As our four-legged friends age, you may begin to notice subtle changes in their movement. This may include struggling to go up and down the stairs, or the seemingly slow rise coming out of a comfortable position.

Such instances could be early indicators of arthritis.

It's important to know that arthritis affects 60% – 70% of dogs. All things considered, it's not surprising that dogs eventually lose their well-known energy, and slowly transition to a much calmer pace as they age. Luckily for us, the onset of canine arthritis does not signal the end of a good quality of life.

But like any responsible pet owner, you're probably wondering how it happens, what the symptoms are, and how to keep your dog as comfortable as possible.

Let's take a closer look.

THE SYMPTOMS

One significant disadvantage of arthritis is that it's not often immediately recognized. It takes a gradual grind on your dog, and oftentimes, your dog's mobility has already been greatly affected by the time you take notice.

Here are some symptoms you may want to look out for:

  • Overall stiffness
  • Difficulty getting up from resting positions
  • Overall slowing down
  • Less interested in previously enjoyed activities
  • Reluctant to hop or get down to and from known favorite spots
  • Lame approach to recalls
  • Limping

There are even some cases of serious arthritis, which could be indicated by any of the following:

  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Whining or whimpering during exercise
  • Loss of appetite (as pets in pain often don't feel like eating)
  • Lethargy
  • Visible loss of muscle mass
  • Swollen joints

When faced with any of these symptoms, it's best to consider heading to a licensed veterinarian.

THE CAUSES

It's important to remember that any dog can develop osteoarthritis, especially as they age. However, some factors may cause one dog to be predisposed over another.

  • Genetics – as simple as it may sound, more often than not, this cause is quite a common factor
  • Poor conformation
  • Improper nutrition
  • Infections that affect the joints
  • Injuries such as fractures and ligament tears
  • Repetitive stress from athletic activities
  • Age – particularly middle age and seniors
  • Obesity

THE REMEDY

dog and lady running on a beach 

Being a progressive disease with no known cure, one can only improve the quality of living for their beloved pets. Here are some options that can prove to be useful.

1. Exercise: Easily the most important, ensuring that your dog is still mobile and can shake the rust off those joints is always a good way to somehow ease the effects of the said disease. It also enables your dog to feel a sense of being active and free.

2. Diet: Of course, just like any responsible owner, it helps to consistently monitor what your dog eats. To help your pet's food stay tasty and fresher longer, consider storing it in a Vittles Vault.

3. Protective Joint Supplements: With a treatment focused on controlling pain, decreasing inflammation, improving quality of life, and slowing the development of the disease, your pet should be able to rely on protective joint supplements that act as an antibody for arthritis. Additionally, joint supplements are also often prescribed to reduce inflammation and slow the progression of joint damage.

Also, if the above-mentioned approach doesn't work, you can always consider a total lifestyle change. You may want to look into investing in an orthopedic bed or elevated dog bowls. It is also important to continuously monitor your pet's weight. Consider adding senior pet essentials for dogs around your home to help your pet get around more easily.

A FINAL WORD

With arthritis being imminent, it's reassuring to know that we as responsible dog owners have access to resources that equip us with the knowledge to ensure our dogs that they are not alone in the battle against this illness. When all else fails, it's always a best bet to have your dog checked out by a licensed professional.

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