My dog Mary turned 11 recently, and during the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a bit of a “hitch in her get-along.” She’s missed the bed at least twice when she’s attempted to jump up on it, and after a night of sleep, she’s appeared a bit stiff. What do dog owners do when their canine companions begin to experience stiffness, soreness, and arthritis?
I wrote a similar article regarding cats and arthritis last year. Unlike with cats, pet parents can usually tell when their dogs are experiencing trouble with joints. Cats can tolerate a great deal of pain without showing signs; that’s been the case with my two cats, who will be 12 years old in August. However, with my current dog, Mary, and dogs I’ve previously owned that turned 11, 12, or 13 years old, the stiffness and pain they experienced was evident: when they rose from sleeping on a dog bed (or in my bed), when they attempted to jump on furniture and either seemed hesitant or when they missed the mark, and as the temperature went down during winter months.
So, what can we as dog owners do to help our furry friends? There are many products on the market; here’s a short list:
A list of helpful products is available on the Drs. Foster & Smith website:
and also at PetCareRX:
DogsNaturally provided information on holistic treatment; read that article here:
Management of arthritis in dogs comes down to three primary things: slowing the progression of the dog's joint condition; improving your dog's comfort; and encouraging your dog to move with moderate activity like walks or swimming. Experts also recommend keeping your dog at a healthy weight, which includes feeding proper food and low-calorie treats as well as providing exercise.
Keeping our senior dogs comfortable and healthy is a significant part of our job as pet guardians. Help your dog age more gracefully and more healthy by alleviating its joint discomfort using some of the tips given – by doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy life together longer and with less pain.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.