Arthritis, or inflammation in the joints, is a common and painful issue for many older dogs. As pet owners, it can be heartbreaking to see our beloved best friend having a hard time getting around. Fortunately, there are some easy and affordable things you can do to help improve your arthritic dog’s mobility.
First, Make Sure it is Arthritis That’s Causing the Problem
Although arthritis is quite common, there are other issues that could be causing your older pet’s pain and mobility issues, as well. Things like a torn cruciate ligament, muscle weakness, or degeneration of the nerves could be the culprit. In fact, it isn’t always an orthopedic or neurological condition at all. Sometimes the issue could be inflammation (or even a mass) in one of their organs, or sometimes even a heart or lung condition. Sometimes, it’s as simple as overgrown toenails! If your dog is having a hard time getting around, it’s time for a trip to the vet to get to the root of the problem.
Easy Things You Can Do to Help Your Arthritic Dog
Once you’ve confirmed that it is indeed arthritis causing the problem, there are some simple things you can do that will help your dog tremendously.
- Start by putting non-skid carpet runners in areas where your dog walks a lot. You can even get special non-slip stair treads if you have a two-story home. They will help him keep his feet underneath him when he walks, instead of slipping and falling on slippery flooring.
- Get your dog some grippy socks! Yes, they make socks for dogs that have grips on the bottom to help him keep his footing.
- Get a portable dog ramp. If your dog can’t jump anymore, a portable dog ramp can be a lifesaver, especially if you have a larger dog. They can be used to help your pooch get in and out of the car or even up on the bed or couch (if he’s allowed).
- Keep his nails cut short. Long toenails will make it more difficult for your dog to get up and walk on slippery floors.
- Keep his weight in check. Just like us, extra weight will put additional strain on your pups already painful joints.
- Invest in a good dog bed. Dogs with painful arthritis will be much more comfortable if they have a supportive memory foam or orthopedic bed.
- Get elevated food and water dishes and make sure the floor isn’t slippery near his food and water bowls. An elevated stand for his food and water bowls can be super helpful so that he doesn’t have to bend down so far, and a non-skid mat will allow him to stand more comfortably while he eats and drinks.
Medications, Therapies, and Supplements That Can Help
Talk to your dog’s vet about supplements that could also be helpful. Some over the counter options include Omega-3s, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Some folks have seen great improvement with things like acupuncture, massage, and hydrotherapy. And of course, there are several pain-relieving medications available by prescription that can be very helpful, as well.