7 Signs Your Dog has Arthritis
Dogs are prone to many of the same problems we are as they grow older.
Their joints get stiff, they are tired more easily and sleep longer. They can also suffer from cognitive decline. Sadly we can’t prevent the natural aging process in your canine friends, but we can minimise their discomfort.
Arthritis is a common health problem in older dogs, although it can also affect younger dogs with a genetic predisposition or joint damage. If left untreated it can cause your dog a lot of discomfort and make their life miserable. The good news is that with some proactive healthcare, you can ease the symptoms of arthritis and keep your beloved dog active for longer.
Here are some signs of arthritis to watch out for:
Does your dog seem reluctant to move around in cold, damp weather? Arthritis often flares up in cold, damp weather, and your dog will not want to venture out in such weather.
Dogs can become lame after overexerting themselves chasing balls, squirrels, and other dogs. But if the lameness persists for no apparent reason, arthritis could be the underlying cause.
A dog will instinctively lick a sore area, often obsessively. Pay attention if your dog is constantly licking his leg joints, as it means they are sore and he’s trying to alleviate the discomfort.
Change in Temperament
If a previously good-natured dog shows signs of grumpiness or even aggression, it means they are likely in pain. In an older dog, this could be caused by arthritis. It’s important to consult your vet if your dog is suddenly grumpy, to rule out any underlying health problems.
Unwilling to Go for Walks
All dogs love their daily walkies. Along with food, walks are the highlight of their day. It’s natural for an older dog to slow down as they enter their twilight years, but they should still enjoy a daily walk or two. If your dog seems reluctant to go for a walk, there will be a reason why. Have him checked out to rule out arthritis.
No Longer Able to Jump Up
Younger dogs love to jump up on beds, the sofa, and into the back of your truck. An older dog will find this more difficult, and if he can no longer jump at all, arthritis may be to blame.
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition so affected joints can feel warmer than usual. Give your dog a check over and feel his hip and elbow joints. If they feel abnormally warm, arthritis could be to blame.
Getting a Diagnosis
Sometimes it is possible to make a diagnosis of arthritis just by assessing the flexibility of the dog’s joints. If your dog can’t extend his legs or there is very little flexibility in his hips, he is likely to have arthritis. X-Rays can also confirm or rule out a diagnosis. There are also some types of arthritis that can be picked up in blood tests, but your vet will explain this during the consultation.
Treatment for Arthritis
There are various treatments for arthritis, including pain management and joint supplements.
In the first instance, it is very important that your dog is not overweight. The heavier the dog is, the more pressure it places on already taxed joints. If you are guilty of giving endless snacks to your dog, stop right away. Only feed the recommended portions and if necessary, switch to a low-calorie food to encourage weight loss.
Dog joint supplements can be really beneficial for arthritic dogs. You can purchase dog joint supplements from YuMOVE. YuMOVE sells a range of supplements for older dogs that contain proven ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, N-Acetyl-D Glucosamine, Green Lipped Mussel, and Manganese.
Supplements can be given to your dog alongside other treatments, and they will help support the joint cartilage.
Talk to your vet about new drugs being trialled, as there could be new treatments worth trying. Most vets will want to monitor your dog if drugs are prescribed to help him manage the pain, so if a new drug does become available, it’s something to discuss, your budget permitting.
Simple Pain Management Techniques
Aside from joint supplements and pain medication, there are other things you can do to help manage your dog’s arthritis.
Invest in a memory foam bed to ease his joints. A nice soft bed will be more comfortable than a hard plastic bed or the floor. Make sure you place his bed in a warm area out of the way of human traffic and drafts.
Be sensitive to your dog’s discomfort and don’t try and push him to walk faster than he is capable of. Older dogs are best left to amble along at their own pace.
Finally, always consult your vet if the treatments you try don’t seem to be working. No dog should be left in discomfort.