8 Natural Ways to Manage Your Dog's Osteoarthritis
Dogs face many of the same health problems as humans such as arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 20% of all adult dogs have arthritis. For older dogs of 7 years of age and up, that number goes up to 65%. If your dog is suffering from this condition, there are several ways to make them more comfortable.
What is the most common type of dog arthritis?
While there are several types of dog arthritis, the most common is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs due to the loss of cartilage. Typically, a dog’s cartilage wears away a little at a time. Cartilage is important as it provides a cushion for your dog’s bones. Without this cushion, your dog’s joints become subject to more wear and tear and inflamed. Some symptoms include:
- Generalized pain, with acute pain during walks.
- Stiffness in the morning and post naps.
- Restriction of joint movement.
- Decrease in activity.
- Whimpering in pain.
You should speak to your veterinarian to make sure your dog does have osteoarthritis. Some conditions can mimic the symptoms of osteoarthritis, so you want to rule out any other issues.
Here are 8 natural ways to manage your dog's osteoarthritis:
1. Weight Management
One recommended treatment is weight management. If your dog is overweight, it is likely that this is contributing to their joint pain. The less that your dog weighs, the less pressure they will be placing on their skeleton and joints. Speak to your veterinarian on changing your dog’s eating habits to make sure they are at their ideal weight.
2. Joint Supplements
Joint supplements are a common treatment for osteoarthritis. Some commons supplements that can help with joint mobility and functioning are glucosamine and chondroitin. Both are said to assist with cartilage repair. You can often find these supplements in certain dog foods or as oral supplements. Some additional supplements are methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). omega-3 fatty acids, and turmeric.
Moderate exercise can help a dog’s joint health, even if already suffering from osteoarthritis. In addition to walks, there are several exercises that can target certain muscle groups of your dog. Speak to your vet on their recommendations.
4. A Supportive Dog Bed
Dog’s spend much of their life sleeping or laying down. According to Dog Endorsed, without a supportive dog bed, dogs can put excess pressure on certain areas of their body. A memory foam or orthopedic dog bed can reduce pressure points and pain for your dog. Additionally, your dog may get a better night’s sleep when more comfortable.
5. Home Modifications
There are several steps you can take at home to reduce pressure on your dog’s joints. For example, you can install ramps, steps, slip-free flooring, and area rugs. Some dogs also have no issues wearing boots, which help them walk more easily on surfaces.
Massaging your dog can reduce their pain, inflammation, and stiffness in their joints. It does this by increasing circulation, breaking up adhesions in the connective tissue, and loosening tight muscles and tissues around the joint. You can learn massage on your own or hire someone who is certified as an animal massage therapist.
While acupuncture is popular with humans, it is also safe for use on dogs by a trained professional. Acupuncture can help a dog naturally produce pain-relieving chemicals and substances that are anti-inflammatory. You will want to find someone trained in Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM).
Heat therapy can provide temporary relief to your dog by relieving stiffness in their joints. It also increases blood flow, which can help remove toxins from the cells. Note: make sure that the heating pad is not too hot, so you don’t harm your dog.
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, these 8 natural treatments above can assist with relieving your dog’s pain and discomfort. As with any treatment for your dog, speak to your veterinarian before. I wish your dog luck in feeling better and happier.