Joint Pain in Senior Dogs
In this post, I wanted to talk about joint pain in senior dogs because my own dog is approaching fifteen years old. I have been researching ways to alleviate any discomfort she may have from arthritis and ways to spot the signs of joint pain.
As you can see from the photo Holly is a very small dog (Chihuahua/Shih Tzu cross). I try hard to keep her weight stable and she has coconut oil with her food. She has never had a day of illness throughout her life, which I think is amazing. She was spayed at three years old and recovered well from the operation, although she hated me for a while after!
Outwardly Holly is still extremely lively. She has no problems jumping on to the sofa or going up and down stairs. She can hear the treat tin when she is at the top of the garden and runs in at the speed of light. Unfortunately, she does have cataracts in both eyes but this doesn’t seem to affect her sight too much. I have noticed that she sleeps more now and doesn’t always want to go for a walk. Apart from that, she is extremely happy, a little bossy and completely devoted to me.
Older dogs experience joint pain from normal wear and tear to their body. However, in some larger breeds, the extra weight they carry can cause degenerative joint problems when they are much younger.
Here are the signs to look out for which signal that your dog is experiencing joint stiffness.
The dog may experience difficulty standing after a long sleep.
He may be slower or reluctant to climb stairs.
There may be a slight limp when he walks.
The joints may seem swollen and appear to be stiff.
The dog may seem less inclined to play or want to go for walks.
He may seem sleepy, lethargic, even depressed.
The dog may not like being touched or petted as much as he previously did.
What is Arthritis?
The most common form of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease. It is caused when the cartilage in the joints wears down so there is less to cushion and protect the joint. In severe cases, the bones can rub together or a spur can form.
The joints most affected by arthritis are hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, ankles and lower back.
If the changes you observe are slight there are things you can do to relieve the symptoms.
However, if at any time the dog looks like he is experiencing pain, veterinary intervention is required.
1 Monitor the dog’s weight.
Excess weight puts a strain on the joints.
Take a look at this post for some useful tips to help with your dog’s weight
Strengthen muscles with physical activity. There are some helpful tips to increase your dog’s fitness here
3 Use food supplements
Add fish oil to decrease inflammation in the joints.
Coconut oil can aid arthritis when added to the dog’s food.
Make sure that the dog has a padded bed to sleep in away from draughts with a warm blanket.
This dog bed comes with a gel or orthopedic mattress. There are lots of colours available and various sizes to suit your dog. This one is on sale at the moment with 25% off,
If you have wooden floors provide rugs or a ramp to prevent the dog from slipping.
Gentle massage can stimulate blood flow. Here are a few tips on how to massage your dog.
7 Warm Compress
Hold a hot water bottle or a warm towel to provide relief to the joint.
Ask your vet to recommend a trained acupuncturist.
9 Water Therapy
Nonweight bearing exercise is really good for your dogs. Ask your vet to recommend a water therapist.
10 Joint Supplements
There are specially designed joint supplements which are thought to aid arthritis in dogs. They can be purchased online or from pet stores. Please read instructions to make sure that you choose the right one for your dog. Look for supplements which contain glucosamine and chondroitin.