Dogs do not often show their owners when they are in pain. This characteristic goes back to the days of living in the wild when they needed to hide any weakness from predators. Unfortunately, 75% of all dogs will experience some form of arthritis by the time they reach 10 years old. Signs your dog is in pain include limping, rising slowly, hesitance to jump in a car, or less interest in playing. When you notice these symptoms you should take your dog to the veterinarian to get diagnosed and start treatment. There are a number of things you can do to help alleviate the pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID) are on the market that can help with the pain, but they will not repair damaged cartilage. These medications can also have adverse side effects such as kidney or liver disease.
Steroids for dogs
Veterinarians regularly give steroids to dogs for arthritis pain. It is used only on a temporary basis to relieve the inflammation. Steroids can also have adverse side effects so your dog will need to be monitored.
Dogs that have terrible pain or joint damage may be recommended for surgery to replace the joint. This is usually performed as a last resort as there are risks involved.
Joint Supplements for dogs
Joint supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, work wonders at decreasing inflammation. These supplements occur naturally in the body and have no side effects. In addition to relieving pain and inflammation, they can also help cartilage to fix itself. It may take four to six weeks before you notice a difference. The only drawback is that once a dog starts taking this supplement, it will need to continue taking them for the rest of its life. If stopped, the cartilage will degenerate over time. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a pain reliever that should be used along with glucosamine. It sends sulfur to the joints making cartilage stronger and more elastic.
Many veterinarians recommend that arthritic dogs be taken for walks regularly throughout the day. The exercise will help to strengthen muscles and keep the joint pain from worsening. Regular exercise along with diet will also help to keep your dog’s weight down which will be less stress on the joints.
Nutrition is another area that can help dogs with arthritis. Grains should be eliminated as much as possible to reduce inflammation. Many dry dog foods contain more grain than is advisable so read labels and make sure grains are not high on the ingredient list. It is preferable to have no grains. Citrus fruits should be avoided also. Increase the fiber with extra vegetables. When you steam vegetables, give the water to your dog. It is known to flush toxins out. Dogs need to stay hydrated so fluid will be returned to the joints.
Keep your dog comfortable with a soft warm place to sleep. The hard floor can cause pain in the joints. If you live in colder climates, there are heated dog beds for sale considered safe to use. The warmth from gentle massage can also help relieve pain and keep the joints flexible.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment that can help relieve joint pain as it creates energy flow to the areas that need it. Ask your veterinarian whether it is right for your dog. They can also refer you to a trained professional.
Although there are many treatments for a dog with arthritis, you should always confer with your veterinarian first. He or she will be able to diagnose which type of arthritis your dog has. This will help when considering treatment or therapy. Always ask questions about safety and possible side effects of any treatment. If you do not like or cannot afford the recommended treatment, ask for alternatives. Your dog will live a much happier life if the pain is at a minimum.
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Copyright © Bully Max llc 2014. Article by: Linda Courtney