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Making Life Easier For Your Arthritic Canine

By Debby Robinson

A lot of dogs suffer from arthritis, and thus have trouble moving around easily. It can begin early in their lives, though it typically emerges during their senior years. The disease grows progressively worse as they continue to use the affected limbs. Eventually, it impairs their movement to the point where it impacts their quality of life.

In some cases, the pain of moving around is very mild; symptoms may be negligible to a canine’s owner. In other cases, when the disease has reached an advanced stage, symptoms are obvious. They include a discernible limp, an unwillingness to climb stairs, and stiffness after resting.

Many veterinarians prescribe medications to ease arthritic dogs’ discomfort. While such medications are often useful, the following suggestions focus on providing an environment that slows the deterioration of your canine’s cartilage.

Invest In A Ramp

Owners are accustomed to their pets jumping up to reach higher surfaces (e.g. bed, couch, getting into a vehicle, etc.). This can be difficult for an arthritic dog. The impact on his joints is likely to be painful, and will wear away the remaining cartilage more quickly than necessary.

Buy your pet a ramp that gives him a slope to climb and descend. That way, he can access higher surfaces without the pain of jumping.

Provide A Warm Sleeping Area

Warmth helps to reduce inflammation that is characteristic of arthritis. This is true for people and their pets. For this reason, give your dog a warm place to sleep and rest. If the weather is cold, close the windows of your home, and raise the temperature a few degrees. He’ll feel more comfortable, and find it easier to move around your house.

Help Your Canine Lose Excess Weight

Weight control is critical since extra pounds place excess pressure on your pet’s joints. In fact, many veterinarians recommend helping your arthritic dog lose weight before tackling anything else. Consider it a priority.

The challenge with helping canines with arthritis lose weight is that many are unable to move well. This means a rigorous exercise routine is not an option. That said, you can modify your dog’s diet to reduce the number of calories he consumes. Even if he’s unable to participate in strenuous exercise, he’ll still shed a few pounds.

Provide Low-Impact Exercise Each Day

Intuitively, you might think exercise will erode your canine’s cartilage. In reality, low-impact exercise will help him build muscle while providing his joints with valuable motion. Plus, if he’s burdened with a few extra pounds, the activity will help him lose weight.

Walking is excellent for sore joints. So, too, is swimming, and even light jogging. Avoid activities that place too much stress on your dog’s limbs.

Create A Relaxing Environment

As your canine grows older, he’ll become less inclined to be around constant activity. If he has a crate, you’ll notice him retreating to rest. A senior dog with arthritis will be even less tolerant, partly because he won’t have the ability to easily get up and retreat elsewhere.

If there are children in your home, ask them to give your canine sufficient space to rest in relative peace. If you’re entertaining guests, allow your pet to spend the time away from the party. While providing a relaxing environment won’t directly address his arthritis, doing so will lower his stress level, and make his home more comfortable.

As mentioned earlier, your canine’s arthritis can be treated with medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Deramaxx, Meloxicam, etc.), corticosteroids, and aspirin. Many veterinarians will also recommend vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and other supplements. While these can prove helpful for relieving your dog’s discomfort, they will not directly address the deterioration of his cartilage. For that, implement the tips provided above.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Robinson, Debby "Making Life Easier For Your Arthritic Canine." Making Life Easier For Your Arthritic Canine. 16 Aug. 2010. 21 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Robinson, D (2010, August 16). Making Life Easier For Your Arthritic Canine. Retrieved October 21, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Robinson, Debby "Making Life Easier For Your Arthritic Canine"

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