Does your dog show signs of pain, have difficulty walking, and struggles with regular physical activity? If so, he probably suffers from osteoarthritis, a common disease in older dogs, which can rapidly cause suffering in your pet. Fortunately, we can offer some tips which should relieve any suffering that your companion is feeling. As a consequence, he will start to feel much better and will be less prone to the suffering caused by this disease during the rest of his life.
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs
Osteoarthritis is manifested by pain in both bones and joints which cause increasing amounts of pain to your pet. This disease can quickly become very distressing for your four-legged friend, and although old age is one of the most common causes, obesity and lack of exercise are also triggers for this debilitating disease. Canine osteoarthritis can affect the knees as well as hips or the spine.
You’ll notice that your dog will start to reduce his physical activity; he will show less and less inclination to be his previous bouncy self, to run about and to play with you. He’ll show a tendency to avoid any activity that involves the effected limb. Do not lightly dismiss the fact that your dog has started to limp!
The more advanced the osteoarthritis, the more likely it is that your dog will cry out or whimper whilst on the move, showing you that some movements are too painful for her to carry out. Do not try to touch the limb(s) that are affected, as she may behave aggressively. To get more about the subject, don’t hesitate to consult your vet.
The different means of osteoarthritis prevention
Is your dog getting older, not exercising a lot, but still osteoarthritis-free? If so, it’s worth taking steps to minimize the likelihood of it occurring – or hopefully prevent it from happening altogether. Here are some tips to prevent osteoarthritis from occurring and the pain that comes with it:
- Watch your pet’s diet: As previously stated, obesity can be one of the causes of osteoarthritis in dogs. An overweight dog will place more stress on his joints than a dog with a normal physique. Make an appointment with a vet to get good advice on a diet that’s suitable for your pet’s requirements and condition.
- Take him to the vet: do not let a joint injury or a slight limp go untreated, even when he’s not showing obvious signs of distress, as you may be storing up problems for the future. Treat him properly, even when minor injuries manifest themselves, and your dog will be forever in your debt! Keep an eye on him, and watch for any signs that your dog may be giving out that something’s not quite right.
- Exercise: It is important for a dog to stay physically healthy to prevent illness from occurring. Take him for regular walks, sometimes long, sometimes short, so that you can both enjoy a moment of sharing time and bonding together.
Our advice to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis in your dog
- Make sure your dog enjoys regular physical activity: Although your dog has osteoarthritis, he should not stop doing sports. It goes without saying that extreme sports are not for him, but a walk in the park can only do him good. One or two fifteen-minute walks a day is a good way for him to stay in shape. Stairs are not recommended for dogs with osteoarthritis, but on the other hand swimming is a sport highly recommended by vets. Sport allows for the proper functioning of muscles and therefore the joints that are associated with them.
- Put your dog somewhere away from the cold: indeed, cold can aggravate canine osteoarthritis, and the same is true of humidity. Your companion must stay as warm and as dry as possible. Create a special place for him in your home or apartment where he can rest and lie down while being in the warm. You may also apply warm compresses to her aching joints.
- Provide a more suitable living space: it goes without saying that a dog with osteoarthritis will not be able to do as much as a healthy dog. For example, you can raise her bowl of water and bowl of food to avoid her having to bend down to get them. You can also provide ramps to get on and off a car after a walk.
- Massage: A massage in the right place can be very beneficial for your dog’s circulation and joints. Your dog will feel much more relaxed and the massage will improve his sense of well-being. Remember to ask your vet about massage techniques or contact a professional dog massager who will be aware of which techniques not to use – this could worsen your dog’s condition.
- Try out Chinese medicine: you will meet some vets who are specialized in acupuncture. This method of treatment has proved to show good results in relieving canine osteoarthritis. Acupuncture works by placing needles on specific places where the animal is suffering, which can bring him well-being and comfort when confronted with the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Seek regular updates on your pet’s condition: take your dog to the vet frequently; this will enable you to keep up-to-date on the progress of his illness and possible treatments which need to be followed.
- Watch out for any fluctuations in your pet’s weight: make sure your dog does not become overweight. Indeed, as explained above, too much body mass can worsen the health of a dog already suffering from osteoarthritis. Limit food portions, and keep a note of what he’s eating at mealtimes. Make sure you give him foods that are adapted to his state of health.
Our treats and sticks which can relieve pain in dogs’ joints
At True Leaf, we’ve developed a formula specifically designed for dogs who, as they age, have joints and hips which wear out: True Hemp Hip & Joint. This formula contains ground hemp leaves and seeds that are rich in omega 3 and 6. It also contains turmeric root, known to be a powerful natural antioxidant that protects dogs’ bodies. This root has effects similar to those of NSAIDs, which act by suppressing the production and catabolic action of pro-inflammatory substances that play a role in the progression of osteoarthritis. And finally, the Hip & Joint range is made from New Zealand green mussels. According to one study, the green mussel helps the human or canine body fight inflammation and reduce osteoarthritis. This plant is rich in nutrients, and it improves the stability of the immune system.
At True Leaf we know that certain diseases such as osteoarthritis can be physically painful and can cause anxiety in our pets, so we’ve developed hemp products which offer a source of protein that’s not available from any other ingredient. This can considerably improve our dogs’ quality of life.
If you want more information about this, please do not hesitate to contact us!