How to Safely Exercise an Arthritic Dog


Arguably, the best prevention and treatment for a dog who suffers from arthritis is exercise. However, you will want to do this safely to avoid further injuring your pet. Dogs with arthritis may not be able to keep up with their old exercise routine. but it is essential to encourage activity to help prevent further stiffening of joints, weight gain, and muscle atrophy. Your vet can give you specific advice regarding the amount and type of exercise suitable for your dog. Take a read below for some general advice to get you and your pet started on a healthy exercise routine.

It is not only important to keep your arthritic pet active to keep their joints working, but also to ensure that they maintain a positive quality of life. For many dogs, the best part of their day is their walk. Granted they may be less able to move around as well when they get older, they will generally still enjoy the stimulation of going out for a walk. Walking your pet can still be a great part of their day. You can adapt the routes, distances, and expectations to meet their abilities.

Avoid Playing Fetch

Dogs with arthritis and other joint conditions need to reduce stress on their joints to prevent further damage. Therefore, playing fetch and chasing balls may no longer be a suitable exercise. The quick acceleration and braking, stopping sharply, twisting, and jumping are all activities that happen frequently in fetch. These movements can cause a lot of undue stress on your pet’s joints. These sharp movements amplify stress on your dog’s joints. Furthermore, it can cause trauma to muscles and cartilage. This damage only gets worse with age and repetition. We recommend avoiding throwing the ball for any dogs with arthritis, especially as they age.

Go for a Swim

If you live in a warm climate or have a pool, taking your dog for a swim is an ideal exercise. Swimming is low impact and an activity many dogs enjoy. Swimming enables your pet to burn some calories and keep their joints moving without worrying about the impact through their joints.

Swimming can be a good choice of exercise if your pet has arthritis because it:

  • stimulates blood circulation
  • can reduce muscle stiffness and ease pain
  • helps to maintain and build strength and cardiovascular fitness
  • can help make your joints more flexible
  • the buoyancy of water reduces impact on your joints

How’s the Weather

While we should always consider the weather when we walk our dogs, it becomes even more important to do so when your pet has joint issues. It is well documented in people that cold, wet weather exacerbates arthritic pain; the same appears to be the case with dogs. Pet joint pain generally worsens as temperatures fall. This may mean taking shorter walks during the winter months. Consider the need for a sweater or coat for your pet when heading outdoors.

Warm Up and Down

Don’t forget that an athlete always warms up and warms down. So remember to do some of these exercises at the beginning and end of each exercise routine for your pet. Stretching muscles and getting joint fluid circulating is as important to an arthritic dog as an athlete. Before each walk or exercise, have your dog warm up. Have your pet walk around the house a bit. Gently massage and rub your pet to encourage circulation. The idea is to literally warm up the muscles and joints. Massage accomplishes this by promoting blood circulation to the main muscles by the use of rubbing and cupping movements.

Passive exercises are usually enjoyable to your pet. Your dog relaxes, while you gently bend and straighten the knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders (depending on the extent of arthritis) repeating for around 15-20 repetitions. This mimics the action of walking but in a non-weight-bearing way. This is great for getting joint fluid circulating.

It is important to be mindful that flare-ups may happen in arthritis – even in the most well-managed cases. Arthritis flare-ups may follow episodes of increases in exercise or periods of cold weather change. This can result in your pet feeling significantly more pain or discomfort. If symptoms are worsening, or you think your dog may be experiencing an acute flare-up, then you should visit your vet as soon as possible.

How Flexpet May Help

In addition to exercising your pet safely, Flexpet is a safe and all-natural way to help relieve pet joint pain and improve pet quality of life. Flexpet is the only pet product on the market using CM8. It’s designed to help with joint discomfort and inflammation in pets – without the use of prescription medication. Flexpet has been on the market for 20 years and is recommended by veterinarians. Flexpet is highly reviewed on Amazon by verified purchasers. Furthermore, Flexpet is made from human-grade ingredients, in the USA.

We strive to make it as easy as possible for new users to try Flexpet. We give a money-back guarantee so there is no risk. If you don’t feel like you saw results from Flexpet, you can return the empty bottles/pouches and we’ll refund your full purchase price (minus shipping and handling). We also have a fantastic and knowledgeable customer care team available to answer all of your questions at 1-800-505-0575.

Flexpet is available in a maximum strength soft chew product for large dogs and those in severe pain, as well as a regular strength chewable tablet (our standard formula). Both forms are tasty treats to our pets so they won’t even know they’re taking a supplement. If you have a dog who is suffering from joint discomfort, we encourage you to give Flexpet a try. You have nothing to lose but your dog’s pain!

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