Arthritis doesn’t discriminate. It affects not only people of all ages — including children — but also strikes our furry friends too. If you’re a dog-owner, be sure to check your dog for signs of arthritis.
This common condition affects one in every five adult dogs in the United States and is one of the most common sources of chronic pain in pets.
How do you know if it’s arthritis? Your dog can’t tell you what’s wrong so take note of your pet’s non-verbal communication. It may its own way of telling you how bad things are.
Signs that your dog may have arthritis include favoring a limb, difficulty sitting or standing, sleeping more, stiff or sore joints, hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs, weight gain, decreased activity or less interest in play, attitude or behavior changes, and being less alert.
If your dog has any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see a vet for an arthritis evaluation which will involve a physical exam and possibly X-rays.
The best way to manage arthritis in your pet is to get an accurate diagnosis and start treatment plan as soon as possible.
Treating canine arthritis is similar to human arthritis and therapies may include:
A healthy diet and exercise plan to help maintain proper weight.
Effective drug therapy to relieve pain – this usually involves the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – the most common treatment for arthritis in dogs.
Over-the-counter pet treatments containing either glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or omega fatty acids may also be used. These may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
Follow your vet’s instructions and never give your dog human medication without checking with your veterinarian first. Certain medications can be toxic to dogs — particularly acetaminophen and ibuprofen — and a safe dose will differ between a greyhound and a dachshund.
No matter how you treat your dog’s arthritis, work closely with a veterinarian for best results.
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