Does you dog find it hard to get up in the morning?

 

 

 

He might have arthritis.......

 

Arthritis is a common, manageable condition in our older dogs.  Some people notice their dog is slowing down and attribute it to old age.  For many of these dogs this “slowing down” is a result of pain associated with arthritis – pain that may be alleviated with treatment.

 

Primarily caused by wear and tear over time, arthritis is most common in older dogs, or dogs with a history of cruciate disease.  However, it can develop in dogs as young as one year, especially in breeds prone to hip or elbow dysplasia

 

Signs of Arthritis in dogs include:

 

  • Reduced Activity – Is your dog spending less time playing and more time sleeping? Are they wanting to spend less time outside?

  • Reduced Mobility – Is your dog reluctant to on the couch, or having trouble with stairs?  Are they stiff or slow to stand, especially after lying or sitting for a long time?

  • Mood Changes – Is your dog protective of their back end?  Are they enjoying their back scratches less than they used to?

  • Limping or slowing down on walks – Does your dog tire easily, or start to limp towards the end of a walk.

 

The good news is that with the right treatment, regular check-ups and a little work on your part, your dog can be healthy and active once more.

 

The first thing to do if you’re concerned is talk to your vet. They will examine your dog to detect any swelling, pain and inflammation and may take an x-ray to confirm any suspicions. It can be useful to take a video of your dog at home to show your vet as they are more likely to show their true behaviour when they’re not stressed and in unfamiliar surroundings.

 

If your dog has arthritis, your vet will may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or other chondro-protective drug, a diet change, and suggest some lifestyle changes if necessary, such as weight loss.

 

Some other things that may help:

  • Make sure your dog has a soft, comfortable bed in a quiet place to retreat to.

  • Keep walks short and regular.  Shorter more frequent walks are helpful for arthritis.  These short walks help to encourage replacement of fluid within joints and reduce inflammation.  Infrequent or excessively long walks are less helpful, and more likely to cause more pain.

  • Weight control – any excess weight carried by an arthritic dog leads to increased pain.  Weight loss decreases pain, and increases your dog’s ability and willingness to exercise.

 

Remember, arthritis doesn’t go away when the symptoms do – it’s a lifelong condition. It’s important you continue with your dog’s medication even when they seem better (this probably means that treatment is working). Follow your vet’s advice. If you stop too soon, the pain and stiffness will return.

 

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