If your furry friend has arthritis, you must see how difficult it is for them to make it through the day. However, it can be a mentally toll-taking ride for you too, trying to cope with it. And trust us when we say this, you are not alone in this. Arthritis in dogs is a common problem that can happen due to many reasons such as injuries, developmental, degenerative, or genetic reasons. Not only does it reduce mobility but hinders their daily activities, sometimes leading to mental health issues as well.
- Making your home environment arthritis dog-friendly– To start with, you may want to reconsider your living space and home environment. Since your dog is already in a lot of pain and feels uneasy physically, you wouldn’t want to expose them to things and surroundings that can worsen their pain and aggravate their problem.
You need to help your dog feel as comfortable and at ease as you can. Start by modifying your home to make it more conducive to your dog’s condition. Often dogs with arthritis avoid walking on hardwood and slippery floors.
Try installing non-skid flooring or placing rugs and carpets around the house, making it softer and therefore safer for your dog to move around. Another modification you can make is laying down foam mats or yoga mats where your dog walks.
- Comfortable orthopedic beds – You can replace regular beds with orthopedic dog beds, which have a thick mattress and provide enough space for your dog to stretch out. Orthopedic beds made with high-quality foam provide your canine friend with much-needed comfort.
Orthopedic beds offer various benefits as they are durable and do not flatten over time. They have proven to help reduce joint stiffness and pain. The memory foam technology used in these beds ensures reduced pressure points on your dog’s body and helps them get a good night‘s sleep. The thick and soft mattress provides support and comfort as the dog cannot feel the harsh floor.
- Dog ramps – If your dog is heavy and cannot easily be lifted, assist your dog by getting a dog ramp. Dog ramps are helpful as they can help your dog climb up to higher spaces such as cars, high porches, or couches comfortably. Dog ramps have rubber slopes which help them climb easily and prevent injuries.
- Harness or slings – Another very effective way to help your canine friend is to invest in a high-quality harness or a sling. A harness assists mobility and ensures safe movements through the affected parts of your dog’s body.
Harnesses come in various designs suited to your individual needs. If your dog has pain in the back, hips, or hind legs, rear-support-harness is highly useful. For arthritis in the front legs, a ‘front support harness’ which goes around the belly and chest area, should be considered. For dogs who suffer from arthritis in both parts of their body, a ‘full body harness’ can help immensely. Harnesses and slings can provide gentle support and help prevent pain.
- Invest in a stroller or a wheelchair – Sometimes, when your dog is in severe pain and cannot go out for long walks, a stroller or a wheelchair can help with the much-needed movement. Even though we want our dogs to regain their mobility, muscle strength and use their limbs, taking them out on a stroller once in a while won’t do any harm. Strollers and wheelchairs allow our dogs to head outside and get some fresh air without putting any pressure on their joints.
- Exercise and massage – Arthritis not only affects physical health but mental and emotional health as well. Most dogs display behavioral changes such as irritability as a response to the pain they feel. They lose interest in playing and going for walks. Chronic arthritis makes the dogs pessimistic, uninterested, energy-drained, reduces their quality of life, and can also cause depression.
Gentle exercise to loosen the stiff joints, a relaxing canine massage, and heating pads can help relieve pain, ease the muscles and calm your dog.
Physical Therapy for your canine friend– When it comes to finding the most effective measures, physical therapy for arthritis stands out. It is a tried and tested approach that helps dogs regain balance. The physical therapist looks for abnormal movement or compensated dysfunction to identify trigger points and pain. They then employ joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization or massage, passive range of motion (PROM), and stretching to treat your dog with arthritis. It helps in releasing tense muscles and increasing the range of motion.
Taking your dog for regular physical therapy will also reduce inflammation and pain. Physical therapy for dogs with arthritis is essential. It is because it can even reduce your dog’s dependence on medications that may cause side effects. Hence, consulting an expert provides both relief from pain and safe treatment for your dog.
Even though arthritis cannot be cured completely, it is possible to lessen the pain. With a bit of patience and a lot more faith and commitment, you and your canine friend can get through this together. Keep loving and caring for your dog, take them for regular physical therapy, and look for the best equipment to assist them with, and your dog will live a happy and comfortable life.