How To Make Your Older, Arthritic Dog More Comfortable

Posted on: 16 June 2016

Has your older dog begun to move more stiffly and slowly? Chances are, he is suffering from arthritis. The symptoms are the same in dogs as they are in humans – the joints begin to feel sore and stiff. To help your older, arthritic dog feel more comfortable, follow these tips.

Put everything on the same floor.

Navigating stairs will become harder as your dog's arthritis progresses. Sometimes, he may feel up to climbing up or down the stairs – and you should let him – but you don't want your home set up in a way that forces him to navigate the stairs. Put all of his food, beds, and toys on the same floor so he doesn't over-exert himself and make the pain worse.

Switch to a dog food made for joint support.

A dog food made specifically for dogs with arthritis typically contains ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, which help maintain healthy cartilage and lubricate the joints. Such a food won't heal your dog's arthritis, but it will help prevent it from becoming any worse. Make sure you switch your dog over slowly from his current diet. Mix the two foods together for a few weeks before you begin feeding only the new food. If you're unsure of which joint formula food is best for your dog's needs, talk to a vet, like one at Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic.

Encourage gentle exercise.

Staying active will help keep your dog's joints loose and will help keep the arthritis from worsening.  While you won't want to take your dog on a 10-mile run or spend hours at the dog park, a low-key game of fetch or a 15-minute, leisurely walk around the block each day will work wonders.

Talk to your vet about NSAIDs.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and firocoxib are helpful for many dogs. They help alleviate joint inflammation, which in turn keeps pain at bay. However, these drugs are not right for every dog, so you need to check with your vet before you begin giving them to your furry friend.

Provide a heating pad.

Heat can make your dog's joints less sore. When you're home, consider plugging in a heating pad and setting it on the sofa or your dog's bed. He can lay on it, letting the heat loosen and soothe his joints. Just make sure you unplug the pad when you're not home so you don't risk a fire.

Many dogs stay happy and healthy for years after developing arthritis. Follow the tips above, and your dog can be one of them.