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Navigating Canine Arthritis

Dog head and paws, peeking over top of stairs looking down

What is Canine Arthritis?

Essentially, arthritis means “inflammation of the joints”. It is a very common ailment that dogs can encounter throughout their lives. Dogs most commonly experience arthritis in the hips, legs and back, but other joints throughout the body can also be affected as well.

Your dog might experience arthritis for a few reasons:

Osteoarthritis: Perhaps the most common form of arthritis, this type is caused by injury, or consistent wear and tear of the cartilage that sits between the joints. Cartilage acts as a lubricating substance, allowing the joints to move with ease. When this cartilage deteriorates, there is more friction in the joint which can cause inflammation, discomfort, and pain.

Immune Mediated Polyarthritis (IMPA): IMPA is an auto-immune form of arthritis, and it occurs when a dog’s immune system begins to attack its joint tissue. This process is like rheumatoid arthritis in humans.

Septic Arthritis: Septic arthritis is caused by an infection in the joint fluid. This causes inflammation, pain, and the other symptoms of arthritis.

How can I tell if my dog has arthritis?

Decreased movement is one of the most noticeable symptoms of canine arthritis. You may notice your dog walking slower, or having more trouble getting up and down the stairs. They may be hesitant to make a big jump into the car, or onto the couch. They might even have a more difficult time going from a laying to standing position or vice versa. You may also notice that the muscles in your dog’s the rear limbs are getting smaller or weaker.

Does arthritis go away?

Unfortunately, once cartilage in joints is damaged, they are not likely to completely recover. However, there are ways to try to prevent arthritis and if your dog does have it, ways to make their life more enjoyable.

How can I prevent my dog from having arthritis, or treat the symptoms they already have? 

We don’t recommend that you to diagnose and treat canine arthritis on your own. It’s always important to have your dog professionally diagnosed by a trusted veterinarian, and work with them on a plan to give your dog the most comfortable and healthy lifestyle possible. But, there are things you can do at home to help keep your pup’s joints healthy and keep them more comfortable:

• Keep them at a healthy weight to minimize stress on their joints;

• Incorporate supplements to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need to support healthy joints;

• Help them get enough gentle exercise to help with stiff joints;

• Make sure their diet has an ample amount of the omega-3 fatty acid called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which has been shown to decrease joint inflammation;

• Try cold and heat therapy, range-of-motion exercises, stretching, and canine massage therapy to keep them comfortable;

• Consider canine acupuncture to relieve pain in joints.

 

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Let Us Help

Golden Wags offers several product lines to help you manage your dog’s joint pain. Check out these products designed to make their - and your - life more enjoyable.

+ Ramps and stairs are great ways to get your dog up to a higher level like a front door, bed or couch without putting too much stress on their joints.

+ Backpacks and roller carriers give your pooch a break when they’ve spent too long on their feet.

+ Large strollers for the big pup who needs to get around town without getting too much exercise.

+ Nutritional support to supplement your dog’s diet with ingredients like MSM, Glucosamine Sulfate, Omega-6 Fatty Acid, Vitamin C, Chondroitin (Shark Cartilage) and more.

Wherever your dog is on their health journey, remember: dogs adapt well to their current circumstances! Oftentimes, it can be more of an emotional toll on the owner than the pet! So, after doing your best to make sure their needs are covered, stay positive and rest knowing that your pup has the best owner around.

 

Source: American Kennel Club