As dogs advance in age, most of them become less playful and active. While most dog owners easily attribute this change to their dogs’ personality changes as they grow old, these symptoms may in fact be a sign of arthritis or degenerative joint disease. One of the most common dog ailments, arthritis is found in one in five dogs. As arthritis is most prevalent among older dogs, you might not realize that your dog is already suffering from this chronic pain condition. It is caused by a variety of reasons—from genetics to the lack of physical activity during your dog’s earlier years. Just like humans, arthritis is also caused by the wear and tear of the joints over time.
The signs of arthritis don’t come all at once. These changes take place over time, and most pet parents don’t realize the symptoms until later on. This is why you should pay careful attention to your dog’s disposition. When your dog doesn’t move around and play as much as used to, you should already be put on guard. You might also notice that they don’t want to go up and down the stairs, and would limp at times.
The very first thing to do is take a trip to your vet. Let him examine your pooch to rule out any underlying medical problem such as broken bone, torn ligament, or cancer that could be causing Fido pain. By conducting several diagnostic procedures, your vet will find out the real cause and decide on the most effective management strategy. If your dog suffers from arthritis or a similar form of chronic joint pain, your vet will likely recommend pain medication. Try consulting your vet for any recommendation on specific foods that are especially made for both joint care as well as pain management.
In addition, although your dog is already slowing down, remember that he still needs exercise to keep him fit. A nice walk in the park or swimming can be both therapeutic. (Read more here.)
You are in the best position to observe the changes in your dog. Once the vet has recommended the appropriate foods and exercises for your dog, you can also help ease your dog’s pain by rubbing their muscles gently or taking them to a dog massage specialist.
Does your dog seem to be in pain lately? Perhaps a visit to the vet will finally settle once and for all if your dog has arthritis. Whatever the diagnosis may be, the most important thing is for your canine friend to get help and be comfortable, no matter what.