by Becky Bruce
Arthritis is a degenerative disease, meaning it gets worse over time. When you see your dog showing signs of stiffness or discomfort, it’s scary to think it’ll only get worse. To help ease your trepidations, there are things you can do to slow the progression of arthritis, like providing proper diet, exercise and arthritis supplements for dogs.
The best way to slow the progression of arthritis is to identify it in its first stage, when symptoms are mild and your dog is more receptive to preventative measures. The sooner you identify the problem, the more things you can do to reduce inflammation, joint degeneration and other painful side effects of arthritis.
First Stage/Mild Arthritis
Dogs of any breed, lifestyle, or age can start to develop mild arthritis. My dog was only 6 when I noticed the warning signs of stage 1 arthritis, and dogs even younger than that can start showing signs of arthritis. Larger dog breeds and overweight dogs are at a greater predisposition.
The earliest stage of arthritis can be difficult to pinpoint because symptoms are slight and dogs are such troopers, ignoring pain at the first sound of a whistle or duck. Some common indicators of stage one arthritis include:
- Your dog is slower getting up when sitting or lying down
- Your dog seems more cautious about walking up or down stairs
- Displaying unusual stiffness, typically following a day of activity or playtime
- Weight gain or other changes that signal a decrease in physical activity
What can you do to slow the progression of stage 1 arthritis in dogs?
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise in 10-20 minute increments throughout the day.
- Give your dog the right nutrients and supplements to rebuild damaged cartilage and prevent deterioration of joints and other connective tissues. We have some great options including Vitality Krill Oil, Free Range and Resurgence.
- Don’t let your dog creep into overweight territory! Overweight dogs are far more susceptible to arthritis.
Second Stage/Moderate Canine Arthritis
Overtime, mild arthritis develops into moderate arthritis. This is when pain or discomfort becomes more visible. Signs of moderate arthritis in dogs include:
- Your dog is stiff or has a limp after getting up in the morning or taking a nap
Your dog is unusually irritable or tired
- Reluctant to flex joints, jump on the couch, go upstairs or do other things that put pressure on sore joints
- Pain and stiffness increase when it’s cold or wet outside
What can you do to slow the progression of arthritis during stage 2?
- Continue everything you’d do for stage 1 arthritis; add the right supplements to your dog’s diet, feed a well-balanced diet, and make sure he/she gets plenty regular bursts of exercise throughout the day.
- Take your dog swimming, non-weight bearing exercise is ideal for dogs with arthritis.
- Give your dog frequent gentle massages to promote blood flow and help reduce inflammation.
- Talk to your veterinarian about prescribing an anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) to reduce discomfort.
- Make sure your dog has a soft bed to sleep on and does not rest on hard or cold surfaces.
Third Stage/Severe Canine Arthritis
Severe arthritis in dogs can be very painful. It’s best to work with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is as comfortable as possible. Signs of severe canine arthritis include:
- Consistent and obvious limp
- Resistant to walk over certain surfaces, like slippery hardwood floors
- Unable or unwilling to go up or down stairs
- Reluctant to exercise or move very much
What can you do to slow the progression of arthritis during stage 3?
- Continue doing everything outlined above, including providing a healthy diet, weight control, supplements for joint and bone health, massages, etc.
- Acupuncture, surgery and/or cortisone injections are options to discuss with your veterinarian.
- Promote slow and gentle exercises your dog is comfortable with
- Set up ramps to help your dog climb on couches or beds, and place carpets over slippery surfaces to help secure better grip. Slipping and sliding is very painful for dogs with badly progressed arthritis.
Our specially engineered supplements are catered to hunt dogs and dogs that lead an active lifestyle. You can count on us to supply the additional nutrients your dog needs to Maintain Alpha Status.
This article was posted with the permission of AlphaDog Nutrition “Designed from the ground up by our Pet Nutritionists with the hunting dog in mind.” Copyright © Hunt Alpha. All rights reserved.