Update: Does your dog have arthritis? We’ve updated and put together comprehensive information about arthritis medications for dogs, including what you should and shouldn’t give, here: https://flexpet.com/arthritis-medication-dogs/
Parenting a dog with arthritis can be a difficult process. Providing them the care they need, along with controlling their pain levels, and showing them unconditional love can be time consuming. At times you may feel helpless and unsure about how to give them the proper care. It’s important to carefully monitor your dog, to measure their pain levels, and how well they get around with arthritis since they are unable to verbally express this to you. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help your arthritic dog and make his or her life a comfortable one.
1. Canine massage
You’re not the only one who can benefit from a nice relaxing massage. The benefits of massages include easing sore muscles, stress reduction, decreased blood pressure, increased flexibility and circulation, and a boost in overall well-being. You can learn animal massaging techniques and give one to your dog, or you can ask your veterinarian for information on professional animal massage therapists. Massage therapy can be advantageous in noticing lumps, bumps, or sore places on your pet.
2. Heating pads
Just like in humans, heat can be soothing for aches and pains in dogs. Certain brands make doggy heating pads that use specific wavelengths of light for therapeutic and healing benefits including pain relief, releasing trigger points, muscle relaxation, and reducing inflammation. Other dog bed brands have created warming pads that go inside the bed or crate, creating a warming comfortable environment for your dog.
3. Weight control
Maintaining a healthy weight in dogs with arthritis is not only a good idea for their heart, but it can lighten the load they carry on their joints. The heavier your dog is, the more joint stress he endures, leading to more pain. It’s important to feed your dog a balanced diet with high-quality ingredients. There are also some foods that lead to inflammation you can avoid feeding your dog if he or she has arthritis. Additionally, if you make homemade dog food, make sure you have a good recipe with all the right nutrients before you start cooking.
4. Gentle exercise
Exercise will help your dog stay mobile and maintain a healthy weight. Controlled, gentle exercise can benefit your dog by keeping him moving and lessening stiffness in his joints. Keep exercise gentle, low impact, and for a short period of time to ensure you aren’t aggravating your dog’s joints. They even have doggy treadmills that will allow you to control the amount of walking, running, and incline your dog experiences.
5. Natural supplements
Natural joint supplements are not only safe for your dog, they are effective in reducing joint inflammation, pain levels, discomfort, and stiffness. Your dog’s joint supplement should include ingredients like CM8, hydrolyzed collagen II, bromelain, and MSM, and should be produced in facilities that meet certain standards. Each one of these ingredients contributes to slowing joint degeneration and repairing cartilage. Joint supplements can fit as a complement to your dog’s daily diet and as a major component of his arthritis treatment.
Did you know acupuncture isn’t just for people? Acupuncture for pets can be administered by a veterinarian who has been trained in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine. Their treatments generally include acupuncture, acupressure, Chinese herbs, and food energy therapy. The goal of acupuncture is to help the body heal itself. Acupuncture has many benefits:
- stimulates the release of the body’s own pain relieving hormones
- muscle relaxation
- pain relief
- nervous system stimulation
- lacks side effects
Acupuncture involves inserting needles into body tissue where nerve bundles and blood vessels come together. The collections of nervous and vascular tissue are called acupuncture points which span all over the body’s surface on different energy channels. Acupuncture then encourages body healing by correcting energy imbalances.
Caring for a dog with arthritis may not be the easiest task in your life as a dog parent, but just like with your children, you take the good with the bad. Knowing how to help your arthritic dog in times of pain will ensure he stays healthy, happy, and comfortable. By being mindful of your dog’s pain levels and putting these tips into action, you’ll be on your way to helping your dog age gracefully.