If you notice that your dog is finding it difficult to move, getting tired and irritable quickly or developing stiffness in their joints, they may be arthritic. You will need a diagnosis for osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), from the vet – and they will usually prescribe a combination of painkillers and therapeutic treatment. You may feel lost about how best to look after your dog after a diagnosis, but there are a few simple things that you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy. Here are a few tips that will help you take care of your furry friend once they have been diagnosed with arthritis.
Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for a dog developing arthritis, although larger breeds, genetics, and age also increase chances that arthritic joints may be developed. The best thing you can do to help your dog if they have osteoarthritis is to make sure that they have a healthy and balanced diet that is high in nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids and lean cuts of meat.
Here are some of the best foods to feed your dog if they have arthritis:
- Fresh salmon, sardines, and mackerel to ensure they get enough Omega 3 as possible.
- Sweet potatoes contain amino acids which aid in building muscle.
- Turmeric famously contains anti-inflammatory compounds as these will help reduce stiffness and pain.
An improved diet is one of the best ways to care for your dog after an arthritis diagnosis because it will give them enough energy to keep them active.
Make Them Comfortable
Arthritis is a very uncomfortable condition for a dog to live with, and you may see them chewing painful joints and bones in discomfort. One of the best things you can do is to create a comfortable bedding area for them and ensure that you accommodate all their needs – you may need to fit ramps on the stairs and store one in the car to help if your dog is unable to jump up or down. When considering how to help a dog with arthritis at home, you need to assess their individual needs and modify your home accordingly, arthritis can’t be reversed, but it can be managed and treated at home.
Don’t Stop Walking Them
Although your dog may have restrictions in relation to their movement and will be unable to go for long walks, regular exercise is still mandatory. Little and often is the best approach you can take towards walking your dog; it is best that you consult your vet to get the best advice on what level of exercise is best for your pet. Learning how to help a dog with arthritis at home is key to maintaining their wellbeing. As a general rule, it is best not to continue high-impact or prolonged exercise to allow your dog to rest their joints. But regular exercise will help to loosen joints and maintain supporting muscle mass.
It can be difficult to learn that your dog has arthritis, but there are lots of things that you can do that will help make their life more comfortable and ease their pain.
Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.