10 Things To Do To Reduce Pain And Improve Mobility In Dogs Suffering from Arthritis

Arthritis is quite common in dogs, especially in senior dogs. According to most experts, 1 in every 5 dogs suffers from different degrees of arthritis. This degenerative joint disease is usually quite painful, and it hampers the quality of life by impairing the mobility of the dogs it affects.

Depending on the stage of arthritis, your dog may be suffering anything from a mild discomfort to severe mobility issues and acute symptoms of pain and inflammation. Arthritis is not completely curable, but there are ways to slow down its progress and provide relief to your dog.

The key is to detect the early signs and start the arthritis treatment as early as possible. Detecting the problem early buys you enough time to slow down the degeneration process and quite possibly improve mobility.

In this post, we picked 10 effective ways to reduce the pain and other symptoms of arthritis in dogs.

Get Recommendations for Dog Joint Supplements from a Vet

There are plenty of dog joint supplements in the market. Some work others do not. Consult a vet to know which arthritis supplement is right for your pet. Most of these supplements contain a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, turmeric extract, Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiable (ASU), and others. There is a fair bit of evidence that these ingredients work in different degrees to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

However, the efficacy of a particular product depends on the manufacturer, purity of the blend, and the overall formula. Vets have experience recommending these products and they get feedback from hundreds of pet parents about what’s working and what’s not. Even though these are over-the-counter medications, it’s best to consult a vet for recommendations.

Don’t Miss Vet Appointments

Arthritis cannot be treated in one or two appointments. Vets usually recommend products and set dates for future consultations. Don’t miss these appointments because they help in monitoring the progress of the disease.

Keep Your Pet Warm and Dry

Cold and moist conditions make the symptoms of arthritis worse. On the other hand, keeping your dog warm and dry can relieve pain. Vets often recommend compression using dry heat to provide relief directly to the joints.

cute cavalier spaniel yawning
Cute cavalier spaniel yawning on the sofa, under warm brown blanket.

Consider Pet Acupuncture Treatment

Canine acupuncture is a real thing and it’s often reported to be highly effective in treating symptoms of arthritis. Acupuncture can help dogs produce anti-inflammatory compounds within their bodies and thereby reducing arthritic sores.

Use Recommended NSAIDs to Provide Relief from Acute Pain

Human non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be dangerous for dogs. For example, Advil (Ibuprofen), which is a safe human drug is actually toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. Speak to a vet and get an animal-approved drug for your pet.

NSAIDs are great for short term treatment and to provide relatively quick relief from pain and inflammation.

Add Ramps to Ease Movement

Climbing stairs or jumping can become incredibly painful after arthritis. Install ramps in front of your house, so your dog can easily get in and out. Installing ramps to help your dog reach a sofa or a high resting place may also be a good idea.

Install Carpeting or Floor Tiles That Provides Traction

Slippery floors and painful joints don’t go well together. Dogs often find it difficult to walk on regular tiled surfaces after arthritis as they offer limited grip. Install carpeting or tiles with an anti-slip coating to improve mobility.

Buy a Recommended Heated Bed

Arthritis pain usually gets worse at night. This is exactly where a heated dog bed can provide comfort and relief. The heat allows the muscles to relax and provides comfort from the pain.

Take Your Dog Swimming

Dogs suffering from arthritis often have trouble walking around and thus are reluctant to exercise. The lack of exercise can cause them to gain weight, which in turn puts more pressure on the joints. One simple solution is swimming. Swimming is an excellent low impact exercise for dogs that puts very little pressure on the joints. Guided swimming sessions can help you keep your dog’s weight in check and provide a dose of fun.

Pomeranian dog swim in swimming pool
Pomeranian dog swim in swimming pool, rehabilitation for canine arthritis.

Give Arthritis Massage

Several vets recommend learning massaging techniques to alleviate pain in arthritic dogs. Learn the techniques to gently massage the stifles (knee area), which is a commonly affected joint. Massaging may also involve moving the legs gently to improve overall mobility. There are plenty of YouTube videos that can help you learn the techniques to properly massage an arthritic dog and provide instant relief. Vets can also show you how to massage your dog.

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