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How To Prevent Arthritis In Your Dog
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Arthritis in dogs, also known as osteoarthritis, is common for older dogs, but can affect pups of any age. The symptoms of arthritis in dogs are pretty hard to detect. Usually, when owners are informed about their dogs’ condition, it is already too late, and the joints are severely damaged. As is the case in humans, arthritis in dogs can be genetic and extremely painful for dogs as well.
While pain can occur in any part of the body, arthritis in dogs causes extreme pain in the elbows, shoulders, hips, and knees. It can be a result of a previous injury, genetics, or due to too much movement.
6 Ways to Prevent Dog Arthritis
Select the right food
It is essential to give the right diet to your dogs from the start to prevent the chances of arthritis. Weight gain plays a key part in the development of arthritis; hence it is important that your dog’s diet is lean, light, fresh, and healthy from the beginning.
It is critical to feed a well-balanced dog food and the appropriate amount of food to help your pet stay lean and healthy. Overfeeding can lead to weight gain and obesity, which places increased stress on the joints and leads to early arthritis.
Foods that you should include in your dog’s diet for an overall healthier outcome include fiber-rich fruits and vegetables such as apple, blueberry, squash, pumpkin, as well as leafy green vegetables and vitamin-rich foods such as spinach and zucchini.
It is also important to include the right supplements for joints and bones in their diet. Fish oil is rich in omega fatty acids and can be added to the diet to help with joint inflammation.
It is also very important to know which foods to remove from your dog’s diet. Some foods known for making dogs gain weight are fatty foods and proteins with too much salt and sugar.
Take your dog for regular vet check-ups
It is crucial that you take your dog for frequent checkups to the vet so that you may remain updated about the overall health condition of your dog at all times.
The vet can notice slight changes that your dog might show, such as limping and laziness, which are the earliest signs of arthritis in dogs. The vet can guide you to the best diet and set up a careful routine so that your dog’s health remains up to the mark.
The vet can also provide you with additional medications and supplements that your dog may require to maintain stronger bones and joints and to help slow down the development of arthritis in the future.
If your dog is very active and loves to play all the time, it can wear out the joints, which can lead to arthritis. In this case, a physical therapy program can be extremely beneficial for the dog. It reduces the pain he might feel and strengthens his muscles and joints. Physical therapies, like water therapy and acupuncture, have been very successful for curing joint pains in dogs and can also be very helpful for dog anxiety.
Exercise your dog appropriately
No matter how healthy your dog looks physically, it is still very important to keep him healthy by following an active routine. You can incorporate a healthy diet and exercises into your dog’s routine by consulting a vet.
It is recommended that you involve your dog in light to medium daily exercises to maintain his weight. Strenuous exercises can cause too much pressure on the joints, which can lead to arthritis, so they are not recommended regularly. Suggested exercises are walks, jogs, and swimming.
It is suggested to not play games and do exercises that cause too much impact on your dog’s joints, such as activities that require too much jumping or make your dogs run or twist their bodies. This will help prevent arthritis.
Almost all dogs love ball fetching, so if your dog also loves to play it with you, here are some suggestions for you to keep in mind to prevent the risks of arthritis:
- Don't throw the ball on inclined slopes as they might make your dog run abruptly to catch it, putting too much pressure on the knees.
- Don’t throw the ball repeatedly and suddenly, as it might cause your dog to reach for it with quick movements, causing pain in the shoulder joints.
- Don't play on slippery or really hard surfaces.
Keep your dog at a healthy weight
It is very important to maintain your dog’s weight. Arthritis is usually caused in the joints due to swelling and inflammation, which is due to a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is the weight. Obesity can lead to the dog developing arthritis at an earlier age and can be very dangerous for the dog’s health.
In order to keep your dog at a healthier weight and keep it maintained, pay special attention to his diet and daily routine. Less exercise with lots of sleeping can make him lazy and gain weight, so it is your duty as a good owner to make him follow a good schedule that involves an adequate amount of sleeping, eating, and playing to help him maintain or reduce the weight and be active.
Losing weight can help your dog in being active and healthier, reducing the chances of developing arthritis. You can keep a check on your dog’s weight by consulting a vet about the daily nutritional consumption. You also need to keep an eye on the calories and amount of fat in all the meals and treats he’s consuming.
Consider dietary supplements
In order to decrease the chances of joint swelling and inflammation caused by arthritis, some additional supplements can be taken to make the dog’s joints and bones stronger and healthier. These supplements include omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, but they have to be taken such that they can be easily absorbed.
A diet rich in EPA and DHA can also help reduce the loss of cartilage in the joints, keeping your dogs stronger. Another supplement commonly taken for joint health is glucosamine.
Ensure Your Dog Has The Appropriate Bedding
It is very important that you provide your dog with good bedding to prevent arthritis. Sleeping on hard or cold surfaces can cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness in their joints, which can lead to arthritis. You need to provide your dogs with warm and soft beds so that their joints and muscles feel relaxed.
It’s better if you provide your dogs with medicated beds, but make sure you consult a vet first. Good bedding will ensure peaceful sleep and make their body feel relaxed.
You should also keep your dogs’ bedding on the floor to reduce the chances of arthritis. This is because if their beds are on a higher level, the motion of frequently going up and down is higher impact on their joints.. It is also recommended to keep the bedding clean so they don't come down with dog dermatitis.
Preventing Dog Arthritis: Frequently Asked Questions
What foods prevent arthritis in dogs?
Foods rich in fiber, vitamins, and calcium can be very helpful in preventing arthritis. Incorporating green vegetables and lean proteins in a dog’s diet can be useful. But before trying out new diets, make sure you know all about your dog food allergy symptoms.
Can you stop the progression of arthritis in dogs?
If you ensure a healthy diet with exercise and proper medication, you can definitely lessen the effects of arthritis on your dog. Early detection of arthritis in dogs can also lower the rate of its progression since it gives you the chance to start treatment in time. You can detect the signs of arthritis in your dog by checking for the following indications:
- Difficulty in jumping, running, or walking
- Limping and slow movements
- Bad body posture
- Resists petting because of pain
- Sudden weight gain
At what age do dogs get arthritis?
Arthritis is most common in senior dogs over 8 years. But since arthritis is also a genetic disorder, younger dogs can also show signs of arthritis.
Why do dogs develop arthritis?
Dogs can develop arthritis due to a number of reasons. These factors include age, genetics, continuous stress over joints, weight gain, eroding of cartilages between the bones and joints, repeated injuries, or performing too many high-impact sports, exercises or activities.
Don’t panic if your dog starts to show signs of arthritis. Instead, consult a vet as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening. Provide your pup with a healthy diet, proper medication, routine, and exercise to help prevent or lessen the effects of arthritis on his or her body.
To help your dogs develop a healthier routine and diet, you should take your dogs for frequent checkups to the vet. But if it’s difficult for you to physically visit a vet, Dutch has you covered. With Dutch, you can book an appointment online and talk to a vet from the comfort of your own home to get the help your dog needs. And you can even get the prescribed medicines for your dog delivered to your doorstep!
Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease), Merck Vet Manual, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders-of-dogs/osteoarthritis-degenerative-joint-disease