We love our senior dogs at SweetGoodbye, they are family, and it is not easy to see a family member getting old and suffering from arthritis disease - one of the first signs of aging in most dogs.
Of all the animals, dogs suffer from arthritis the most because of excessive exercise, injuries, and genetic predisposition. And while most of us will take our furry friends to the vet to help with medication, there are a lot of things we can do at home to help too.
Watch your dog's diet
How much and what kind of food your dog is eating is a simple way to help your arthritic dog at home. When you maintain your dog at a healthy weight there is less pressure on the joints, which means less pain and improved mobility.
Feed your dog the right amount and the right type of food. It is very easy to share your morning tea and biscuits with them, but it’s harder to lose the weight as their activity levels decline.
Home made food is great and there are many recipes even for the most fussy senior dog, but if you're buying commercially available food always read the label to figure out who the food is designed for. Puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, overweight or underweight dogs, and dogs with various activity levels have different nutrient requirements.
If your dog is overweight, visit your vet for a weight management plan.
Consider a Supplement
A daily joint supplement may assist with the pain being felt in the joints that have degenerated over the many years of ball chasing and park runs.
Some of the best supplements include
- Glucosamine - The building blocks of healthy cartilage, making them one of the most popular joint supplement ingredients
- Turmeric - More commonly used as a human supplement, turmeric helps in reducing pain and inflammation
- Hyaluronic acid - Helps make cartilage more resistant to wear and tear
- Omega-3 fatty acids - The Anti-inflammatory properties make them useful for managing arthritis pain
Exercise in moderation
Just like us, the longer your senior dog stays in one position, the harder it is for them to get up and go.
Exercise is important for all dogs regardless of their weight. Short and slow walks can keep your dog limber and help an overweight dog burn more calories and help maintain muscle mass to stabilise the joints.
Swimming also makes a great low-impact exercise for arthritic dogs.
Clip and Grip
Keep your dogs nails clipped. Long nails change the mechanics of the foot and may make walking difficult or even painful.
If your dog is having trouble getting a grip on slippery floors, invest in some toe grips. There are many on the market. They will help your senior dog get traction.
Deck out the house
Splurge on a fancy dog bed to discourage them from sleeping in your bed and becoming injured jumping up and down. You could even consider an orthopaedic bed of one that offers different levels of support! Place the bed next to your bed so your dog can rest there at night.
If toe grips don’t work, consider runners or rubber mats for slippery floors
Keep your dog dishes on an absorbent mat so spillages don’t cause slips and falls. If your dog is having issues reaching their dish, consider an elevated feeder.
Ramps and steps will assist your dog to get onto the couch or in and out of a car.
Arthritis is degenerative, and it starts mild and worsens with time. A dog may be suffering from arthritis for a long time without showing symptoms before it is eventually detected.
If your dog shows signs of arthritis, please visit your vet. Arthritis is not curable, but getting advice on managing the pain and increasing joint life will assist your senior dog in living a long and active life.