Osteoarthritis is a common health issue among older dogs and large breeds such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers that causes progressive bone cartilage deterioration. The cartilage that cushions the joints breaks down because of age, disease, or consistent stress, which results in inflammation and pain that worsens over time. If you think your dog has arthritis, review the warning signs and what veterinarians recommend to keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy.
Common Signs of Osteoarthritis in Canines
Many dogs don’t display symptoms until the condition becomes serious, making it necessary to routinely observe your animal companion. You may notice a disinterest in running and playing or issues getting up and moving around. Arthritic dogs also experience stiffness, positioning difficulties when relieving themselves, and reduced muscle mass in their spines and lower limbs. Your dog may wince or yelp when you pet them in areas where joint inflammation and tenderness is severe. Look out for behavioral changes resulting from discomfort or pain. Weight gain is also common because of lower activity levels.
What You Can Do to Help
If your dog experiences any osteoarthritis symptoms, take them to their veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will determine whether the dog is arthritic or has another health issue resulting in mobility problems.
If osteoarthritis is the reason for your dog’s problems, the vet will likely prescribe joint supplements that slow the disease’s progression, improve cartilage water retention, and lower inflammation. Medication to address arthritic pain may also be prescribed.
You’ll also want to change your home to accommodate canine osteoarthritis. Provide ramps, rugs, and other non-skid surfaces that make it easier for your pooch to move. Lay down soft bedding in sunny areas of your home for your pet to relax on since heat soothes inflamed joints.
Feed your dog a balanced diet full of joint-healthy foods, including vegetables and fruits. Sweet potatoes, for example, are loaded with beta-carotene that reduces joint inflammation. Avoid fatty meats that irritate inflamed joints, including those from table scraps.
Discuss the best exercises for your dog with your vet, such as pool workouts that keep pressure off joints. Weight control is key to arthritis management because extra pounds lead to joint stress.
Help your dog enjoy their golden years by working with the veterinarians at Wahiawa Pet Hospital. The veterinary hospital focuses exclusively on dog and cat care. Discounts are available to active military members. Call (808) 621-7000 today to schedule an appointment, or visit the veterinarians online for a complete list of services.