Owning a dog may not be as fun and interesting as you may think. The euphoria that surrounds the whole “getting a dog” part is excellent, and it will last for as long as you have him, however, pretty soon you will find out that taking care of a dog is no different to taking care of a baby. There are some “hairy” differences but it is all the same when you look at it from that perspective.
You see, your dog has to eat just as much as you do. Your dog has to drink water just as much as you do. Of course, your dog needs to take a walk because he can’t just stay in one place, just as much as you can’t!
Oh, and your dog can get sick, just like you can! You see, before getting a dog you have to really be prepared for all of these things, because at the end of the day, it is actually a chore you must do! Yes, your dog will be your best friend, but you have to make him happy! So, in order to get better prepared you have to think of everything listed – especially about “dog” diseases.
With that being said, if you own a dog, this article will be of great use to you!
What is exactly arthritis?
Arthritis can easily be explained as pain and inflammation in joint and tissue area. So, anywhere where your bones meat each other (like in knees, fingers, hips, toes – which are all joints) the pain may occur. Unfortunately, this disease is very common nowadays.
As we can see from this medical research, arthritis can (if not dealt with in time) cause many horrifying diseases and problems, such as immobility.
To make arthritis look even more like a real “bad guy” here, another research shows that over 50 million people have some form of arthritis. So yes, there are many types and none of them are better than the other.
What is important here is that you notice the early signs of arthritis because you will be able to act fast and avoid getting diagnosed with it in the first place.
The early signs are: joint pain, joint warmth, joint tenderness, joint stiffness, limited range of motion in some areas.
So, arthritis is pretty common in humans, but the real question here, and the topic of this article – can it affect dogs?
Can dogs have arthritis?
Since arthritis is such a common problem as it is, there was many research conducted by many different scientists related to the disease. Backed up by this research, arthritis is a disease also very common in animals; dogs in particular!
Even when it comes to dogs there are many types of arthritis. Since they are more or less all the same, this article will address only the most common one – arthritis related to age.
How to see if your dog has arthritis?
Just like with humans, it is important to notice the signs of arthritis in dogs as well. Sometimes all you will be able to do is ease the pain, but sometimes you might just eliminate disease before it even begins.
Here is what you should look out for when it comes to arthritis in dogs:
If you notice your dog limping or favoring one leg over the other without you knowing of his injury, that just might be the sign of arthritis.
The best time to spot this is when your dog stands up after a long time of laying down as that will be the time when his muscles will be “cold” and his body will feel everything when it comes to movement, just like humans do.
If your dog suddenly doesn’t seem energetic when you take him out for a walk, or if he chooses to sit all the time rather than walk and run, it may be time to check the vet. This will be quite easy to spot. Also, if your dog is in pain while he is moving, you will definitely easily “read” that from him.
Issues regarding the spine
Arthritis can not only be located in your dog’s legs. It also very often targets your pet’s spine. The sign of spinal issues is a hunch in the back.
Tired all the time
If your dog suffers from arthritis it may seem that he is tired all the time. That’s because he actually is! The way to notice this is by simply watching your dog’s behavior. If he spends more time lying on the ground doing nothing than usual, it might be the time for concern.
Dogs that suffer from arthritis also suffer from muscle atrophy. Dying of your dog’s muscle tissue is a strong sign that there is something wrong – most likely the problem is arthritis.
Why does this happen to dogs?
Well, if you want to look at it that way, it happens for the same reason it happens to humans.
As your dog gets older and older, the surface of his joints becomes thinner. That’s the time when his cartilage cells die as well. After a cartilage cell dies it releases an enzyme that causes inflammation of the joint capsule. Joint fluid is released in the process.
As the surface of his joints gets thinner, the space where the joints are normally stored gets smaller. This makes the bones deteriorate.
So, that’s the science behind arthritis in dogs, which was also essential for you to understand in order to help your dog better. Also keep in mind that genetics plays an important role.
Since we have started talking about helping your dog, the following part of the article will show you some solutions you may try that are found quite beneficial.
How to help your dog if arthritis occurs?
1. Take care of the surfaces of your house
Your dog will spend most of his time around your house, if you are not keeping him inside of it. Well, since that will be his “habitat” for the time being, you should at least make sure that it is comfortable. You wouldn’t want to sleep on a bed that makes your back hurt in the morning, would you?
With that being said, try and provide your dog with a padded bedding that will keep him away from cold drafts.
So, instead of steps you may want to put ramps. Inside the house or (or outside, if possible), you should put surfaces that are not that hard to the feet and not that slippery as well. You can also put padded steps near the bed so that your dog can easily get on and off of it.
2. Take care of your dog’s body
It would be good for your dog’s arthritis problem if you learned how to massage his body correctly. This would stimulate his blood flow and his regeneration would be faster. If your dog’s arthritis state cannot be reversed, this method would at least eliminate the pain to a decent extent.
There are lots of canine massage therapist and most of them are offering pet owners some free lectures so that they too can take care of their pets.
3. Buy supplements
There are countless products that are meant for dogs that are suffering from arthritis. Most of them contain MSM, green-lipped mussel, chondroitin etc.
Although there are plenty of verified and trusted products, you should take your dog to a local vet and ask him for an advice. He might give you the best product for your dog’s condition. You have to be careful with this one because your dog’s health is on the line here! You can’t just throw everything at him and hope something will work. That could just make things worse.
So, as we have come to the ending of the article I would want to make one final statement. That statement is actually a flashback to something I have already written in this article earlier.
In all times you must remember that your dog’s health is in your hands! Taking care of your dog is just like taking care of your child – it will hurt itself if you don’t look over it.
With that being said, if you still haven’t gotten a dog yet, first prepare everything you need and prepare yourself for the chores you would have to do around it.
If you already have a dog, be more responsible when it comes to him. You may not see that but your dog will appreciate it so much! Also, you won’t have to worry about taking your dog to the vet every other day because your dog will be healthy to begin with. So, if you want to hear a healthy “woof”, you must take care of everything described.
Well, that would be it when it comes to this article. I hope you have enjoyed and I definitely hope you have learned many interesting, helpful things! Until next time, good luck with your dog!