Is your dog not as active or energetic as before?
Does your dog spend more time sleeping than playing?
The problem could be in his joints!
It’s so common for humans to develop arthritis as we age that we don't give it much thought. Unfortunately, this condition can affect our canine friends as well. Arthritis in dogs occur when there is a thinning of fluid that normally acts to lubricate the joints, often in aging pets. This causes increased bone on bone contact, more friction, and irritation. Genetic factors as well as other lifestyle elements all can play a role in the development of arthritis.
How common is arthritis in dogs?
As far as ailments go, osteoarthritis is the number one cause of chronic pain in dogs. The condition affects more than 1 in 5 dogs, with the prevalence being twice as high in canines that are 7 years old or older.
Do only older dogs get arthritis? How is it diagnosed?
While it is typically found in older dogs, younger pets have also become more affected recently so it’s important to keep an eye out for the signs. Arthritis in dogs is usually diagnosed through a physical exam, their background and history, as well as clinical experience. Any changes with the body and joints can be seen on radiographs, MRIs, and arthroscopy.
What types of arthritis can dogs develop?
Dogs can be susceptible to developing other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, spondylitis, spinal stenosis, or spondylosis.
What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?
If you suspect that your dog may be exhibiting symptoms of having arthritis or joint pain, here are some telltale signs to watch out for:
stiffness when getting up or lying down
experiencing pain after they exercise
being slower than usual on walks
being reluctant to jump or climb the stairs
Luckily, these symptoms can be alleviated through natural means. By starting treatment early on, you can help to slow the progressions of arthritis and improve your dog’s overall quality of life.
Diet & nutrition plays an important role
To treat your dog holistically using natural remedies, one of the first factors to evaluate is their lifestyle. Figuring out the proper diet and nutrition for your pet can do wonders for turning their symptoms around. One step would be to reduce the amount of carbs and grains that they consume, and instead start to incorporate dark-coloured vegetables as well as fruits into the diet. Much like the foods that cause inflammation in humans (i.e. fat, sugar, dairy products, and nightshades including eggplants, tomatoes, and potatoes), these foods can also cause excess inflammation in dogs.
In substitution, you can try to feed your dog foods that are rich in antioxidants such as berries and kale. Papaya, alfalfa, celery, and ginger are also superfoods that can be beneficial for pets suffering from arthritis.
Exercise and weight loss
After taking a look at your dog’s nutritional habits, it would be a good idea to help them lose some weight if they are either obese or overweight. In both these cases, dogs may be more likely to have mobility issues. This is because weight loss helps by reducing the pressure applied on their joints, thereby minimizing arthritic pain.
Don’t give up on their exercise routine! Instead, try going for shorter, more frequent walks instead of long ones in order to ease the pressure on their limbs. Also, make sure that their nails are kept trim so that the length doesn’t affect your dog’s natural gait.
Physical therapy (PT) can supplement exercise; sessions may include stretching and strengthening programs that can improve your dog’s well being.
Holistic and homeopathic remedies
Another method for treating arthritis pain is to apply gentle massage, which can reduce discomfort from symptoms as well as minimize stress. As a dual treatment, you can combine the relaxation effects of massage with the healing powers of heat for added efficacy.
Lastly, alternative holistic treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic care provide further options that may be worth looking into if other solutions don’t seem to provide relief. They can also be used in conjunction with any of the more traditional methods; more conventional vets have now adopted the use of these holistic techniques to help treat dogs with arthritis.
Placing your dog on a glucosamine-type supplement may also help with arthritis
symptoms. When choosing these supplements opt for a formula that combines glucosamine, chondroitin and turmeric in one supplement. All of these are compounds that work to slow the breakdown of cartilage, thus maintaining overall joint health and providing pain relief and support.
If you choose to go the all natural route, try a homeopathic remedy such as WALK-EASY. This 100% natural plant and salt remedy reduces joint inflammation, relieves stiffness and lessens the pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in pets.
Why use natural remedies to treat your pet's arthritis?
The practical aim of homeopathic and natural pet remedies is to address underlying health issues. At times, traditional medications only act as a band-aid solution which may temporarily remove symptoms of pain but fail to resolve the deeper issue.
If you do choose to use traditional medication to treat your pet, try putting them on the lowest recommended dose and supplementing that with homeopathic and natural remedies. In general, you should always consult your vet before giving your dog any medications.
How would I know if the treatment is working?
You can test the effectiveness of any of the treatment solutions outlined above by keeping a record in a health journal, in order to track which treatments are tested and how well they work.
With proper care and treatment, your dog can get back to feeling like themselves and living their life healthy and pain-free.