Arthritis is a painful disease for anyone, and your dog is no exception. If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, you may notice he has more difficulty with everyday activities such as running, jumping, and even walking. He may limp or hobble through your home. He may not be able to climb in your lap or play games like he once did. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis, but there are many things you can do to make your dog your comfortable, both at home and outdoors.
1. Carry Your Dog
When possible, you might consider carrying your dog. Because moving his legs may cause pain, it’s best to carry your pup in a sling. You can purchase a specialized sling, or you can make one yourself from a standard bath towel or canvas shopping bag.
2. Build Ramps
Stairs are notoriously difficult for dogs with arthritis. If your dog frequently needs to climb stairs in your home, consider building a ramp for him to use instead. This simple DIY project could help your pup tremendously.
3. Make a Barrier
If the stairs are too tall for a ramp and your dog is stubborn, you may need to block the stair access with some sort of barrier. Though it causes him pain, your dog may insist on climbing any stairs that are accessible; a barrier is a simple solution to this problem.
4. Raise Food Dishes
If your pup’s food dishes are on the floor, consider raising them up for easier access. It can be difficult for arthritic dogs to bend and eat. You can buy raised dishes or simply place your current bowls on an elevated surface that is within your dog’s reach.
5. Buy an Orthopedic Pet Bed
Your dog will likely need lots of rest, so a comfortable bed is crucial. There are many orthopedic pet bed options available that are specifically designed with arthritic dogs in mind.
6. Provide Warmth and Massage
Usually, cold temperatures make arthritis pain more pronounced. If you can, provide warmth to reduce painful inflammation. You can keep a warm water bottle in his bed or use a microwavable heating pad – just make sure it’s not too hot or you risk burning your pet. You can also provide a daily massage for your pet, which helps reduce joint pain and inflammation and may even slow down the degenerative process of arthritis.
7. Manage Weight Gain
Because arthritis makes movement uncomfortable, your dog may start to gain weight from lack of exercise. This can make arthritis worse. You’ll need to manage your dog’s weight by portioning meals and making sure he gets at least some exercise every day. This task can be difficult, especially if your dog is stubborn, but it’s very important for his health.
8. Groom Your Dog Regularly
With arthritis pain, your dog may have more difficulty with regular grooming habits than he once did. You may need to spend a bit more time brushing his coat and keeping him clean. You should also clip his nails regularly; long nails can actually make walking more difficult and contribute to arthritis pain.
9. Protect Your Dog Outdoors
When your dog goes outdoors, make sure you can see him at all times. Keep an eye out for other animals that may prey on your pup because of his reduced mobility. You should also watch your dog to ensure he is able to come back inside when he wishes to do so.
10. Add Supplements
Finally, check with your vet about supplements for arthritis. There are many different vitamins and medications available that can drastically ease arthritis symptoms. For example, anti-inflammatory pet medication like Carprofen caplets can be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
Caring for an arthritic dog isn’t an easy task, but your dog will appreciate the extra effort and the pain relief only you can provide.
Lannie, writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all of which can be purchased online.
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