It is always a sad experience to hear your beloved pet has arthritis. The good news is there are some ways you can make your pet more comfortable. The first step to understanding how to help your animal, is understanding what it is you are dealing with.
Arthritis is a painful yet common condition usually (as with people) in older dogs. It causes swelling of the joints. One in Five adult dogs are affected by arthritis. There are two types of arthritis in canines. These are known as degenerative and inflammatory. However the symptoms for both are basically identical.
Symptoms of canine arthritis:
Weight loss/gain- Your dog may lose or gain weight if they are suffering from arthritis. Depression is another symptom which may also cause your pet to eat more or less than normal.
Difficulty sitting/standing- If you notice your pet shifting a lot while laying down, or taking longer than normal to stand, this too could be caused by arthritis. It is very painful and can make it very difficult for your dog to get comfortable.
Hesitancy to climb stairs/jump or play- When suffering from arthritis you may notice your pet is no longer jumping on the couch/bed to sit or lie with you. He/she may also stand at the bottom of stairs and take a more zigzagged approach to climbing them. Some animals will refuse to climb them all together. You may also notice your pet less willing to play their favorite game, or take that evening walk than previous times. Even coming to get a treat may seem like it’s a chore for them.
Limping or favoring a limp- Of course this could mean they hurt themselves somehow and should never be disregarded. You may notice your pet first limping to baby one leg, then switching to baby another. If it is arthritis you will notice the lameness come and go, and often switch limbs.
Sleeping more than usual- You dog may sleep often to dull the pain he/she is in. Lethargy is a common symptom of arthritis.
Changes in mood- Your pet may all of a sudden stop listening when called and seem reluctant to move. He/she may become easily agitated and growl, whine, nip, or show his teeth when touched or forced into an activity. This is because of the pain so please try to be understanding. These aggressive behaviors are more likely to happen, to those who are not “his people”. Your pet may also become ill due to arthritis and you may notice a fever, or your pet may lick certain spots often trying to relieve the pain, these areas, when touched, may feel warmer due to the swelling.
There are a ton of supplements and even medications you can buy to help your animal. There is even the possibility your pet may need surgery to get relief, depending on the severity of the case. Contact your vet and they will be able to point you in the right direction of what is best for your pet.