Did you know that arthritis is one of the most common ailments we see in older dogs? In fact, according to the Arthritis Foundation, one in five of all adult pooches are afflicted. The numbers are even higher with senior dogs: 65% of dogs over seven have arthritis. A Pickerington, OH vet lists discusses this painful condition below.
Your pooch can’t tell you if he’s feeling sore, so you’ll need to watch for warning signs. Limping is often the first thing people notice. At first, Fido may only limp briefly when he first gets up. However, as your canine pal’s condition worsens, so will his limp. Your dog may also become less playful, and may lick or nibble at specific areas, usually the legs, paws, or the base of his tail. He may have trouble catching a ball or jumping into his favorite chair. Some pups become cranky when they don’t feel well, while others withdraw.
Arthritis cannot be cured, but there are treatments available. Laser therapy is a great option in many cases, and can make a huge difference. We love watching old dogs becoming playful again! Your vet may recommend supplements and/or dietary changes. Fish oil, for example, will help lubricate Fido’s bones and joints. You may also want to look into massage. A good massage is just as therapeutic and soothing for pets as it is for people!
There are also some things you can do at home to keep Fido comfortable. A good bed is a must. We recommend orthopedic beds for arthritic pets. If your furry pal has a thin coat, he may appreciate a heated bed or a thermal blanket, especially in winter. Proper activity is also important. Although you don’t want to overexert Fido, it’s important to keep his muscles strong, so they don’t atrophy. Exercise will help keep your canine friend at a healthy weight, which is the next thing on our list. Don’t let Fido get pudgy! Obesity can really aggravate painful bone/joint conditions. If you know or suspect that your pooch is overweight, ask your vet for tips on helping him trim down. Last but not least, you may want to get your pup some pet ramps or stairs.
Please reach out to us, your Pickerington, OH vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about caring for your dog. We’re here to help!