Does my dog have osteoarthritis?
Is your dog limping and having difficulty climbing stairs or in your car?
The only thing that worries you is his comfort?
You don’t want him to suffer in silence and miss out on his possible ailments.
Note that in the absence of shared language, dogs still give us clues to determine whether they are suffering from the joints.
Observe him a little, notice his changes of habits, his moods, his look, and his gait, you will know what is bothering him.
What is osteoarthritis in dogs?
Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the cartilage in the joints that leads to inflammation.
Thus, the dog feels pain, perceives a certain stiffness, and shows signs of weakness and/or difficulty in moving.
Contrary to popular belief, osteoarthritis does not only affect older dogs.
It affects 1 in 5 dogs, regardless of their age.
It attacks more readily breeds with a genetic predisposition to joint problems and especially large dogs over 20kg.
So dogs with osteoarthritis are usually:
- German shepherd
- great dane
- golden retriever
- St Bernard
By race, they are predisposed to osteoarthritis and it appears fairly quickly during their lifetime.
Note that as they age, all breeds of dogs are likely to suffer from it.
How do I know if my dog has osteoarthritis?
Let’s be honest, most dogs end up with osteoarthritis.
But most owners only identify the problem when they notice their dog is slowing down.
There are many reasons a dog is less lively as it ages.
He can suffer from heart disease, kidney disease but also osteoarthritis.
For some, tolerance to exercise is diminishing, the owner is worried and sees a veterinarian.
The major sign is a dog in a hurry to get home when going out or a dog who sits down and no longer walks after going out.
He shows his discomfort by being homier, slower, and less enthusiastic about his usual games and outings.
Chances are he’s in pain, he’s a little weak to manage to preserve himself.
He may also show signs of joint stiffness upon awakening with painful first steps.
This is a typical sign of osteoarthritis: the joints need time for blood flow to occur so that the synovial fluid that lubricates them moves and makes the movement more alert.
For a fairly young dog, osteoarthritis is manifested by small, discreet signs.
It takes proportion when the dog gets older and then becomes very problematic because when a dog does not walk enough, he also loses muscle mass and weakens quickly.
The warning signs of osteoarthritis in dogs can be detected by taking these criteria into consideration:
- localized pain
- joint stiffness
- pain increased by cold and humidity
- reduced physical activity
- a lack of zest for the game
- a reluctance or refusal to jump an obstacle or climb a staircase
- difficulty getting up
- longer sleep time
- weight gain
- behavioral change (cranky, anxious, sometimes even aggressive)
Remember, however, that the progression of osteoarthritis is gradual and all of these signs do not come on suddenly.
How to treat osteoarthritis in dogs?
As with humans, the priority is to treat pain by administering specific pain relief remedies.
Pain associated with osteoarthritis ranges from moderate to extremely severe.
If your dog is moaning, remember that the pain can become unbearable very quickly.
Your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for quick relief.
In addition, pain can affect your dog’s sleep quite significantly.
Make sure to create a soft and comfortable place for him to reduce his pain and preserve his sleep.
Protect him from all risk of colds as it worsens joint pain.
Spare him the cold and humidity, limit his outings in winter so that he suffers less.
Finally, if you really want to help your dog with osteoarthritis, make sure he lose weight.
As you pet him on the sides, you should feel his ribs under your fingers.
If not, your dog is too fat.
What can I give my dog for arthritis?
Dog osteoarthritis glucosamine
Glucosamine is an anti-inflammatory and natural supplement derived from shellfish.
It is found naturally in the dog’s body.
It produces what are called glycosaminoglycans (GAG) used as a lubricant to repair cartilage in joints.
Glucosamine is widely used as an anti-inflammatory in dogs and is an amino acid which plays an essential role in cartilage.
Supplementation increases the body’s ability to make collagen and proteoglycans to rebuild the joint and support the synovial fluid that lubricates it.
A dose of 200mg per 5kg (10 pounds) can simply be added to his diet.
Glucosamine is a safe product and if your dog has severe osteoarthritis you can double the dose and give him for life.
Chondroitin is a natural constituent of the body.
It helps in the formation and maintenance of cartilage.
Thus, it helps relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis and would even have the ability to stop or at least slow down joint degeneration.
For the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs, a dose of 65mg of chondroitin sulfate (#ad) for 5kg (10 pounds) of body weight is recommended.
MSM or methyl sulfonyl methane is a compound naturally produced by the body with an essential anti-inflammatory role.
The advantage of MSM supplementation lies in its 34% sulfur content.
This trace element participates in many functions of the body and particularly in the regulation of the inflammatory response.
Numerous studies show that it reduces inflammatory pain as well as joint stiffness and swelling.
A 200mg dose of MSM powder (#ad) for 5 kg (10 pounds) of weight is recommended for dogs.
Fish oil contains Omega 3 needed to strengthen joints and reduce inflammation.
These essential fatty acids are well documented and show their potent anti-inflammatory action.
Thus, supplementing your dog with fish oil will help him better manage his pain, but it is also proven that the essential fatty acids Omega 3 EPA DHA slow the progression of osteoarthritis and restore joint flexibility.
Feel free to give it 1 fish oil capsule (#ad) several times a week.
Turmeric dog osteoarthritis
Turmeric is a well-known anti-inflammatory.
Its interest lies in curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer and antifungal properties.
Supplementing your dog with turmeric will help him manage his pain better while reducing the stiffness of his joints.
The dosage for dogs is 50mg of turmeric powder (#ad) for 5kg (10 pounds) of body weight.
Boswellia or frankincense tree has many benefits including being an excellent anti-inflammatory.
Often used as a basic treatment for osteoarthritis, it is also effective at the time of seizures.
The recommended dosage of boswellia serrata (#ad) is 25mg per 5kg (10 pounds) of weight each day.
Ginger is a very interesting natural anti-inflammatory.
Naturally rich in fiber, trace elements (zinc, magnesium, iodine, phosphorus, potassium) and vitamins C, B and E, the root of ginger soothes the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Use a ginger powder (#ad) at the rate of a pinch per day sprinkled in the diet for a dog weighing 10kg, half a teaspoon for a dog weighing 10 to 25kg, 1 teaspoon for a dog over 30kg.
Hydrotherapy for dog osteoarthritis
If your dog suffers from severe osteoarthritis which greatly limits his mobility, it may be a good idea to consider hydrotherapy to bring him back to a decent quality of life.
It is a rehabilitation technique that uses water for therapeutic purposes.
He will be able to enjoy sessions in a heated swimming pool from 26 to 28°C and swim in such a way as to make his four limbs work for a capital muscle building for joint support.
These sessions will significantly reduce his pain and allow him to regain some mobility fairly quickly.
Dog braces for arthritis
It is now possible to find orthotics to relieve your dog in the same way that humans soothe their rheumatism.
If your doggy has knee pain, you can equip him with a knee pad (#ad) which will provide both soothing warmth and support.
You can also opt for a elbow pad for front paw (#ad) which will make it easier for your dog with osteoarthritis to walk.
Or a hip support orthosis (#ad) to stabilize his walking and relieve him from the diffused heat.
Like humans, osteoarthritis is a painful and crippling problem for dogs.
If you notice that your little companion is slowing down and seems to be in pain, know that it is not inevitable.
There are natural ways to relieve pain and slow the progression of the disease.
Supplements are the same as for humans and have been proven for decades (avoid pet supplements).
And just like in humans, rehabilitation and orthotics provide very positive and lasting effects.
Don’t hesitate to treat his ailment naturally.
He will thank you, I have no doubt.
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