Dogs are as likely as humans to suffer from arthritis as they age. Some dog breeds are more likely to suffer from arthritis than other breeds due to congenital abnormalities.
Although prevention is always better than cure, all is not lost once our pet develops joint pain. Treating your dog’s pain is the first step in recovery as this will help the dog keep moving.
The more your pet moves, the greater the likelihood of him leading a long and active life. But what exactly you give a dog suffering from joint pain due to arthritis? Well, keep reading to find out.
What is Arthritis?
These diseases cause damage to joint tissue and can lead to pain, lameness, and loss of joint mobility. As a result of arthritis, your pet may be reluctant to move, may seem depressed, and may develop a bad temper.
The pain of arthritis prevents your dog from doing things that were once enjoyable. Unfortunately, the less your pet moves the worse the pressure on the already damaged joints.
For this reason, treating pain with prescribed medicine is of utmost importance for dogs suffering from arthritis. Next in line is restoring mobility through physical therapy, weight management, and nutritional supplements.
Conventional Drugs vs Natural Therapy
Most are familiar with the dangers of conventional drugs for arthritis such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and others. These drugs, unfortunately, cause a host of side effects from stomach ulcers to liver and kidney problems.
For this reason, giving them to your pet, in the long run, can be dangerous. Some owners turn to natural therapy in the hopes of easing their pet’s pain and improving their quality of life. The good thing about natural therapy is that it is completely safe, side-effect free and when given consistently, can provide great levels of relief.
Types of Natural Therapy
Although it would be a good idea to take your pet to the vet if you suspect arthritis, it is also a good idea to consider natural therapy as your pet is undergoing treatment. Your dog may be prescribed medication to help with pain but also physical therapy and weight management for best results.
You may ask a veterinarian about natural supplements for arthritis in dogs or purchase some of your own likings. Natural therapy usually comes in the form of dietary supplements. These supplements usually contain a blend of ingredients scientifically proven to help with arthritis pain.
Usual ingredients are chondroitin, glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids, and plant extracts. These ingredients were found to be quite successful in providing symptom relief to arthritic dogs.
Studies on Natural Therapy
Studies on chondroitin and glucosamine supplements are inconclusive as far as their effectiveness is concerned. One specific study published in Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods found that chondroitin and glucosamine combination supplements provide pain relief to dogs suffering from arthritis and that they cause no side effects making them a safe option for arthritis pain relief.
Omega-3 fatty acids which are abundantly found in fish oil and flaxseeds are known for their potent effect on the immune system. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and help with many autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of certain herbs such as turmeric and willow bark have also been documented.
Other Treatment Options
All dogs with arthritis benefit from physical therapy such as gentle massages, joint stretching, and strength building. Moderate activities such as walking are also beneficial but vigorous activity should be avoided.
Swimming is also a good option as it eases the dog’s pain and relieves the joint from the gravity-caused pressure on the joints. In only severe cases where the joints are very damaged is surgery an option. Make sure to give your dog plenty of motivation to keep moving while taking other forms of therapy.
Canine arthritis is fairly common in older dogs. If your dog is showing signs of arthritis pain such as limping, reluctance to move, or visibly swollen joints, it would be a good idea to take them to the vet. Although you veterinarian may prescribe your pet medication to treat the diseased joints, your pet may also benefit from natural supplements and physical therapy.
You may give your pet joint health supplements as a preventive measure if they are coming of age or if your pet is of a breed susceptible to arthritis and joint abnormalities. With the right treatment and therapy, any dog can leave a long and happy life free of pain.