Helping Your Dog Cope with Arthritis

Does your Fayetteville NC dog have arthritis? If so, he isn’t the only one. Arthritis is a very common ailment for aging canines. As many as one in five dogs may develop the condition. Symptoms of arthritis include limping, struggling with stairs, stiff movement, and difficulty getting up or lying down. Arthritis can actually begin while your furry buddy is still young, though Fido may not show any symptoms until later on in life. Larger breeds of dogs age more quickly than smaller breeds, and may develop the condition sooner than a small dog would.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Nutrition

Keeping your dog on the correct nutritional program is the number one thing you can do to help your arthritic pooch. It’s very easy to over-feed your pet; those big brown eyes do tend to melt hearts. Try to remember that overindulging your pal will do more harm than good in the long run. Extra weight will add extra stress to your furry buddy’s bones, which can aggravate his condition. Dog foods formulated for senior dogs tend to have lower calories and may include calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and glucosamine, all of which can be beneficial to arthritic canines. It’s best to make sure your pet sustains a healthy weight during his entire life, rather than put your buddy on a diet when he is aging.

Exercise

Making sure your pooch gets an adequate amount of exercise while he is still young will help him build muscle mass, which is good for his bones as well. If your pooch already has arthritis, be careful not to over-exercise him. You’ll want to check with your vet for detailed recommendations, as there may be certain things that Fido shouldn’t be doing. Dogs with arthritis should not stand on their hind legs, for instance. Cool or damp weather can sometimes aggravate the condition, so don’t keep Fido out long in bad weather.

Bedding

Fido’s bed should be firm enough to support his weight without his body sinking into the floor. Orthopedic beds may cost a little more, but they will last quite a while, and they will help your furry friend sleep much more comfortably. His bed should be in a spot that is a little quiet, such as a corner of the living room. Don’t place Fido’s bed just under an air vent.

If you know or suspect your dog has arthritis, then your first course of action should be to contact your Fayetteville NC vet and get your furry pal checked out. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about helping your arthritic dog.