Canine arthritis – what to avoid
If your dog has been diagnosed with Canine Osteoarthritis, it is important to work with your veterinarian to develop a management plan to help slow the development of the disease and maintain your pet’s quality of life. Typically, several different therapies may be used together – joint supplements, pain relief, dietary and environmental modifications. There is a long list of things we CAN do – but let’s take a look at some things to avoid:
Maintaining a healthy weight is possibly the single most important thing you can do for your arthritic dog, at any stage of joint disease. Carrying excess weight will increase the burden on already damaged joints, cause a higher level of pain and accelerate the progression of joint disease.
There have been multiple studies showing that dogs with Canine Osteoarthritis have shown noticeable improvements in mobility and quality of life after weight loss.
If you have an elderly friend or relative who suffers from Arthritis, you may have noticed that they lament the cold weather – it is no different for your pets with joint disease! Cold temperatures can significantly increase your pet’s level of pain and discomfort.
A good dog coat, a cosy raised bed, being allowed inside the house and thoroughly drying, should they become wet, can go a long way toward keeping them comfortable when temperatures dip.
Missing Vet Checks
It is vital not to miss your dog’s regular scheduled checks with their vet. Not seeing the vet for six months is like us not seeing a doctor for 3 – 4 years, for a dog. Whilst in the clinic, your vet can monitor weight, adjust medication and check for side-effects, as well as for other developing diseases or arthritis in other joints. It is also the best place to learn about any new advancements in managing Canine Osteoarthritis.
While you may be trying to reduce or manage your dog’s weight, more exercise may seem like a good option – but it’s important to be guided by your dog as to what they can tolerate. If they seem reluctant to continue, or pull up stiff and sore after a walk, you may need to adjust the pace or distance. You may find that once their weight is under control and pain medications and joint supplements have had time to take effect, your dog is comfortable walking further.
High impact activities like ball chasing, tug-of-war or those that involve running and jumping should be avoided. Swimming is an excellent, low impact activity for an arthritic dog – just make sure the water is not too cold, and if swimming at the beach, be aware that dogs with joint disease can find walking on sand difficult.
Slippery flooring, such as tiles, laminate and wood, presents a huge hazard to dogs with Canine Osteoarthritis. Just one slip can be incredibly painful to your dog, speed up the progression of the disease due to injury and destroy your dog’s confidence in moving around your home.
There are lots of modifications you can make at home to make it safer for your dog, like putting down rugs and mats, but also don’t forget to be on the lookout for hazardous surfaces when you are out and about with your dog, like at a friend’s house, café or pet store.