Natural Remedies for Arthritis in Dogs
Nali Macklin - June 4th 2020
Accuracy Review & Edit: Nicole Wanner, DVM - September 3rd 2021
Whether your fur baby has been an agility queen since puppyhood, or a notorious lap dog, unfortunately, your dog will likely develop arthritis at some point in their life.
Arthritis can occur at any point in a dog's life. About 1 in 5 of all adult dogs have arthritis, and 65% of dogs older than seven years of age will suffer from arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
So what can we do? First, we need to understand this common disease before we can explore natural remedies for arthritis in dogs.
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In a simple term, arthritis refers to inflammation and abnormal changes in the joints.
Inside a dog's joint, there's a thin layer of cartilage covering the bones; it acts as a cushion allowing the bones to glide smoothly with little friction. When there's damage or changes to this cartilage, causing it to wear away, this results in the bone surfaces rubbing together. Your dog will start having discomfort when it goes to move around.
As your dog continues to move around, the cartilage gets further damaged. And with the bone surfaces continuing to rub against each other, this direct friction will cause new bone to start forming around the joint resulting in the joint becoming stiffer and swollen. At this point, your dog's movement will be painful and limited.
This condition is known as a Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis).
As mentioned earlier, arthritis can occur at any point in a dog's life. While it is more common in older dogs because of the years of "wear and tear" on their joints, some contributing factors that cause this disease can include:
- Breed – Certain large breed dogs such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Rottweilers are more prone to this disease because of their activity level and size.
- Obesity – When dogs carry around excess weight, this will put excess stress on the cartilage and joints, making them at a much higher risk of developing Osteoarthritis.
- Accident or injury – Certain accidents or injuries can cause damage to the cartilage, which can result in arthritis when they get older.
- Genetic – Some dog breeds are born with hereditary or congenital conditions that can make them more likely to develop arthritis later in life.
- Infection – In some cases, infections (such as Lyme Disease) can cause damage to cartilage and joint tissues.
Unfortunately, arthritis is not a curable disease, but identifying and starting treatment at the early stage will significantly improve your dog's quality of life.
It may not be immediately obvious to identify arthritis at an early stage, especially when dogs tend to mask their pain well. However, if your dog starts showing any of the following signs or symptoms, we recommend taking your dog to the vet for further diagnosis.
- Reluctance to walk, run, climb stairs, play or jump
- Difficulty or stiffness when trying to stand up or sit down
- Limping, lagging or lameness on walks
- Yelp when touched
- Licking the joints
- Change in personality (such as showing aggression or irritability when normally has good temperament)
As the condition progresses, the pain will worsen, and your dog will have a hard time masking it. For us dog owners, it will be heartbreaking to watch them suffer more each day.
Even though there is no cure for arthritis, the best we can do is control and manage the pain and discomfort so they can have the best quality of life.
Arthritis is a progressive disease, so the best plan of action is to prevent or slow down the development of this disease by keeping your dog's joints healthy.
Before you rush to use drugs like Novox for dogs, we recommend you discuss some of the following with your vet.
There are several ways to maintain healthy joints for your dog:
Extra weight means extra stress on their already painful joints. Keep your dog at a healthy weight appropriate to your dog's size and breed will help them feel more comfortable when moving around. If your dog is already overweight, consult with your vet on the proper diet plan to safely get them back to their ideal weight.
All dogs love delicious treats, but you want to make sure you're giving them good quality treats & treats that are high in protein instead of carbohydrates. The proper amount of dog treats you give per day is also important in keeping a healthy weight.
While it may seem contradictory to have your dog move around while they're in pain, exercising every day is important as it will maintain the muscle mass in their joints and keep them flexible. We recommend gentle, low-impact exercises, such as short walks a few times a day.
The best and most effective low-impact exercise is swimming since it does not put any impact on the joints while still giving your dog a good workout.
You can make simple changes to your dog's situation at home to make it as comfortable as possible to help reduce their level of discomfort and pain. Where they sleep should be quiet, warm, dry, and away from drafts. It’s a common theory that cold and damp environments can increase joint pain, although hard evidence is lacking. Regardless, giving your dog a cozy place to rest will help them relax their muscles and avoid extra joint strain.
Their bed should have extra padding and cushion to help protect any sore joints. Ideal beds for dogs with arthritis provide thick padding. If you don’t want to run out and purchase an expensive dog bed, adding an old comforter or folded blanket can help make your dog’s sleeping spot more comfortable
Ramps are a great alternative to stairs and getting in and out of cars. For small dogs, ramps can also help prevent injury while getting into bed or onto the couch.
In addition to the steps you can take in the earlier section to keep your dog healthy and comfortable while living with arthritis, you may also want to talk to your vet about CBD Oil for Dogs.
While only a few studies on cannabidiol for arthritis and inflammation have been done so far, the results are promising.
One study concluded that CBD is effective in managing inflammation caused by Osteoarthritis in the majority of dogs. It may even slow down the development of this disease.
The best part is, according to many pet owners, CBD Oil for Dogs has minimal, non-harmful side effects and are extremely satisfied with the results.
Further research is needed to fully understand CBD oil for dogs with arthritis, and you should always consult your veterinarian before giving anything new to your dog.
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