Arthritis causes joint and bone pain in dogs, which can be very discomforting.
Dogs who suffer from arthritis can end up anxious or depressed and lose their quality of life. Many are victims because of breed size and age.
Swollen and painful joints are some of the symptoms, and luckily, there are natural, homoeopathy, and herbal remedies vets may recommend to help your dog come around.
Here are some intuitions of what a dog owner may want to know about arthritis in dogs.
How painful is dog arthritis?
Although arthritis is joint for older dogs, it can develop in puppies after joint and bone development issues.
The first cases of human arthritis date back to 4500 BC, but it is a bit unclear in dogs.
Veterinarians diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis in dogs in the late 1960s, and this brought about numerous published studies, but with time, the cases have increased to about 100 types of arthritis.
The bony surface of a dog's joint is engulfed with a thin layer of delicate cartilage moisturised by small amounts of joint fluid to enable the two surfaces to slide effectively over each other with minimum friction.
Arthritis causes damage to the inside joint, making them less smooth and causing the bone surfaces to rub, eventually destroying the dog's cartilage and resulting in discomfort.
Because of increased friction, a new bone forms around the joint, making it more rigid and limiting movement (degenerative joint disease).
This is a preclinical stage meaning the dog is without risk factors. This means they don't show signs of arthritis except for the presence of potential causes.
These causes are; joint injuries or trauma, breed disposition, intense activity, ligament injuries, advancing age, and surgery that affects the joint.
In this stage, the dog's mobility starts being affected. Most dogs will have inflamed joints and become overweight before other symptoms start showing.
Arthritis is often discovered by accident during x-rays. This stage is difficult to address as signs and symptoms are not yet evident but also the best for preventive measures and early treatments.
At this stage, arthritis symptoms become more evident, and the dog is slowly slowing down in its regular routines.
Most of its limbs are sore, and limping on one or more legs becomes a task. The dog will be very uncomfortable and inactive.
This stage has many pain and health risks as the dog lacks total mobility. The dog's cartilage is mainly damaged, and pain is caused by bone rubbing on bone.
Usually, the only option for dogs who can't walk or get up is to be euthanized. The dog will need a lot of attention and continued care.
What are the first signs of arthritis in dogs?
Arthritis in dogs results in pain, loss of energy, and bad moods, with senior dogs and overweight pups most at risk.
Genetics also affects the likelihood of a dog developing arthritis because of body structure. Breeds that are more prone to arthritis include
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Great Dane
When your dog is at risk of developing arthritis, here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Limping, lameness, or favouring particular legs
- Being quiet, grumpy, or sleeping more
- Walking or moving very stiffly
- Yelping when bearing weight on a specific limb
- Take extra care when lying down and standing up to avoid painful positions
- Low energy (lethargy)
- Licking of the affected joints
- Unwillingness to climb, jump or run
- Enlarged or swollen joints
- Recoiling in pain when touching certain limbs
- Less enthusiasm when playing
- Sudden weight gain
- Irritable and behaviour changes
Increased lethargy and unwillingness to exercise may lead to overweight and heart or circulatory issues for the dog and shorten its life expectancy.
Depending on management, most dogs with arthritis can live happily after diagnosis if handled with love and extra care.
Ensure to watch your dog for symptoms carefully and as soon as anything strange comes up, contact a vet immediately.
Can arthritis in dogs be fatal?
Fortunately for most dogs and dog owners, arthritis can be cured!
Several treatment options are in place, including injections used as standard treatment for arthritis and various dog joint issues. At the first signs of arthritis, take your dog to the vet immediately.
The vet will thoroughly examine its rear and hind legs by walking the dog a few steps to consider its gait, behaviour, mobility, and energy level.
A vet will take an x-ray to confirm that no other disease shows the same symptoms and monitor the arthritis progress.
Also, the vet will perform CT scans, joint fluid collection, and fluid samples.
Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help lessen inflammation and pain and are given as continuous daily doses or for a few weeks.
When your dog has been prescribed NSAID drugs, blood tests to ensure there is no organ damage by the drug should be conducted annually.
Other pain relievers like miracle pain drugs (MSM) may be recommended if these medications don't relieve the dog's pain.
MSM has proven to be an excellent option for knee and hip joint problems and joint degeneration.
These supplements are not alternatives to medications but are used simultaneously as arthritis medicines and may not work for all dogs.
Glucosamine is naturally pinned in joint cartilage to maintain the smooth working of joints. It creates molecules in the dog's body to aid in cartilage formation.
Administering glucosamine supplements daily to your dog lubricates and protects their joints while rebuilding damaged cartilage and relieving them from arthritis pain.
When combined with glucosamine, Chondroitin sulphate (a glycosaminoglycan and a vital part of cartilage) helps prevent cartilage breakdown and build back its mechanism.
Uncontrollable and severe arthritis may need joint surgeries like fusion (arthrodesis) or replacement options.
However, surgery is available primarily in specialist veterinary hospitals, where the prognosis for long-term arthritis management is recommended.
What natural remedies can I give my dog to ease arthritis pain?
In addition to treatment and medication prescribed by your vet, there are herbal and home remedies one can give their pet to help their comfortability:
Frankincense is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a perfect herbal remedy for your dog, including other ailments.
This herb can be given to the dog by adding it to their food.
Comfrey is available as dried herbs and has an anti-inflammatory agent used for pain relief for dogs with arthritis.
It can be given as a supplement by adding half a teaspoonful to the dog's food or adding to a warm compress to ease the pain.
Alfalfa is mostly genetically modified and widely used to manage pain and inflammation in dogs.
However, it is better to use organic Alfalfa, so if it can't be found in your local health food store, it is prime to grow your own.
This herb can be added to the dog's food directly before it flowers or given as capsules in their treat.
Dried yucca decreases the symptoms of arthritis in dogs because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It is primarily rich in minerals and vitamins to provide easy passage of nutrients in the dog's digestive tract.
It is easily found in a health food store and is added to the dog's food as dried herbs or capsules.
Turmeric is perfect for improving joint mobility because it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
It has a compound called curcumin that strengthens its health effects. The proper turmeric powder dosage is usually a half tablespoonful depending on the dog's weight which can be added to the dog's food.
Dogs are known to eat anything their owner offers, so you have to see that they give the best.
A healthy, natural, whole food diet will help relieve the dog's joint pain and stabilise its general health. Give the dog a balanced diet rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Omega 3 fatty acids lubricate and reduce inflammation of joints for dogs. They also relieve stiffness. Its sources include; tuna, salmon, mackerel, cord liver oil supplements, flaxseed, and sardines.
However, ensure that your dog is not allergic to these foods and supplements before giving them.
Vitamin C is necessary for the dog as it helps with collagen health, hip dysplasia, and other joint degenerative issues. Also, Vitamin E is rich in antioxidants to help with arthritis pain.
Bone broth, steamed or fresh vegetables, and blueberries (rich in antioxidants) can also be included in the dog's diet.
It is vital to consult a vet nutritionist before making homemade diets to avoid the risk of micronutrient deficiency for your dog.
Regular exercise helps delay arthritis progression and may prevent its occurrence, as well as weight management.
Physical therapy is good for the dog's mobility, blood flow, and muscles. Quality exercise and diet help dogs reach their weight and keep their joints mobile, preventing stiffness.
Additionally, massage therapy, like stretching, also relaxes the dog's muscles and builds up their flexibility.
- CBD Oils
Cannabidiol, a chemical compound in medical marijuana, has anti-inflammatory properties effective for joint inflammation and managing pain in dogs.
CBD oil offers perfect relief to dogs with arthritis when given twice daily following proper dosage.
Supplements like antioxidants (found in colourful vegetables and fruits) and glucosamine can easily be added to a dog's diet to ease joint movement.
They also repair damaged cells and clear out toxic substances. A healthy diet that feeds the dog's cells and hunger is of the essence.
Preventing joint pain in dogs
Arthritis in dogs is not easily prevented as it can be inherited or come with age. Anyway, there are several things one can do to slow its impact and progress.
- Maintain your dog's healthy weight through exercise and a healthy diet
- For shorter dog breeds, use stairs and ramps when possible to avoid them landing on hard surfaces and wearing down the cartilage that protects the joints
- Place rugs on slippery floors to help your dog's stability
- Make pet-friendly adjustments to your homes, such as placing the dog's water and meal bowls in areas they can easily reach
- Consult regularly with your vet as they may prescribe necessary supplements and dietary plans to help strengthen your dog's bones
- Take the dog for swimming sessions to help increase their mobility and strengthen their joints
- Apply heat to the painful areas to lessen pain, stimulate the dog's muscles, and increase circulation
- Give the dog daily gentle massages for the reduction of muscular tension and relief from arthritis pain.
Arthritis is common for dogs, and vets are attaining a better understanding of the disease daily.
In the bargain, a relief to pet owners is that new drugs and therapies are coming into the limelight and increasing the quality care provided for dogs with arthritis.
It is essential to walk your dog to decrease joint pain and stiffness. Dogs with arthritis are mostly less excited about walks, so try short distances.
Daily slow walks help rebuild the dog's stability, strength, and muscles.