At 19 years old, Schoep the German shepherd is affected by arthritis. Ironically, this condition led him to become a viral phenomenon years ago. A photo of him enjoying a peaceful moment with his owner, John Unger, became an instant hit online. The supremely serene expression and the beautiful way his head rested on his human’s chest captured many hearts.
Is your dog is also afflicted by the inflammation of his joint? In this article, we will talk about signs of dog arthritis, its causes, and various at-home remedies you can use to help your beloved pooch.
Symptoms of Dog Arthritis
How do you know if your dog has arthritis? This health condition does not only affects senior dogs, but it can also occur in younger pets. If you observe all or the majority of the following signs in your pooch, he may be afflicted by arthritis:
- Abnormal posture – The spine can also be affected by arthritis. As such, arthritic dogs may have a humped back and an aching neck.
- Limping – Dogs with inflamed joints tend to limp and avoid walking on the affected leg. As such, they will have difficulty moving, particularly in rising from a lying or sitting position. However, when already up and moving, the awkward movement gradually lessens as the limbs are warmed up more by movement. Also, the arthritic affected pet may have more difficulty doing tasks that previously were not a problem for him.
- Irritability – Because of the pain, the pet may snap or even bite when touched or approached. This is especially when the painful areas are stroked.
- Licking or chewing affected areas – In an effort to soothe the discomfort, the dog may start licking, biting, or chewing the affected areas. In turn, the said spots become inflamed or lose hair.
- Lethargy The pet in pain is more likely to get tired quickly.
- A decrease in muscle mass – With prolonged inactivity, the dog with arthritis will experience muscle wasting. The muscle tissue decreases with the disuse, resulting in uneven muscle mass distribution. Some legs may seem thinner than normal.
Causes of Dog Arthritis
- Early-onset of joint issues – In some cases, canine arthritis may be triggered by an unnatural amount of rubbing of the joints. This can be triggered by joint instability or damaged ligaments, fractures, or abnormal cartilage development.
- Chronic low-grade inflammation – The immune system generates proteins that can damage the joints. The said proteins can also attach to the cells that produce cartilage. As a result, more of the destructive proteins are produced. When this occurs for a lengthy period, it triggers low-grade joint inflammation.
How can I help my dog with arthritis pain? University of Montreal’s Dr. Eric Troncy said that canine pets with the painful condition can get relief without side effects. In a study, Dr. Troncy found that a plant-based approach can have positive results amongst dogs. He recommends the following two formulas.
- Arthritis inflammation treatment The formula that Dr. Troncy used contained curcumin, blackcurrant, willow bark, devil’s claw, chamomile, Indian frankincense, and pineapple bromelain. The amount was not specified though.
- Joint regeneration therapy The arthritis treatment formula was used, plus omega-3 fatty acids, glutamine, and chondroitin.
The following natural remedies or home solutions can be used to alleviate arthritis in canines:
- Hot compress or a warm bath
- Small ramps or steps – This allows your dog to reach high but necessary places with more ease.
- Raised feeders and toys – Putting your pet’s toys, water bowl, and/or food bowl slightly raised above the ground will lessen neck strain.
- Glucosamine supplement – Check with your vet before giving this option to be on the safe side.
- Bone broth – This can also be used to soften your dog’s food a little.
- Good quality and a soft dog mattress
- Weight control – The heavier the dog, the more uncomfortable his joints will feel when moving around.
- Additive-free diet – Cut out processed food and grains in your dog’s diet to reduce inflammation. Sugary treats and dairy food should also be withheld. Avoid giving omega-6-rich food; opt for omega-3-rich ingredients instead. Give your pet antioxidant-rich food such as herbs (ginger, basil, parsley), wild blueberries, and turmeric.
- Exercise – This should be based on the severity of arthritis. The milder it is, the more exercise is required. However, no matter the severity, movement is essential to keep the health issue from worsening. Swimming or water-based exercise, as mentioned earlier, is recommended for dogs experiencing considerable joint pain.
Preventing Canine Arthritis
To help prevent this health issue, keep exercising your dog and manage his weight. Also, as much as possible, let your pet use ramps so that he avoids joint strain or injuries. Feed him good quality food rich in antioxidants and less or zero in additives.
For more tips on dog care, take a look at our pet health blog! Do not forget to share this information!