The arthritis dogs have can immobilize and subject your dog to intense pain, which is why there’s every reason to be alarmed if your dog is diagnosed with it. Fortunately, there is a variety of treatments available for dogs with arthritis. Before you choose one, or in case your vet has prescribed a certain treatment, you should first equip yourself with the several choices available.
1. Glucosamine and chondroitin (GAGS)
Usually given in oral form, GAG products prevent arthritis by strengthening the joins and rebuilding the cartilage in older dogs. If you don’t see changes after three to four weeks, you might want to switch brands, since dogs respond differently to supplements. There are also injectable GAGs, usually administered when orals don’t work. Just carefully follow the instructions in the packet.
2. A Health, Well-Balanced Diet
Another preventive measure is to have a healthy diet. Thereare certain foods you have to eliminate to prevent arthritis, suchas seeds, potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. Instead, you might want to include certain foods that will help protect your dog, such as celery, alfalfa, tropical fruits, and papaya.
3. Maintain their weight by regular exercise
Help your dog lose weight. The excess fat has to go, because they’re bogging down the mobility of your dog. Depending on the age and capabilities of your dog, you should opt for low-impact exercises to keep them flexible. Short walks and swimming are also great exercises that address arthritis.
4. Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements
Fish oil, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, has been proven to reduce inflammation. You should also put your dogs on Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Bromelain (which is found in pineapples). You should also consider certain herbs that have been known for its anti-inflammatory properties, like licorice, nettle leaf, meadowswear, and yucca root to name a few.
5. Natural therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic treatments
Relieve the joint pain in your dogs by subscribing to natural therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, and hydrotherapy. These alternative treatments will help “align” your dog’s limbs and make them more mobile.
Two other methods, warmth and DLPA, have likewise been scientifically proven to address arthritis.
Warmth can help reduce arthritis pain. Thick, orthopedic beds that insulate your dog from the cold floor or ground as well as cushioning the joints provide a lot of comfort. There are also heated dog beds available, but be sure that the cords cannot be chewed. A product called “DogLeggs” can be custom-made to keep elbows, hocks, or wrists (carpus) warm. Some people have reported success using the homeopathic treatments Traumeel and Zeel by Heel Biotherapeutics.
Eventually, no matter what you do, your dog may require treatment for chronic pain. There is one more nutraceutical that can help with this: dl-phenylalanine (DLPA), an amino acid that is used to treat both depression and chronic pain.
The most common dosage range for dogs is 1 to 5 mg/lb (3 to 10 mg/kg) of body weight, but I have seen dosage recommendations as high as 5 to 10 mg per pound (2 to 5 mg/kg), two or three times a day. In humans, very high doses may cause numbness, tingling, and other signs of nerve damage, so be on the watch for any signs that your dog may be experiencing these if using such high doses. It takes time for DLPA to begin to work, so it must be used continuously rather than just as needed. Often, however, you needn’t continue to give DLPA daily once it has taken effect; sometimes it can be given as little as one week per month to retain results. It is safe to combine DLPA with all other arthritis drugs, but do not combine DLPA with MAOI drugs such as Anipryl (selegiline, l-deprenyl), used in the treatment of Cushing’s Disease and canine cognitive dysfunction, or amitraz (found in tick collars). (Read More)
This is a bit controversial, because of the many side effects that it can cause to your dog, like liver and kidney failure, ulcer, and even death. Before putting your dogs on NSAIDs like Rimadyl (carprofen), Etogesic (etodolac), and Deramaxx (deracoxib), you should consult a vet. There are also certain precautions you should observe: have your dog’s blood tested; never administer it on an empty stomach; discontinue it at once at the first sign of complications; lastly, be very cautious when switching from one brand to another.
An alternative to NSAID, tramadol is generally safer but less effective in terms of anti-inflammation. It can be used alongside NSAIDs, and can even be used on a continuous basis.
Canine arthritis is a serious issue. The good news is that you don’t have to see your old buddy suffer every day for this condition. You can help your dog get through this condition, if you choose the treatment that is both safe and effective.