If your pooch is getting on a bit, you’re likely to be paying special attention to their health needs. You’re quite right to be checking in too. When our furry friends fall into the senior category, they’re much more likely to suffer from a wide variety of conditions such as issues with their kidneys, eyesight, and teeth.
Arthritis In Older Dogs
Among the physical problems mentioned above, one of the most common health issues older dogs struggle with is arthritis. That’s right, dogs can get this nasty condition too, just like older humans.
The condition is so prevalent in older pet dogs in fact that statistics tell us a massive 60% of dogs over the age of 7 are likely to suffer from arthritis. That’s over 460 million dogs in America alone!
Getting A Diagnosis
If you suspect your dog has arthritis, the most important first step is to get them to the vets. Common symptoms of arthritis in older dogs include:
● Swollen joints
● Stiffness when getting up
● Weight gain
● Problems with appetite
● Avoiding activity
● Licking of the joints
● Muscles become skinnier
● Noise from the joints
A diagnosis is important to check there is nothing else untoward going on. If there is another cause of your dog’s symptoms, it is important to get a diagnosis and treatment.
Alternatively, early diagnosis of arthritis means you can then ensure your treasured dog can live as comfortably as possible with the condition.
How To Help Your Older Dog With Arthritis
Once your pet has a diagnosis of arthritis, it is important to follow any joint care for dogs guidance your vet has provided. In addition, there are plenty of things you can do to help your pooch live a comfortable life, including these top tips:
Your dog will really appreciate as many surfaces as possible with grip. This helps them to get up and sit down comfortably and helps minimize the joint impact of walking on extremely hard surfaces.
Add Ramps & Steps
To save your back, and help your pup out, use ramps and steps wherever your dog needs them. The front step, the car and, even the bed can all use ramps and steps if that is where the dog goes regularly.
Take a look at this YouTube video to find out how to make a collapsible ramp for the dog DIY style at home.
Consider Alternative Walking Equipment
To support your dog when they need help during walks, a collar and a leash simply won’t do. Instead, a harness, particularly one with a handle, will be very useful to help you help them out.
Practise Doggy Massage
To help your dog relax, and to relieve some pressure on their aching joints, why not give your furry bestie a massage? This YouTube video provides a great example of how to massage an older arthritic pet.
Keep Your Home Warm
As with human arthritis, the cold is the enemy. A cold home will only exacerbate your dog’s condition, so ensure they always have plenty of warmth. This could include a heated dog bed for extra comfort during the winter months.
Make Their Feeding & Toileting Stations Accessible
So that your dog can comfortably complete basic tasks like drinking and going to the toilet, it is important to ensure plenty of accessibility. Handy adjustments to their toileting and feeding stations could be:
● Extra grippy surfaces
● Raised bowls
● Ramps or steps to stations that aren’t on the same level
● Easy clean
Man’s Best Friend Can Still Live His Best Life With Arthritis
Nobody wants their pet to age, and especially not with health conditions like arthritis that could detract from their quality of life.
However, with the right medical treatment and your efforts, such as those suggested above, your pooch can continue to wag their tail and make happy memories with you for many years to come.