Osteoarthritis is very common in older animals. As dogs age, they may start to “slow down”, have more difficulty getting up or down steps and seem to be stiff as they start to move around after a period of rest.
This may be the first sign of osteoarthritis and not just because your pet is “getting old”.
If your older dog is getting slower and stiffer in his movements this is probably due to arthritis.
This is a painful condition, but dogs are good at hiding pain and it is easy to overlook this.
It is rare for dogs to cry out or yelp when they are in chronic pain, but they may become nervous, depressed or even aggressive as time goes by.
The good news is that there is plenty that can be done to help these animals to live a pain free life.
Exercise for these pets should be taken “little and often”. Several short walks during the day are better than one long one and do not expect your older friend to be able to go off on long hikes at the weekend!
Medicines can be used to ease the pain of arthritis. The type of medicine used will depend upon your pet’s individual need but will often be a non steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine.
Diet can help too. Keeping your dog’s weight down will improve his general health while ensuring that the joints are not stressed further by carrying around extra weight. Some diets are specially formulated for dogs with arthritis, I particularly like Mobility Support from Royal Canin.
Supplements are available for dogs with arthritis, they usually contain glucosamine and chondroitin to help the joints and some also contain anti-inflammatory herbs as well.
You may like to try other treatments for your dog such as magnetic collars, osteopathy or chiropractic techniques as well as acupuncture, all of which can help some individuals.