May is Arthritis Awareness Month. Holiday Barn is sponsoring and will be participating in the “Walk to Cure Arthritis” on May 31st. Throughout the month, we will be collecting donations for the Arthritis Foundation in our lobbies.
DOGS AND ARTHRITIS
Remember the movie “Marley and Me” when as an old dog Marley hesitated going up the stairs to his house? Realizing it was only a movie, how true to life it is to see a senior dog struggle climbing stairs, or walking stiffly, or maybe even limping. These can all be signs of canine arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.
As with Marley, we tend to think of arthritis occurring only in old dogs. Alhough age related arthritis is the most common, it can occur in younger dogs as well. Prior accidents or injuries, some genetic or inherited conditions, obesity (big reason, unfortunately), and even joint dislocation or fracture can be the cause of arthritis in a dog’s younger years.
If your dog is showing symptoms of having arthritis, schedule a visit to the veterinary. He will put together the best treatment plan. Likewise, there are many things you can do right away to make your dog more comfortable.
• Keep your dog’s weight under control. Excess weight adds additional stress to the joints which will result in even more pain.
• Invest in a Theraputic bed for your dog. These specially designed beds provide more cushioned orthopedic support than a regular polyfil dog bed.
• Gentle, low-impact exercise is important. Warm water swimming is a great form of exercise for your arthritic dog. Slow leash walking on softer surfaces (grass, sand, etc.) is also recommended.
• Look into possible nutritional supplements. Many people have seen positive results with Glucosamine and chondroitin, MSN, or Omega 3 Fatty acids.
• Consider alternative treatments such as acupuncture, cold laser light therapy, or traditional Chinese medicine. Stem Cell therapy is also available in some areas of the country.
• Refrain from giving your dog asprin or any other “human” pain reliever. Your vet may prescribe a dog-friendly NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication) that you can safely administer.
• See if your dog is receptive to gentle massage. Massage around, not directly on, the achy joint.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, one in every five adult dogs in the United States suffers from arthritis, making it one of the most common sources of chronic pain that veterinarians treat. With proper care and treatment you can help control your best friend’s pain and maintain his quality of life.*
*arthritistoday.org/Arthritis in Dogs