Watching your dog slowly develop arthritis can be heartbreaking. Seeing your fur baby in pain as they try to get up to greet you is something that no dog owner wants to go through. Sadly, though, arthritis is a reality for most older dogs, with around 80% of dogs over eight years old experiencing some form of joint pain.
Arthritis can become debilitating for dogs to the point where they can no longer walk or go potty, and experience constant pain. Sadly, for some older dogs, the constant pain means they need to be put down, even though they may have been young at heart.
So, how can you make your dog more comfortable as they age? How can you make sure your best friend’s life isn’t cut short by debilitating arthritis? In this article, we’ll discuss how to help a dog with arthritis at home. We’ll cover what to give a dog for arthritis, what helps dogs with arthritis, and tips for making your home more old-dog friendly.
A Brief Overview of Arthritis in Dogs
Just like people, dogs develop joint issues like arthritis as they age. Let’s take a quick look at the causes of arthritis in dogs, and the signs and symptoms to watch out for in your pooch as they age.
The leading cause of arthritis in dogs is age. As the years go on, dogs’ joints naturally wear down, leading to arthritis. Certain breeds of dogs are also far more likely to develop arthritis than others. These include Labradors, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Rottweilers.
Also, other joint disorders like hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, or old injuries can also cause arthritis in dogs. Excess physical activity is another cause, with athletic and working dogs more likely to develop arthritis later in life. Obesity is also a factor, as the extra weight puts too much stress on the joints.
It’s important to recognise the symptoms of diabetes in your dog early so that you can act fast and reduce your dog’s pain. Some of the early symptoms include difficulty sitting up or lying down, walking stiffly, and lameness in one or more legs.
If you have steps or stairs, you may also see your dog avoiding these, using them slowly, or refusing to use them at all. Dogs will be reluctant to jump as well. A dog that previously jumped into a car may wait to be lifted, or a dog that used to jump onto your bed may no longer do so.
How to Help a Dog With Arthritis at Home: Step-by-Step Guide to Helping a Dog With Arthritis Find Relief
Now that we’ve covered the basics of arthritis in dogs, let’s move on to how to help a dog with arthritis at home. Figuring out what to give a dog for arthritis will take some extra time and effort on your part, but it’s worth it to know that your dog is living pain-free and can enjoy being spoilt by you for years to come.
Invest in Joint Supplements That Actually Work
The first step towards helping a dog with arthritis is to get your hands on some dog supplements for arthritis. High-quality joint supplements are the best dog arthritis treatment because they not only relieve your dog’s arthritis symptoms and pain, they also protect the joints from further damage.
One thing to keep in mind is that some joint supplements contain artificial colours, flavours, and other additives that can actually be harmful to your dog. So make sure you’re spending your money on supplements that are packed full of only the ingredients you need to treat your dog’s arthritis.
At Mighty Munch, we’re obsessed with making the best arthritis treatment for dogs. Our dog meal topper is full of glucosamine, which increases the amount of cartilage and fluid in the joints to prevent joint stiffness and pain. We’ve also included methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which protects joints from arthritis by preventing the breakdown of protective cartilage around the joint.
The best part? We never use fillers, artificial flavours, or unnecessary ingredients in our arthritis treatment for dogs. All we care about is creating delicious joint supplements that will have your best friend chasing balls, jumping on your bed, and playing pain-free for many more days.
Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Inflammation makes arthritis symptoms worse in dogs, so it’s important to avoid inflammatory foods and stick to an anti-inflammatory diet. Some of the foods that should be avoided include grains and fillers like corn, bran, soybean, peanut, and modified cornstarch. Vegetables from the nightshade family including tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, and peppers are also inflammatory.
Anti-inflammatory foods can improve arthritis symptoms and reduce your dog’s pain if used regularly. Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods for dogs include quinoa, sweet potatoes, lentils, zucchini, carrots, kale, and spinach. Many fruits like mango, papaya, and blueberries are also anti-inflammatory.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercising is a big part of helping a dog with arthritis. Exercise helps keeps your dog in a healthy weight range, which reduces the amount of strain on their joints. The amount of exercise that each dog needs varies depending on age, size, and breed. You can start with 30 minutes each day and increase this if your dog isn’t tired at the end of the day.
For dogs that already have arthritis and some degree of joint pain, chasing after balls and running on the beach might no longer be suitable forms of exercise. Try a slow walk through the neighbourhood instead, or if your dog likes the water, a swim. Swimming is a low-impact activity that doesn’t put stress on your dog’s joints, so it’s a great way for them to get the exercise they need without ending up in pain.
Look into NSAIDs or Other Pain Management Drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other painkillers may be an option for helping a dog with arthritis. NSAIDs reduce inflammation and the pain associated with arthritis, helping your dog enjoy their days with more movement and fewer aches. However, long-term use of NSAIDs isn’t recommended for dogs as these drugs can cause kidney, liver, and digestive issues.
Other drugs that can be used for dog arthritis treatment include glucocorticoids. These steroids are powerful inhibitors of inflammation. Although they can reduce your dog’s pain, they shouldn’t be used on a daily basis as they can lead to urinary or heart problems.
Consider Orthopedic Support
Orthopedic support like leg and hip braces can be a really effective arthritis treatment for dogs. Braces offer support and stability, which helps take the strain off your dog’s joints and reduce their pain while they are active. Make sure you choose a brace that fits well, as you need a snug fit around the joint for the brace to work properly.
While leg and hip braces can be used for helping a dog with arthritis, they can also be used on dogs that are at risk of developing arthritis or joint issues, even when they’re still young and healthy. If your dog is a breed that’s at a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia or arthritis, consider using orthopedic support as a preventative measure.
Make Home Modifications
We can’t discuss how to help a dog with arthritis at home without discussing your actual home itself. There are several steps you can take to make your home better suited for a dog with arthritis. First, try to provide an alternative to steps and stairs. You can try using a thick plank of wood instead, for your dog to walk along.
Also, make sure your dog doesn’t need to jump. If they are welcome on your bed or the couch, have a small set of steps or a ramp for them to use, and do the same thing with your car so it’s easy (and less painful) for your dog to get in and out.
Ensure They’re Warm and Comfortable
If you’ve had arthritis yourself, you’ll know that cold mornings are the worst for joints. Joints stiffen up when cold, leading to worse arthritis pain. Make sure your home is warm, especially overnight in the room your dog sleeps in. Sometimes, what helps dogs with arthritis the most is just making sure they’re comfortable.
Having the right bed for your dog is also important. Choose a nice, warm bed for your dog that’s suitable for their size, and make sure you have plenty of blankets around that they can snuggle up under. We offer the most calming dog bed in Australia - check it out to keep your dog warm and protect their joints while they’re napping.
Try Assistive Devices for Dogs With Arthritis
Adding assistive devices to your home is another great way to keep an arthritic dog happy. Simple things like an elevated food bowl (so that your dog doesn’t have to bend down to eat) can make a big difference in your dog’s quality of life. Non-slip flooring can also help (especially on wooden or tiled floors) as it gives your dog more traction and prevents them from sliding.
For dogs with severe arthritis, a stroller or wheelchair might also be a good idea. This allows your dog to still get outside and enjoy the scents of the world without having to walk or put unnecessary strain on their sore joints.
Keep Up With a Consistent Vet Check-up Schedule
Arthritis can be treated more effectively if it’s detected earlier. As well as monitoring your dog for any changes in the way they walk or their behaviour, make sure you keep up with their vet appointments. Your vet can perform tests and exercises that may help to detect the early signs of arthritis before you’ve even noticed any symptoms in your dog.
Other Alternative Dog Arthritis Treatments
The points above explain what helps a dog with arthritis the most, but there are a few other treatments that are also worth mentioning. Some dog owners have had success using acupuncture for dog arthritis treatment, and using CBD as an arthritis treatment for dogs has also shown some positive results.
It’s best to try these less-common treatments with more proven strategies for how to help a dog with arthritis at home, like joint supplements and regular exercise.
Does Dog Arthritis Surgery Make Sense?
For some dogs with arthritis, surgery is an option. The drawback is that surgery is usually very expensive, and doesn’t always work. In the best case, surgery helps to relieve pain and make your dog more comfortable, but it doesn’t actually cure or even treat the underlying cause of your dog’s arthritis. It can be used for short-term pain relief, but doesn’t offer a long-term solution.
Final Thoughts on How to Help a Dog With Arthritis at Home
That’s everything you need to know about how to help a dog with arthritis at home. Hopefully, you can use this guide to keep your dog comfortable, pain-free, and living their life to the fullest with you for many years to come.
One of the best ways to treat your dog’s arthritis is with Mighty Munch’s dog supplements for joint health. Made from premium ingredients and free from unnecessary additives, our meal topper is the perfect supplement for dogs with arthritis and other joint problems. While you’re at it, check out our dog collagen for a smooth, sleek coat, and improve your dog’s digestion with our probiotics for dogs.
Put your best friend first. Prioritise your pet’s health with supplements from Mighty Munch.