Arthritis will affect almost every senior dog to a varying degree. However, there are many steps that a pet owner can take to delay the onset of joint pain, as well as minimize symptoms. Here, the symptoms of canine arthritis will be discussed in addition to steps for prevention.
What is Arthritis?
There are five types of arthritis experienced by dogs, but the most common form is osteoarthritis. With this degenerative joint disease, the cartilage that cushions the joints in a dog’s knees and hips begins to deteriorate, creating the sensation of bone grinding on bone. Movement becomes painful, and dogs experience decreased mobility and range of motion.
Arthritis Symptoms in Dogs
The symptoms of arthritis in dogs often go unnoticed until the pain has become unbearable for a pet. Symptoms include:
- Pain when touched
- Difficulty standing after rest
- Joint swelling
- Reluctance to exercise
- Licking of paws or joints
- Changes in personality
- Urinating indoors
- Muscle atrophy
- Changes in weight
How to Prevent Arthritis in Dogs
There are many ways to maintain a dog’s joint health throughout its life. These include:Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Dogs are not meant to carry extra weight on their frames. Even a few extra pounds can cause major wear and tear on a dog’s joints. Indeed, the main risk factor for arthritis is obesity. Keep your dog at a healthy weight throughout its lifetime to prevent and manage arthritis pain.Lifelong Exercise
Exercise has numerous benefits for dogs, including arthritis prevention. Even a short walk can strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding a dog’s joints. In addition, exercise is important for good circulation and mobility. For dogs already suffering from arthritis, light exercise is recommended to minimize pain and weakness.Joint Protection
Most dogs love to jump off furniture or out of vehicles. However, jumping onto hard surfaces can cause microdamage to a dog’s joints and create problems later in life. Do not allow your dog to jump from a vehicle onto concrete and instead use pet steps.Joint Protection Supplements
Several supplements are available that can help protect your dog’s joints as he or she ages. Collagen, gelatin, coconut oil, fish oil, glucosamine, and chondroitin are all common supplements fed to dogs for their joint protective properties.
While arthritis is inevitable to some degree, the pain can be largely prevented and managed. Use of Actijoy products can help pet parents identify arthritis symptoms sooner, as well as delay the onset of pain by helping keep pets both fit and active.
Please note: all dogs should be treated as individuals. The Actijoy blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In the case of emergency, always seek qualified health care from a local veterinarian or emergency facility. Actijoy blogs are not designed to treat, diagnose, or prescribe medication for your pet.