Here are some easy-to-implement changes you can make for your dog's wellbeing and comfort.
Short But Steady Exercise
Your dog needs to keep moving to prevent joint stiffness, even though your friend may be less than enthusiastic about going out for walks. Rather than long walks, try focusing on short walks up and downhills. Walking up and down an incline will help your dog's overall stability, balance, and strength. Short walks like these will also help restore any muscle loss in your dog's legs.
Instead of going out for one long walk each day, a dog with arthritis will better tolerate more frequent and shorter walks.
Your vet can also help you set some exercise goals so that you can keep track of your dog's fitness. Different dogs will do well with varying amounts of exercise.
Keep a record of which exercises make your dog's symptoms worse and which ones your friend tolerates well. If a 30-minute walk works well, make a note of it. Arthritis is progressive, so what works now may not work next year.
Revise Your Dog's Nutrition
You may wish to set some nutrition goals with your vet. Your dog's weight has a significant impact on their joints and, therefore, on their comfort and mobility. Discuss the nutrition your dog is getting, and look at anything you need to add or take out from their diet.
Check with your vet on which foods to avoid. Certain foods cause inflammation, while others can relieve it. You can use natural foods such as kale, celery, alfalfa, ginger, papaya, and blueberries, which can be blended into a smoothie and added to your dog's diet. However, be sure to get your vet's approval on making these or other additions to your dog's food.
Some commercial dog foods are available to help relieve arthritis pain that includes some of the above foods. Or you can make your own pain relief food by simmering 2 parts quinoa or lentils with 8 parts fruits or vegetables for 1 hour. Add in some cooked chicken if you wish, and use it as a supplementary food.
Help your dog keep a healthy weight by reducing portion sizes at mealtime, limiting the number of treats your dog receives, and increasing your dog's exercise. To get a better idea of how much your dog is consuming, as well as his or her activity level, the Actijoy Buddy Pack is recommended as owners will be able to see a personalized snapshot of their dog's eating and activity habits.
Get a Comfy Bed
Now is not the time to make your dog climb up onto furniture. Your friend's joints are painful, so make this process as easy as possible.
Dog ramps are brilliant for helping aging dogs move around gently. Consider getting a ramp for your bed, like a Chasing Tails or another model that can also be useful for getting in and out of the car. Because walking on an incline can also help your dog's stability, these ramps are perfect for helping your friend get to their favorite spots despite joint pain.
If your friend needs help getting up the ramp, you can use a rolled towel underneath their front legs as a makeshift harness or get an appropriate body harness to assist your friend.
If your pet doesn't sleep on your bed, you may want an orthopedic dog bed. These beds have a thick layer of foam for maximum comfort. Some beds are even heated for added comfort.
Definitely avoid raised beds that are difficult to climb in and out of.
Offer Lots of Love
When we aren't feeling well, we appreciate cuddles even more, and it's no different for your dog. With loving-kindness and patience, your dog can have many more comfortable years despite arthritis.
Overall, taking a proactive approach to your dog's health is the best way to keep arthritis symptoms and pain from becoming unbearable for your pet.