Just like with humans, our animal companions can suffer from many of the same medical conditions as we do. One such condition is arthritis, an affliction that affects the joints, causing pain and reducing movement and mobility. The good news is there are some things that you can do, as a caring pet owner, to help your dog live a more comfortable life. Here are a few helpful tips from a Woodland veterinarian on managing arthritis in dogs.
Don’t Overindulge Your Pet – Most dogs love to eat, and they especially love that extra treat (or two). Overeating can lead to obesity, which can make arthritis symptoms much worse and also lead to a variety of other medical conditions that could shorten your pet’s life. Work closely with your Woodland veterinarian to ensure your pet is eating a healthy, balanced diet that supports joint health.
Keep Your Dog Active – Many pet owners whose dog suffers from arthritis mistakenly believe that because their pets are experiencing discomfort and decreased mobility, they should cut out exercise to make them more comfortable. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, physical activity is just as important, if not more important, in arthritic dogs because it keeps the joints limber. Your Woodland veterinarian can suggest what types of activities would be best for your particular pet, based on a variety of factors such as age, weight and severity of the arthritis.
Provide a Soft Resting Place – Arthritic pets often do much better on beds with a little extra padding, which can help to ease sore joints. You’ll also want to make sure that your dog’s bed is placed in a warm, dry area as cold air and dampness can both exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis.
Visit the Vet Regularly – Depending on how severe your dog’s arthritis is, your Woodland veterinarian may recommend bringing them in more frequently than once a year. These visits allow your vet to closely monitor your pet’s condition so that any changes, even subtle ones, can be addressed in a timely manner. As part of managing your pet’s condition, your vet may suggest the use of supplements, therapy and other methods to help reduce pain and improve mobility.
Helping your pet overcome arthritis can be challenging but it’s completely doable – provided you are diligent and proactive about it. By following these tips and working under the guidance of your Woodland veterinarian, you’ll be able to manage your pet’s condition and help them live a happier, more comfortable life.