As our furry companions grow older, they may develop a common condition called osteoarthritis. This painful condition can significantly impact their quality of life, causing discomfort, stiffness, and reduced mobility. As pet parents, we must recognize the signs of osteoarthritis in our senior dogs and take steps to manage their pain and improve their overall well-being.
In this article, we’ll share some tips for relieving your senior dog of osteoarthritis, so you can help them live a comfortable and happy life in their golden years. From exercise to medication and nutrition, we’ll cover everything you need to know to support your furry friend’s joint health and reduce discomfort.
Exercise Your Dog Daily
According to Pet Obesity Prevention, 72% of pet owners feel that pet obesity is a disease. Exercise is crucial for dogs of all ages, but it’s essential for senior dogs with osteoarthritis. Regular exercise helps maintain muscle mass, improve circulation, and reduce joint stiffness. However, tailoring your senior dog’s exercise routine to their needs and limitations is essential.
Low-impact activities such as short walks, swimming, or gentle play can be great options for dogs with osteoarthritis. Consider using a ramp or stairs to help your dog navigate obstacles more easily. Monitor your dog’s behavior and limit their activity if they show discomfort or exhaustion.
Mental stimulation is also important for senior dogs apart from physical exercise. Puzzle toys, interactive games, and obedience training can help to keep your dog’s mind engaged and prevent boredom. Mental stimulation can also help reduce stress and anxiety, exacerbating arthritis symptoms. Try incorporating physical and mental exercise into your senior dog’s daily routine to help them stay happy, healthy, and comfortable.
Follow a Regular Feeding Schedule
Maintaining a regular feeding schedule is essential for all dogs, but it can be especially beneficial for senior dogs with osteoarthritis. Feeding your dog at the same time every day can help to regulate their digestion and prevent gastrointestinal issues, which can be common in dogs with arthritis. According to Morris Animal Foundation, osteoarthritis affects around 14 million dogs in the US alone.
Feeding your dog a balanced and nutritious diet can help to support their overall health and reduce inflammation in their joints. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your senior dog’s specific needs.
When feeding your senior dog, it’s also essential to consider their mobility limitations. If your dog has difficulty standing for long periods, elevate their food and water bowls to reduce strain on their joints.
Also, feeding your dog smaller, more frequent meals is a good way to help them maintain weight and prevent overeating. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water throughout the day to keep your dog hydrated and support their overall health.
Provide Dog-Safe Medications
In addition to exercise and a balanced diet, certain supplements can benefit senior dogs with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two supplements commonly recommended for dogs with joint issues, as they can help to reduce inflammation and improve joint mobility.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, can also help to reduce inflammation and support overall joint health. However, you must consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplements, as they may interact with other medications or health conditions.
Medications that will benefit your dog include carprovet for dogs. Carprovet is a prescription medication commonly used to manage pain and inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis. The active ingredient in Carprovet is carprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for causing pain and inflammation.
Carprovet is available at local pet stores and online pharmacies like PetRX in tablet form and is typically given to dogs once or twice a day, depending on their weight and the severity of their arthritis symptoms.
However, like all medications, Carprovet can have potential side effects, and it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to determine if it’s the right choice for your dog’s individual needs.
Provide the Right Amount of Mental Stimulation
Providing the right amount of mental stimulation is crucial for senior dogs with osteoarthritis. Boredom and lack of mental stimulation can exacerbate arthritis symptoms and lead to depression and anxiety in dogs. Providing puzzle toys, interactive games, and training exercises can help to keep your dog’s mind engaged and reduce stress.
You can also rotate your dog’s toys and introduce new ones to keep them interested and engaged. Additionally, spending time with your dog and providing affection and attention can help to keep their spirits high and improve their overall well-being.
It’s important to note that senior dogs may have different mental stimulation needs than younger dogs. They may tire more quickly and need more rest, so finding the right balance of activity and rest for your dog is essential.
Additionally, some senior dogs may have cognitive decline, making learning new tricks or playing complex games more challenging. In these cases, it may be helpful to work with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to develop a customized training plan that meets your dog’s individual needs.
Keep the Weight on Your Dog’s Bones in Check
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for all dogs, but it’s essential for senior dogs with osteoarthritis. Excess weight puts added strain on the joints, making arthritis symptoms worse and reducing mobility.
To keep your senior dog at a healthy weight, it’s essential to provide a balanced diet and regular exercise. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the ideal weight for your dog’s breed and age, and develop a plan to achieve and maintain that weight.
In addition to diet and exercise, there are other strategies you can use to help manage your senior dog’s weight. Using portion control and feeding smaller, more frequent meals can help to prevent overeating and promote healthy digestion.
You can also use low-calorie treats and incorporate fruits and vegetables into your dog’s diet to help them feel full and satisfied. Monitor your dog’s weight regularly and adjust their diet and exercise routine to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the strain on their joints.
Monitor Your Dog’s Health Closely and Make Sure All Shots Are up to Date
According to Global Pet Industry, households with senior dogs over 7+ years increased from 42% to 52% in 2022 from 2012. As a dog ages, their health can change rapidly. Senior dogs with osteoarthritis may be more susceptible to other health problems like heart disease, kidney disease, or diabetes. That’s why monitoring your senior dog’s health closely and scheduling regular check-ups with your veterinarian is essential.
Regular wellness exams help to catch potential health issues early and allow for prompt treatment. Discuss any changes in your dog’s behavior, appetite, or mobility with your veterinarian, as these could be signs of underlying health problems.
In addition to regular check-ups, keeping your senior dog’s vaccinations up to date is essential. Older dogs may have a weaker immune system and be more susceptible to diseases. Vaccinations can help to prevent common illnesses such as distemper, parvovirus, and rabies.
Consult with your veterinarian to determine which vaccinations are necessary for your senior dog and develop a vaccination schedule that meets their needs. By monitoring your senior dog’s health and keeping their vaccinations up to date, you can help to ensure that they enjoy a happy and healthy life.
In conclusion, caring for a senior dog with osteoarthritis requires a multi-faceted approach that includes exercise, a balanced diet, mental stimulation, weight management, and close health monitoring. By following these tips and working closely with your veterinarian, you can help to manage your dog’s arthritis symptoms and provide them with the best possible quality of life in their golden years. Remember to be patient, compassionate, and attentive to your senior dog’s needs, and cherish the special bond you share with your faithful companion.