How to Help Your Aging Pet with Arthritis

As an animal ages, they often encounter new challenges with mobility. There are many potential causes of mobility struggles, but one of the most common issues is arthritis. If your pet suffers from arthritis, there are several ways in which you can help them cope and improve your furry friend’s quality of life.

With every advancement in veterinary medicine, dogs are living longer than ever which means there is even more wear and tear on their joints. In senior dogs, four out of every 5 dogs are affected by canine arthritis.

Most Common Joints Affected by Canine Arthritis

Canine arthritis in hip joints can be supported with a hip brace

Your dog’s arthritis can affect one or more joints in the body, some of the most common locations for arthritis include:

  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Spine (specifically the lower back)
  • Wrists

When a pet is dealing with joint pain caused by arthritis every step can be painful. Osteoarthritis causes abnormal rubbing between the joints which means chronic pain. Although, arthritis cannot be cured, you shouldn’t give up hope. There is plenty that you can do to help your arthritic pet to live the best life possible. Here are the five things that every pet parent must know about arthritis:

Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair
Dog uses rear support harness for weak back legs
Walkin’ Lift Rear Harness
German Shepherd combo harness for leg support
Walkin’ Combo Harness

1. Identify the Real Issue

Although you might suspect arthritis as the cause of your pet’s mobility problems, there could be other issues at play. Before trying to help your animal, you need to identify the problem.

To accomplish this, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They will be able to evaluate your pet and determine if they have arthritis. In some cases, they may diagnose your animal with another issue, like heart disease or even overgrown nails.

Signs of Arthritis

  • Reluctance to walk or climb stairs
  • Limping
  • Pain and stiffness when getting up or down
  • Licking of joints
  • Falling behind during walks

As a general rule, you should take an older pet into the veterinarian once or twice a year. By doing so, you can discover arthritis in its early stages and come up with an effective joint pain relief treatment plan.

2. Eliminate Slick Surfaces

For an animal with arthritis, a slick surface is a serious hazard and causes increased pain. While you may not be able to afford to replace all of your slick surfaces with carpet, there are other ways to limit slick surfaces in your home.

For instance, you could place area carpets in the areas most used by your pet. Be sure to place anti-skid mats underneath the rugs to prevent them from moving around too much. You can also dress your animal in non-slip socks. Whatever you choose, making your floors paw-friendly can improve mobility for your animal and help them thrive.

3. Help Your Pet as Much as Possible

Arthritis dog wheelchair

The more assistance you can give your pet, the easier their life will be. If you take your pet in and out of your vehicle frequently, you may want to invest in a ramp. The joint pressure that comes with jumping in and out of a car is often too much for an arthritic animal.

Another option is to get a harness with a support handle. Instead of relying on brute strength to assist your pet in the car or up steps, grab the harness by the handle and lift with ease. For pets experiencing extreme pain, a pet wheelchair might also be a viable option.

4. Keep Them Comfortable

To help your aging animal, you should take extra steps to make them comfortable. Rather than buy them a cheap bed with little padding, spend the money on a comfortable padded bed.

There’s an even better way to make your pet comfortable – give them pets and cuddles. If your animal likes affection, spend plenty of quality time with them. While they’re enjoying your affection, they won’t feel as much pain and discomfort.

5. Try Alternative Pain Relief Methods

Although some people turn to prescription medications to treat their pet’s arthritis, this isn’t the only option. Medication may come with unwanted side effects which might outweigh the benefits.

To help ease arthritic discomfort, you could try hemp oil for dogs or other pets. Legal in all 50 states, CBD oil is becoming a common method of reducing the symptoms of arthritis in both humans and animals. It’s particularly effective because it’s an anti-inflammatory agent. As such, it has been found to reduce the aches associated with arthritis and can leave your afflicted animal feeling soothed.

Pet-friendly CBD-products are simple to administer to your pets. Available in soft chews or oils, CBD for animals may be given as a regular treat. If you make it part of your daily routine, you can give your pet relief from their symptoms.

Keeping Your Aging Animal Healthy and Happy

There’s no way to prevent your animal from developing arthritis, but there are many ways in which you can ease their symptoms and improve their quality of life. By treating the issue and making a few special accommodations for your pet, you can ensure that they’re happy in their old age.

Pet Parent's Guide on How to Help Your Aging Pet

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