Arthritis is a painful condition in which the joints become inflamed and uncomfortable. It is not only seen in humans, but also in animals such as dogs. If you have an older dog who has begun to have some trouble getting around, there is a good chance he or she has arthritis. Visit the vet for a diagnosis, and then follow these tips to ensure your dog remains as comfortable as possible in spite of this condition.
Provide steps and stools for your dog to access any furniture.
If you allow your dog up on sofas or your bed, make sure you place a step or stool next to this higher surface. This way, your dog can climb up onto the sofa or bed rather than having to jump. Climbing is much easier on their joints. Some dog owners figure that once their dog becomes arthritic, they simply won't allow them to jump on the sofa or bed anymore, but this approach doesn't tend to work well. A dog who has spent his or her whole life on the furniture will want to still be up there, so it's best to make it easier for them to get up.
Minimize the stairs your dog needs to climb.
If you have a multi-story home, consider rearranging some things so your dog does not have to climb stairs as often. For instance, start feeding your dog on the main floor, not down the stairs in the basement.
Put rugs on hard floors.
Walking across hard floors can be rough for dogs with arthritis. Their paws may slide, which can worsen joint pain. The act of stepping on a hard surface can also cause pain. If you have any non-carpeted floors in your home, put down some area rugs for your dog.
Feed them a joint supplement.
Talk to your vet about joint supplements that can help ease your dog's arthritis pain. Glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids, and MSM are three ingredients you'll often see in such supplements. Most come in the form of treats that can be fed once or twice per day.
Keep toenails well-trimmed.
Make sure you are trimming your dog's toenails on a regular basis — at least once a month. Long nails cause your dog to walk with more of his or her weight further back on the paw, which can make arthritis pain worse.
To learn more about dog care and managing arthritis in dogs, talk to your vet. There are plenty of ways to keep your canine companion comfortable.