vet. He or she will give the dog a physical examination and possibly X-rays to confirm whether the dog has the condition.
What to Do
Arthritis is a degenerative condition, meaning that it will gradually become more severe over time. To deal with the arthritic pain your dog is likely to experience, you can give him non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). You can also get medications containing glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids without a prescription to help deal with the pain. NSAIDS are usually the first course of action.
Some other lifestyle changes will also help your dog handle the condition. First, it is important that the dog have a healthy, balanced diet. Your pet also still needs to exercise, but naturally nothing that will put too much strain on the joints. It may be a little uncomfortable for the dog, but low impact exercises such as swimming and walking will help him to keep trim and fit.
Also, as much as possible, you should make sure your dog is warm and dry because cold and damp can inflame the condition. A padded dog bed will also help to keep your pet more comfortable, as will applying warm compresses to joints when they are causing pain.
Diet and exercise are especially important for dogs with arthritis, because a side effect of the condition is weight gain. This only adds to the pain because it puts more strain on the joints.
Help your pet get the exercise he needs by boarding him for a day (or a few hours) with us here at Barney’s Ranch. Contact us at at (469) 273-1661 to learn more about our day- and night-boarding services.