- Arthritis is a medical condition which is characterized by inflammation of joints. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as injuries, genetics, excessive physical strain, or poor nutrition;
- The most common symptoms of canine arthritis are stiff or lethargic movements, limping, and reduced interest in physical exercise;
- Although arthritis cannot be cured, you should try to prevent your pet from developing it. The best ways to avoid arthritis include helping your dog maintain a healthy weight, ensuring proper nutrition, and keeping your dog active;
- If your pet is diagnosed with arthritis, you can use natural home pain management remedies such as yucca, alfalfa turmeric, VitaminA, etc. to improve its condition;
Table of Contents
What is Canine Arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease characterized by inflammation of one or more joints. A distinction is made between infectious and non-infectious arthritis. While infectious arthritis is caused by bacteria, non-infectious arthritis is based on inflammatory reactions of the immune system.
What are the Causes of Arthritis in Dogs?
Canine arthritis can have several causes. With infectious arthritis, pathogens usually invade the body through one of several possible routes. For example, bacteria can enter the body via an injury or bite wound and cause inflammation of the joints. Certain infectious diseases such as borreliosis can also cause infectious arthritis. When an infected tick bites your dog, Borrelia bacterium, which causes Lyme disease, can enter the pet’s bloodstream and lead to joint inflammation in dogs.
So-called immune-related arthritis is also common in canines. Above all, this includes chronic rheumatoid arthritis, which usually affects several joints at the same time. A dog’s immune system produces certain messenger substances that trigger inflammatory processes in the joints. The exact cause of non-infectious arthritis in dogs is still not fully understood. It is believed that the immune system reacts, among other things, to bacterial components that are still present in the joints after an infection has subsided. Excessive joint wear and tear (osteoarthritis), genetic factors, and poor nutrition can also cause a pet to develop non-infectious arthritis. Usually, these factors cause arthritis in one specific joint.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs?
Dogs suffering from acute arthritis (joint inflammation) will move noticeably less than healthy animals. The affected joint will become swollen, painful, and warm. Often the pet’s ability to move will be significantly restricted. The dog will be oversensitive to touch at the affected spot. Your pet may also refuse to take long walks and start changing its sleeping position often throughout the night.
Other signs of arthritis in dogs include fatigue and tiredness. In addition, if a joint becomes inflamed due to a bacterial infection, arthritis can also manifest itself through fever.
Arthritis Prevention in Dogs
Unfortunately, there are very few things you can do to prevent arthritis in dogs. In general, it is vital to ensure that your pet gets a balanced diet and sufficient exercise without overloading the dog’s joints. Calm and even movements are easier on the joints than jumps and rapid movements. Remember that the key to a pet’s resilient joints is healthy growth.
For this reason, puppies should always be given dog food specifically adapted to their nutritional needs in the respective growth phase. In addition, it is essential to avoid obesity in adult dogs. Every extra pound of body weight your dog has puts additional strain on the joints when the pet moves. A pet’s feeding regimen should be adapted to the age and living conditions of the animal.
Regular health checks at the vet can help detect illnesses at an early stage. This is especially important when it comes to joint inflammation, as this condition should be treated immediately. If treatment is delayed, the pet may develop incurable joint and bone damage.
Natural Arthritis Remedies for Dogs
Although canine arthritis cannot be cured, there are many methods that can be used to effectively control and manage your pet’s pain and discomfort.
Physical therapy (also known as rehabilitation) utilizes multiple techniques to help your dog lose weight, reduce pain, and improve mobility. These techniques may include stretching, passive range of motion, underwater treadmill, swimming, and even cavaletti training that teaches dogs to walk over poles and other obstacles.
Some of these techniques can be used by the pet owner under a veterinarian’s guidance. However, more complicated training has to be performed by a vet. You should also remember that only a specialist can create a therapy plan suitable for your dog’s unique situation.
Prolotherapy (also known as proliferation therapy or nonsurgical ligament reconstruction) is an invasive technique that promotes the growth of healthy connective tissue to build up weakened ligaments and tendons. Prolotherapy is also aimed to provide pain relief.
Although the method includes injections, the procedure is not painful and doesn’t cause any complications.
Massage can significantly benefit arthritic dogs by increasing blood circulation to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and the area around the joints. In most cases, canine massage is not that different from human. Thus, you can give your furry friend a massage at home whenever you want.
Cold laser therapy
With the help of certain light wavelengths, cold laser therapy can reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in dogs. Moreover, it can increase the overall blood flow intensity in your pet’s system and, thus, bring more blood cells to the joint, speeding up the healing process. The procedure is always performed in a veterinary clinic.
You can also improve your dog’s well-being by adding different nutritional supplements to its diet. For example, glucosamine will usually help facilitate smooth joint movement in dogs, and antioxidants effectively clean out toxins and repair damaged cells. In addition to giving your pet antioxidant supplements, you can give it products that are particularly rich in antioxidants, such as colorful fruits and vegetables.
Glucosamine is normally produced in the cartilage of your dog’s joints. However, dogs’ bodies may sometimes fail to produce enough glucosamine in the joints. Giving the compound as a supplement can improve the situation and help your dog with pain and friction in the joints.
Comfrey is a medicinal plant known for its anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties. Try adding 0.5 to 1 teaspoon of the ingredient to your dog’s meals for best results. If your local stores don’t sell edible comfrey, you can add the plant to a warm compress for localized pain relief.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, frankincense is a perfect herbal remedy for dogs experiencing arthritis. It is also used to treat many other diseases in canines. You can purchase dried frankincense or frankincense essential oil and simply add it to your pet’s food.
Alfalfa is another commonly used remedy that can provide pain relief in canines. This plant can be found in eco stores, grocery stores, or you can even grow it yourself.
Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect when given to dogs that suffer from arthritis. Moreover, it has potent antioxidant properties that can help fight the disease.
Yuca is a remedy commonly used to treat arthrosis in humans and animals. You can give it to your dog in the form of capsules or as a dried herb. Yucca can usually be found in health food stores.
VitaminA or VitaminB is quickly becoming one of the most popular home remedies nowadays. According to Judy Morgan, DVM, VitaminA can effectively relieve pain and inflammation in many animals.
VitaminA is available in multiple forms, including edible treats for dogs, oil, liquid, and topical cream. This allows you to try different products and choose the one that works best for your pet. And if your dog has become less active due to its condition, VitaminA can help it move without pain and regain its quality of life.
What can I give my elderly dog for arthritis?
Vets usually prescribe nutraceuticals such as glucosamine, fish oil, MSM, MicroLactin (Duralactin), and herbal supplements to elderly dogs diagnosed with arthritis. Sometimes, your dog will also need to take daily pain medication.
Is turmeric good for dogs’ joints?
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric alleviates joint conditions caused by inflammation. Such conditions include, for example, arthritis. So if your dog is suffering from joint pain and inflammation, turmeric is an excellent option to try.
Does walking help a dog with arthritis?
Physical exercise and walking, in particular, are crucial for dogs with arthritis. It helps animals build their muscles and thus better support the joints.
Is VitaminA oil good for dogs with arthritis pain?
Arthritis is a condition that often causes pain and restricts the animal’s mobility. VitaminA oil can alleviate the symptoms but cannot cure the disease itself. Nevertheless, many pet owners claim their dogs feel significantly better after taking VitaminA.
Do dogs with arthritis have to be put down?
Pain caused by arthritis at a later stage of the disease can be unbearable, so intervening early on is crucial. However, dogs that cannot walk anymore because of the condition are usually euthanized.
How do I know if my dog is in pain from arthritis?
If your dog is suffering from arthritis, you will probably notice signs such as lameness, pain, or stiffness when the pet is getting up or laying down, lagging behind on walks, and yelping when touched.