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I grew up living in a very cold area during the winter months, with a guaranteed few feet of snow November-February, so my dog's arthritis became horrible during these months in his last few years of life. Our vet actually told us to give him half of a children's aspirin each morning. It was amazing the effect it had on him. It was quite noticeable when we would forget because his movements were much slower and he was unable to run. I'd suggest talking to your vet about this before giving your dog any aspirin though, simply because it depends on the size of the animal, etc. Best of luck though.
I have actually done some recent articles on this subject. Arthritis is becoming more common in dogs and cats and the symptoms are more and more severe. This might sound like a sales pitch but its not and it has to do with your dogs stuff. I wouldn't go as far getting a stroller or anything like that some people get a little carried away. Some recommendations could be to purchase an orthopedic dog bed for your pet, get the elevated feeders to take away strain away, and if the situation is bad enough get some pet stairs if they are allowed on the bed or couch to keep the impact low. I would also recommend taking your pet to the vet, they often times have certain foods and pills that can help ease the pain.
I have an article posted on <snip> about cats and osteoarthritis that might be a good side read (if you can't get to it you can just search my name brian spilner to see my article - they are weird about that). But as for mitigating the pain your dog is experiencing it is going to be to make your home as comfortable as possible. The purchases can get expensive but there are some great sites that offer good deals on what you might not have like <snip>.
Exercise is very important to keep them stretched and mobile (just like a human) just be sure to make it as low impact as possible. There is not a lot you can buy for this, just gradual increments to build strength back. But this is tough to watch your dog go through when it gets bad. But you can help ease their pain. Hope this helps!
Heat treatment is popular for human arthritis sufferers so I would imagine it would also be useful for dogs. You could consider using something like a SnuggleSafe microwave heat pad.
My JRT is showing signs of artheritis. When the weather is cold he has trouble jumping onto the bed or sofa, and is a little gimpy. I gave him buffered aspirin whenever he seemed to be especially uncomfortable. I good book on dog and cat first aid is The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats by Amy D. Shojai.
I've seen heat work (hot water bottle only). I have also know making sure your dog moves every day, when the weather is warm. My neighbor tells me he sees his dog is much less stiff in the summer when Alex talks short walks.
There's actually a product called Metacam, the generic drug is called Meloxicam. It is specifically for long term pain management in dogs. It is an aspirin derivative that is easier on the stomach for long term use. Unfortunately Metacam is really expensive. If your Vet can get the generic version it is much cheaper. It's a flavored liquid so really easy to give your pet also, unlike tablets.
You should also give Glucosamine. It will help over the long term to prevent anymore joint degradation.
Other than that, having them swim for exercise rather than run is great if you can manage it. Using proper pet heating pads and thick beds for sleeping. Just ensure there is a blanket between your dog and the heating pad so they don't get burns.
You can also give your dog massages and if you have any holistic vets in your area, you can also give them acupuncture for pain relief.
Hope this helps!
I used to work for an animal physical therapy office. As you may imagine, we got a lot of dogs that were suffering from arthritis. There's a multitude of stretching exercises you preform on your dog that will help out with the pain and limberness. Also full on swimming might be a little rough on the dog depending on how bad the arthritis is, and so is running. The best is to find a place that has an underwater treadmill. They raise the water up enough so the dog is partially buoyant but still able to walk. This relieves a lot of tension and lets them exercise without a lot of pain. See Spot Swim is a chain that does this but I can't say where else they have these.
Our 14-year-old mutt, Tasha, developed canine arthritis recently, and I've done a lot of research on this one. The steps we've taken seem to be helping her; she gets up and down more easily, has resumed chasing squirrels in the backyard, and reminding me (with nips) when it's dinner time. Of course, that doesn't mean a similar program will help your dog. Each case, and each individual, is different.
We started Tasha off with regular glucosamine, the stuff people take. However, dogs and humans have vastly different metabolisms, and many of the things that help people can be toxic and dangerous for dogs. For example, raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, and macadamia nuts are all poisonous to dogs and can kill them if too much is ingested.
So rather than continue to give her people glucosamine, I shopped on eBay and got her Cosequin, which is a glucosamine-based supplement balanced for dogs. It costs more, but seems to help her more, which is the entire point of the exercise.
We also bought her a memory-foam bed. These are expensive, so rather than dive in and pay $300+ for a six-inch thick one, I decided to buy a thinner and less expensive ($75) one from Petco online, and see if it helped her before shelling out the bigger bucks. I'm glad I did, because this three-inch thick slab of memory foam is almost too thick; she wobbles when she steps up onto it, and if it was any thicker, she couldn't climb into bed.
It does help her. She is less stiff upon rising and sleeps more deeply, without getting up and down trying to make herself comfortable.
For more severe cases, or for cooler climates (we're in the extreme south of the U.S.), there are versions with heating pads built in for gentle (not above 85 degrees F) warmth. Note: memory foam is not egg-shell or convoluted (sp?) foam. Get the real stuff.
We also started Tasha on Adequan injections with the vet. This is a natural synovial fluid, injected directly into the arthritic joint. It's fairly expensive at around $35-40 a pop, and it takes four to six injections to "load" the dog's system, then there's a gradual tapering off with the aim of one shot per month being a maintenance dose. Some dogs need more, of course, and others will need less. Again, this is helping our Tasha, but each person must decide an appropriate financial outlay for his or her own situation.
Gentle exercise is very good for arthritic dogs, as it keeps the joints more supple and helps the synovial fluid to move through them. We encourage Tasha to "walk the back forty" around the yard every day, and she's the better for it.
We've also put her on Tramadol, a prescription painkiller. It's much safer for dogs than aspirin or any other human painkiller, and doesn't carry the danger of long-term GI tract damage that other NSAIDs have.
However, we refused to use the Rimadyl that the vet also prescribed for Tasha, as my online research showed the side effects to include liver and kidney damage and potentially death. Tasha's already fought (and won) cancer; we just couldn't risk her any further.
Hope this helps.
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