Arthritis is a prevailing dog health condition that affects nearly 20% percent of dogs in North America beginning from the age of 1. This inflammatory health condition makes it highly painful and uncomfortable for dogs to move and carry out the normal routine tasks.
For one, this inflammatory condition affects the elbows and knees but also the joints present around the neck and spine. Arthritis refers to the deterioration, depletion in chronic cases, of joint cartilage.
The cartilage acts as a cushion for the smooth movement of bones and provides slight lubrication for swift bone adjustment during rest and posturing. However, due to inflammation and damage to the cartilage, the bones and joints in dogs don’t interact smoothly.
In fact, there is unnecessary friction (i.e., rubbing) that further increases the inflammation and becomes a common cause of occasional discomfort in dogs. Despite this, there are suitable and extensively beneficial treatment options that might let your dog enjoy and continue a playful life regardless of arthritis.
How Arthritis Impacts a Dog’s Joints
Arthritis is a common condition in dogs over the age of 1 in North America. However, you should not ignore the painful effects and occasional discomfort that occur due to the joint damage from canine arthritis.
When the cushion-like cartilage is depleted inside the joints of a dog, it experiences painful swelling in the affected area. This is because the bones and joints are now engaging and moving with increased friction that is leading to excessive inflammation from the rigid rubbing.
Once the joint is completely depleted of the connective tissue, it becomes nearly impossible for a dog to engage in physical motion, i.e., physical exercise, normal movements, etc.
Therefore, you should ask the dog’s vet about how it feels during its lethargic phases. And this means keeping an eye on the unusual activity/inactivity of your dog.
The Role of Rehabilitation for Arthritis
Arthritis rehabilitation, in reality, is a major reference to the physical rehabilitation of arthritic dogs. It caters to the needs of individual dog patients and involves muscle strength therapy while also focusing on other physical aspects of a dog’s body.
The core target of any physical therapy is to increase the active involvement of the patient, which determines the success rate. Commonly, veterinarians are focused on ensuring optimal functionality in your dog’s movement and physicality.
Therapy for Dogs with Arthritis
Canine physical therapies involve the use of human physiotherapy techniques to improve physical movement by enhancing and regulating muscle, joint, and bone movement. Physical therapy involves aerobic exercises that include swimming, jumping, running, walking, etc. It also includes some other home routine-related exercises that ease the joint and flex the muscles to a beneficial extent.
Some of them focus more on balance, while others work towards flexibility and strength. Despite this, it is your job as a dog owner to continue such practices even when rehabilitation is over.
Acupuncture is an ancient method of healing that creates medicinal and balancing effects inside the human body. Similarly, it is found that acupuncture can be beneficial to canines worldwide.
During acupuncture, insertion of pointy and extremely fine needles takes place onto specific anatomical locations on a dog’s body. This creates a relaxation effect on the muscles and helps to ease blood circulation.
For one, it has minimal side effects that revolve around slight soreness in the acupunctured area and even that for a short period of time. Subsequently, there is a release of calming and blood circulation enhancing hormones that further alleviate the pain in the muscles.
Dog massage solely focuses on the correction of tissue and muscle imbalance inside a dog’s body. Only an expert and experienced dog massage practitioner can yield great pain relief for your dog. Such professionals are able to identify the common causes of certain injuries alongside the anatomical locations where they might exist in your dog.
They massage to improve the return of flexibility that might have vanished due to extreme inactivity because of joint pain. Research shows that small animals were able to recover better from stress and anxiety after body massage.
Hydrotherapy – Range of Motion Exercises
Hydrotherapy/ range of motion exercise/underwater treadmill is a great asset to the veterinary rehabilitation of arthritic and other mobility-affected dogs. Weak and painful legs can benefit from the buoyancy of water and experience comforting resistance while performing easy motions.
In addition, the resistance and the turbulence that exists in water increase the muscle strength of the legs and the lower body when a dog performs this challenging task. It is also a form of endurance-building exercise.
In addition, the water temperature can help in improving blood circulation. To elaborate, a warm water temperature will not only increase the blood flow to the limbs but also create a soothing effect on the submerged parts of the body.
PEMF therapy involves the use of electromagnetic pulses that can help in kickstarting the inactive cells and membranes inside your dog’s body. This leads to better oxygenation and nutrients provision to different parts of the body.
Moreover, FDA also regulates the use of PEMF products to conduct this therapy at home. Once the inactive cells start working again, it becomes easy for your dog, and it might also experience a reduction in pain.
It is simply a non-invasive and non-pharmacological treatment option. Consequently, it can help in tissue and cell regeneration along with reducing inflammation in the affected parts of the body.
A controlled experiment suggested the use of low-level laser therapy on 17 dogs. It showed potential to reduce the inflammation and spasm in the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and tissues to a great extent. Moreover, due to reduced inflammation, there was an improvement in the range of motion of the joints in arthritic dogs.
Acupressure is somewhat similar to acupuncture. Nonetheless, it is also a part of traditional Chinese medicine. Also, it focuses on the balance of blood flow and better circulation by applying appropriate pressure on specific points of a dog’s body.
Further, it is a form of a non-invasive and relatively gentle technique of soothing inflamed, painful, and swelled parts of your dog’s body.
Other Holistic Supplements for Arthritis
CBD Oils are still gaining immense popularity for their ability to help support the biological immune systems in humans and pets alike. Especially, it is the weak dogs and other pets that are undergoing CBD applications to prove beneficial aspects of CBD oil and similar products such as CBD chews, bites, and tinctures.
One study shows the effects of CBD in dogs with arthritis and how it had a positive effect on them. Further studies suggest how CBD carries anti-inflammatory properties that can help in reducing inflammation and relieving joint pain. Another study found the anti-inflammatory and anti-pain effects of CBD oil in arthritic dogs.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is a natural chemical compound. Bear in mind, a natural amino sugar, such as glucosamine, when combined with chondroitin, creates impeccable regeneration and development of joint cartilage fluids.
It is essential for healthy joint development and smooth joint motions in a dog’s body. For that reason, some reputable businesses produce fine dog supplements that carry optimal amounts of glucosamine.
Soft Mobility Chews can be of great help if your dog is suffering from depleted cartilage in its joints.
Chondroitin (sulfate) possesses beneficial properties that can relieve stress in joints and muscles of the body in canines. It is a stress injury’s pain reduction technique that is most suitable for cartilage and its fluid regeneration and repair.
Research shows how chondroitin, when combined with glucosamine, can help to repair joint cartilage and enable swift joint motion. It is a great surprise to learn that there are soft chews and bites available online that will not only provide glucosamine and chondroitin to your dog but also other essential nutrients and compounds (i.e., organic hemp oil).
Fish oil refers to supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids. They are essential acids that you need to provide to your pet as their body does not produce them naturally.
Omega-3 fatty acids provide nutrition and support to cell membranes while inhibiting inflammation. It is proven through research that Omega-3 fatty acids help in delivering anti-inflammatory effects to a dog’s body.
Turmeric contains an active chemical compound, “curcumin,” that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent inside an arthritic dog’s body. Moreover, it is an antioxidant that helps to reduce oxidant stress and prevent the rise of other chronic conditions such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, etc.
Research confirms how a controlled group of canines benefitted from turmeric and experienced pain relief to a certain extent.
The best way to combine treatments is to initiate veterinary consultation and the proper acknowledgment of your dog’s physical as well as mental well-being.
Likewise, you will be able to search for the right treatment methods and techniques that will allow you to improve end results and ease the return of functionality to your dog’s body. One of the best ways to combine the above treatments is to go for a physical treatment alongside the most suitable food supplement.
For example, you can consult your vet to know how good a mobility soft chew will be for your dog when it undergoes certain physical range motion exercises. It is the combination of holistic treatments such as acupuncture, physical therapies, nutritional supplements, etc., that helps in achieving maximum recovery and alleviation of the pain symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
Our Final Thoughts
Arthritis is an incurable disease that can prolong its progression. Besides, it is a general concern for a majority of old dogs. Therefore, it is best to work on preventative measures rather than waiting for severe symptoms to appear in your dog’s activity or appearance.
Keep an eye out for unusual activity and ensure frequent vet check-ups to keep your pet’s health up-to-date.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you exercise a dog with arthritis?
Only under supervision or after consultation with your vet should you go for different types of exercises.
What is the best treatment for arthritis in dogs?
The best treatments combine adequate physical exercises along with nutritious supplements.
What home remedy can I give my dog for arthritis?
Natural herbs such as turmeric, ginger, alfalfa, etc., are some of the home remedies that you can provide to your arthritic dog.
How can I help my dog with arthritis pain?
You can massage and provide physical therapy to your dog to ease the stiffness and soreness of their muscles.