We are all aware that our fellow four-legged friends age rather quickly. And much like their human counterparts, dogs also suffer from certain common problems and diseases when they get older. Often, if your dog starts showing signs that it's not enjoying the dog walk and returns with stiffness or each lie down is accompanied by a groan, there's a possibility it could be arthritis. Arthritis simply means 'inflammation of the joints' so you can imagine why your dog may be showing signs of discomfort. Usually, arthritis in dogs is determined via a physical exam by a trained professional so we would always advise if you're concerned, make an appointment with your vet. Once and if determined, to help relieve the pain for your dog, you'll need to make some changes around the house and with its routine. Here are some tips on just how to do so!
#1 - Low Impact Exercise
Your dogs exercise routine should be focused around low impact exercise - so no jumping up for balls. Maintain a healthy level of energy, as sudden bursts might cause additional harm. In some cases, swimming can be a great idea if the arthritis is severe.
#2 - Slow Walks, Instead of Runs
Depending on the extent of arthritis it's always good to keep exercise levels up. Focus on slow but long walks in less busy areas and parks, where your dog can calmly enjoy a bit of relaxation along with building up the muscle around the joints effected. It's always best to speak to your vet about appropriate exercise regimes for your pet.
#3 - Massages are Helpful
Massages and heat can really help your dogs achy joints. Certified canine massage therapists are available in most areas who can demonstrate techniques so you can do these at home. Massages stimulate blood flow so doing this after a long walk can really help your dog out.
#4 - Maintain a Healthy Weight
Make sure that your dog maintains a healthy weight. Any bit of added weight adds that much more pressure on the joints. It's always best to speak to your vet about a healthy weight for your pet - it could mean they need to go on a bit of a diet but this will help ease some of the pain.
#5 - Around the house
Provide your dog with a comfortable padded bed away from any cold or damp drafts. If it's a dog that enjoys a snuggle on the sofa then some padded steps or a ramp may be necessary depending on how severe your dogs arthritis is. Some dogs struggle with slippery surfaces so nonskid flooring can be ideal when it comes to where your dog spends most of its time.
#6 - Consult your Veterinarian
As we've said above, it's always best to discuss things with your vet - they know the best thing for your dog and could also provide some medication to help relieve some of the pain.
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