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Seven Best Things You Can Do For Your Dog With Arthritis

Updated on February 10, 2008

You've just learned that your favorite pet dog has developed arthritis and it breaks your heart. We all know how painful and difficult this condition is with people.

Unfortunately it is not any different when it comes to dogs. While it hurts to see your dog in pain, you can help him or her cope with this terrible illness.

An estimated 10 million dogs in the United States have been diagnosed with arthritis, and 31 percent of dog owners say that bone and joint problems are an issue for their pets. About 30 percent in the US and UK are diagnosed with arthritis.

Seven Great Things To Do For Your Dog With Arthritis

  1. Cut back on the fattening doggie treats.

    If your dog is overweight, that extra weight is adding to strain on the joints and the pain of arthritis. Losing a few pounds will absolutely help with both the strain and the pain. If your dog is not overweight, you want to keep him or her that way. Dogs with arthritis tend to move around less and are then getting less exercise. Try to feed him or her a diet that keeps them at a healthy weight.

  2. Take him for a short walk.

    Even though movement may be uncomfortable or painful, exercise is actually a good thing for dogs with arthritis. The movement helps your dog maintain a good weight. Exercise strengthens the muscles and joint. Exercise is fun for most dogs and enhances the quality of their life. Short walks are better than long ones. See more on exercise and dogs with arthritis.

  3. Apply moist heat.

    Moist heat penetrates muscles deeply and can provide welcome relief to joints. Take a hot water bottle or a towel soaked in warm water then wrung out, and apply to the aching joint. If you use a heating pad, stay with the dog and monitor him or her. Some pads can get very hot, too hot for a dog, especially if he or she can't get up very well.

  4. Give her a short massage.

    A mild rub and also help relieve pain. Gently rub around the sore joint and massage the surrounding muscle. This gentle kneading and the heat from your hands should ease some of the pain. Do not use muscle or massage creams like peppermint oils. You dog may find the sensation disturbing or painful.

  5. Make sure he has an appropriate bed.

    A warm, comfortable bed goes a long way to keeping your dog comfortable. Try an orthopedic memory foam dog bed. This foam uses body temperature and weight to mold itself to your dog's exact shape. This type of custom support helps your dog to get comfortable and relieve pressure from the joints that he finds are sore.

  6. Follow Your Vet's Orders
  7. Let me preface that. Make sure you get a professional diagnosis from a veterinarian. Just because Fido is a little stiff legged, may indicate arthritis, but there are other conditions that also may the case. And there are different types of arthritis that may call for different therapies. It is best to get a professional diagnosis. Then, actually follow the therapies, medications, and/or exercises your vet gives. And never give your dog human medications.
  8. Avoid Injury

    Consider situations and make sure your dog is not over extending himself. Him running is OK; jogging a mile-not a good idea (some days he might look and act really great, but you still have to take care). Take easy walks on level ground. Keep stair climbing to a minimum, especially on bad days. And quickly attend to injuries if they do occur. This is just a precaution used to minimize further damage to the joints and cartilage.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      I've been doing everything I can to prevent my dog from developing arthritis. Thank you for the great tips. After seeing my grandparents suffer from it, I know how hard it can be, and for my dog to go through it in so much pain, I would be heartbroken. I also wish that there was some kind of supplement that I can mix into her food so that it will help strengthen her joints. My dog hates swallowing pills so it would be best if it was available to mix in with my dog's snacks or daily meals. I know I can't prevent her from aging, but I want to give her the best care that I can.