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Arthritis in Dogs

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English: Canine Massage helps relieve minor tension and pain while improving circulation and the immune system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arthritis in dogs can affect the back, knee joints, shoulders, hips, and neck. Here are a few signs that your dog may have arthritis:

    • Does your dog tend to favor one side over the other? If joints are painful on one side, your dog will tend to put more pressure on the other side to avoid pain. He may even show discomfort while standing or sitting on a particular side.
    • Unusual weight gain? Because of the painful joints, your dog may be more lethargic or even sleep more and not get enough exercise.
  • Not as active? Stiff joints prevent dogs from being as playful or make them unusually hesitant in their movements.

If you’ve noticed your dog with any of the above symptoms for more than a week, take him to a veterinarian to be properly diagnosed and treated.

You might want to try to ease your dog’s pain with the following homearthritis treatment for dogs.

Diet

Look at your dog’s diet. Dry dog food is made mostly from grains, which may cause inflammation of the joints. You may prefer to feed your dog raw or cooked meat and cooked vegetables. They are not only healthier for your dog (wild dogs eat meat and vegetation, not grains) but may also help alleviate some of the joint swelling. (Stay away from anything spicy such as peppers and onions.)

You can also give your dog Omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil or flaxseed oil capsules) supplements to decrease inflammation in the joints.

Exercise

Even with the pain caused by arthritis in dogs, your dog still needs some exercise. If he’s not averse to water, try having him swim. For smaller dogs, a kiddy pool would work great. Swimming puts no pressure on the joints, yet is great exercise. Also take your dog for short 15 minute walks.

Warm and Comfortable Rest Area

Provide a soft, comfortable area for your dog to rest. In the winter, when the cool air can stiffen joints, place an old sleeping bag or pillow on the floor to help keep your dog’s joints warm. If your dog is an outside dog, you may want to bring him into the garage at night when it’s cold.

Give Your Dog a Massage

Massage reduces dog arthritis pain by releasing muscle tension associated with joint pain and improving circulation. Gently rub around the affected joints and massage the surrounding muscles.

Medications for Arthritis in Dogs

Medications for arthritis in dogs are available. Never give human medications to your dog. They can be toxic.

A popular medication to alleviate the pain of dog arthritis is glucosamine. It is a sugar made from shellfish that encourages joint repair and lessens joint pain. Glucosamine is a natural substance found in animals, but with age, the body decreases production of this essential element. Glucosamine works by stimulating the body to produce synovial fluid. Synovial fluid, which lubricates the cartilage, is needed for healthy joints.

This information is provided for educational purposes. If you have questions, consult a professional.

 

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