Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Relieving Arthritis Pain

Dogs experience joint pain from arthritis just like humans. The cartilage deteriorates around their bones and causes pain and inflammation.

My family's 10-year-old pit bull Mandy was diagnosed with arthritis six months ago. When she was diagnosed, she weighed over a 100 pounds. The vet stated that the main cause of the arthritis was her weight.

Mandy recently became a member of my family because my grandmother could no longer care for her. When we took her in, she was extremely overweight. My grandma spoiled the heck out of her. Mandy was given endless amounts of treats, mounds of table scraps and an overflowing bowl of dog food.

Mandy knew if she gave grandma a sloppy kiss she would get a tasty treat in return.

Mandy's eating habits caused her to have severe arthritis to the point where she could barely get up off the floor. She also had a noticeable limp when she walked. You could tell she was in pain.

The first step the vet recommended to treat her arthritis was to put her on a strict diet. Keeping a dog fit and low impact exercise can slow the progression of arthritis. We also treated her with anti-inflammatory medications the vet prescribed.

In addition to giving her medication, my family has installed an outside ramp so she doesn't have to walk up the stairs. We limit her exercise to walking so she doesn't put any extra stress her joints.

When she comes in from outside, she has soft plush bed to lay on instead of a blanket on the floor. Beds with a lot of cushion make dogs with arthritis more comfortable.

Other treatments for arthritis include physical and massage therapies. Hydrotherapy, which consists of walking on an underwater treadmill to relieve joint pressure, is extremely beneficial for dogs with arthritis. Learning to give your dog a quick massage can ease inflammation in their joints.

Dogs don't have to be old and overweight to develop arthritis. Other common causes of arthritis include trauma, leg injuries, hereditary joint conditions or joint infections.

The best way to prevent your dog from developing arthritis is to make sure they are eating a nutritionally balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis. However, exercise that is too strenuous can cause joint injuries. Dogs who have broken one of their legs are at a higher risk for arthritis.

Instead of reaching for a bag of Beggin' Strips, try giving your dog a treat that promotes hip and joint health.
To reduce your dog's chance of developing arthritis, the key is to fulfill your dog's specific nutritional and exercising needs. A healthy lifestyle will keep your dog pain free.

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