Arthritis in Dogs
Does your dog limp or walk slower than he normally does? Does his joints creak when you lift him up or if he exerts pressure on them? If so, do have a vet check for joint / ligament problems.
Similar as humans, all dogs do suffer from arthritis and joint pains too. Although some breeds are more prone to selected joint issues, they generally affect bigger dogs. Common problematic areas for specific breeds are knee and ankle problems for Rottweilers and Hip Dysplasia in Golden Retrievers. All this may lead to discomfort, swelling and the onset for arthritis.
Two common types of dog arthritis are:
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis (an autoimmune disease)
That means the immune system attacks parts of the body, especially the joints. That leads to inflammation, which can cause severe joint damage if you don’t treat it
2. Osteo Arthritis (degeneration of the joints)
It is simply “wear and tear” that happens when the joints are overused. It usually happens with age, but it can also result from joint injuries or obesity (which puts extra stress on the joints).
Treatment for Arthritis
There is not much of a treatment for arthritis. However, with careful weight planning and exercise management you should be able to relieve some pain and improve the quality of life for your pooch. Apart from painkillers, vets may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and supplements, Of course suitable exercise like hydrotherapy and a healthy diet would greatly help.
- Weight Control
All dogs according to breed, size and age will have ideal weights recommended by the vet. Do keep to the recommended guide for your dog as extra weight on hips and joints will obviously put pressure on the limbs. Feed low carbohydrate and lesser processed food aka feed more fresh food as much as possible. Carbohydrates and processed foods are known to contribute to inflammation in the body.
2. Exercise Management
All dogs need to have adequate exercise. If your dog is already diagnosed with arthritis, you should make the exercises more frequent with shorter timeframes and with rests in between walks. Swimming is a good exercise and for dogs with some joint issues, hydrotherapy is highly recommended.
Some supplements that are thought to help arthritic patients include:-
a) Glucosamine and chondroitin
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are parts of a normal cartilage. Cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones in a joint.
Glucosamine helps prevent arthritis. It comes from the combined names of glucose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is a glycosaminoglycan, a family of nutrients that function to rebuild lost cartilage and restore lost joint fluid. Glucosamine is usually made of ground up shellfish hence it may cause allergy to some humans and dogs allergic to shellfish.
Chondroitin on the other hand comes from natural sources, such as shark or bovine cartilage, or it can be made in a lab.
Glucosamine and chondroitin is usually taken together for best effect. Regular intake is recommended to support healthy hips and joint functions.
You can try NaturVet Glucosamine DS With MSM And Chondroitin Tablets which is one of our recommended supplement/s for joint care.
Some glucosamine supplements comes with MSM added. MSM is a natural analgesic and blocks the transfer of pain impulses through the nerve fibres. MSM also blocks the inflammation process by enhancing the activity of cortisol, a natural anti-inflammatory hormone produced by the body. It is also a strong antioxidant.
b) Fish Oil
Fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory supplement. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA which will help reduce inflammation. Do note that fish “body” oil is what you would want to feed your dog as the (more) traditionally known fish liver oil is high in Vitamins A & D but lower in Omega-3 fatty acids.
c) Bone Broth
This is one of the easiest and least expensive supplement which you should make on your own and you know 100% what exactly goes into it. Bone broth is simply a pot of bones (best to use bones with cartilage and joints) slow cooked for a min of 24hours. It contains all goodness of a chicken soup and more. Adding Apple Cider Vinegar or juice of a lemon into bone broth will further extract nutrients into the broth. Once you have prepared the broth, you get gelatine, calcium, phosphate, magnesium, glucosamine, chondroitin and other trace minerals in the bowl of soup.