The last thing any dog owner wants is to see their pup in pain. Unfortunately, pain is often a part of the aging process. Just like us, our dogs can develop chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, as they get older. Arthritis is extremely common in senior dogs, with osteoarthritis affecting an estimated 20% of adult dogs.
At Dog Quality, our top priority is to support senior dogs in their aging journey and give them the dignity they deserve. While arthritis will likely limit your dog’s mobility and slow him down, no dog should have to suffer in pain. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage your dog’s arthritis at home to ensure his final years are some of his best. Here’s how.
Types of Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis in dogs, as it is in humans, is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation in the joints. For dogs, arthritis can be caused by a number of factors, including infection (especially from ticks), trauma or immune system disorders. While the condition can affect any dog, regardless or size, age or breed, larger breeds (such as golden retrievers or German shepherds) have a higher chance of developing arthritis. Weight and age also increase your dog’s risk of arthritis.
There are a few different types of arthritis and joint diseases in dogs that can cause varying degrees of pain and discomfort. If your dog is suffering from chronic joint inflammation, he may have one of the following conditions.
Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease: The most common form of arthritis in dogs, this condition occurs when the cartilage surrounding the joints becomes destroyed. When intact, the cartilage allows the joints to move freely without pain. As the cartilage deteriorates, the bones rub against each other, causing your dog pain.
Inflammatory Joint Disease: This condition is most often caused by an infection, such as bacterial or fungal infection, tick-borne disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It does not cause the cartilage to deteriorate, but causes inflammation, swelling and pain in the joints.
Dysplasia: Dysplasia is a genetic developmental disease that leads to the malformation of the joints. Most commonly affecting the hips, knees and elbows, this misalignment of the joints gradually causes the cartilage to deteriorate. While medications can help to relieve symptoms of dysplasia, dogs with elbow, knee or hip dysplasia often need surgery to prevent pain.
Support Your Senior Dog’s Arthritis at Home
If you have a senior dog with arthritis, you’re probably wondering what you can do at home to help your pup feel better as soon as possible. While arthritis in dogs can’t be cured, it can be managed with various methods and products to improve your dog’s quality of life.
Weight Management: The best way to treat any medical condition is to prevent it from developing in the first place. Ensuring your dog maintains a healthy weight can reduce his risk of getting arthritis, and if he already has the condition, it will reduce the wear and tear on his joints. If your senior dog is overweight, talk to your veterinarian about weight management techniques for dogs to improve your pup’s pain and mobility.
Exercise: While your dog’s mobility may be limited due to his arthritis, that doesn’t mean exercise is off the table. Dogs with arthritis should still get moving, but it’s best to exercise your dog in shorter intervals. Try going for two 15-minute walks each day, rather than one longer walk, and stick to light or moderate activities. If your dog’s mobility is severely compromised as a result of his condition, our Dogger stroller is the perfect solution. Your pup can walk for as long as he’s able, and then enjoy the rest of his time outside from the comfort of the stroller.
Vitamin-rich Diet: Just like humans need certain vitamins and minerals to thrive, dogs benefit from healthy, vitamin-rich foods too. According to various studies, a diet rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can reduce inflammation, prevent further cartilage damage and decrease arthritis symptoms in dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about how to include more EPA-rich foods in your dog’s diet.
Grippers Dog Socks: If you have hardwood floors or other slippery surfaces in your home, chances are your dog has slipped a time or two. This might be cute when your pup is young and agile, but for arthritic dogs, this can cause serious pain. Our Grippers dog socks give senior dogs with joint issues the grip they need to walk on slippery surfaces, like tile or hardwood. They’re a comfortable, affordable way to help stabilize your older dog on difficult indoor surfaces.
Couch and Bed Ramps: Even simple tasks, like getting up and down from beds and couches, can be a challenge for senior dogs with arthritis. If your dog’s condition has made it difficult for him to climb up for a snuggle, our Gentle Rise dog ramp makes it easy. It provides a gradual slope with a padded, non-slip surface so your dog can get into your bed without pain. It’s a win-win for you and your dog.
We all want the best for our pups, from the day we bring them home to the day we have to say goodbye. We need to pay attention to our dogs’ behaviours so we know if they’re in pain, and find ways to support them well into their senior years. Pain doesn’t have to take over your dog’s life. Check out the entire Dog Quality line of products for senior dogs to ensure your pup ages with grace and dignity.