Prevention and Care of Osteoarthritis in Dogs

As your dog gets older, one of the most common and most debilitating diseases he can face is osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease. This will affect every area of his life, from mobility and flexibility to eating habits and sleeping comfort. However, with proper protection and maintenance, you can help delay the damage and reduce the ways your dog has to deal with the pain and discomfort.

Although most dogs will experience arthritis in varying degrees throughout their life, it usually affects larger dogs and other dogs that are predisposed to joint problems. However, preventative measures are important in any dog to slow the progression of the disease and keep them active longer. Make sure your dog is getting the right nutrients and regular exercise in the first half of his life, which will keep his body healthy and help him maintain a proper weight. Daily vitamin and mineral supplements are available to help your dog get the necessary nutrients, while preventative joint supplements contain key ingredients to slow the progression of joint problems.

Osteoarthritis happens when everyday activity or injury causes tissue damage. White blood cells invade and release destructive enzymes and free radicals into the open tissue space, causing the cartilage to deteriorate and synovial fluid to weaken. Without this protection and lubrication, the bone tips are exposed and begin to wear on each other, resulting in pain and inflammation.

If your dog is dealing with arthritis, you may notice that his activity level is much lower and he may have difficulty moving around. Stiffness and inflammation decreases his flexibility and mobility, so he may not be able to perform all his daily routine activities. Without proper exercise, his muscles start to weaken and shrink. This means your dog is even less active, starting a vicious cycle. Obesity also puts extra stress on their joints and causes even more pain, making arthritis a very uncomfortable disease for many dogs.

How can you make this easier for your dog? Joint care supplements contain increased levels of essential nutrients for joint health. These include glucosamine and chondroitin, which work together to help regenerate and repair cartilage and synovial fluids to maintain joint function and slow further deterioration. Daily low-impact exercise is also necessary to keep them active, preventing muscle atrophy and obesity. Give them a warm and comfortable sleeping area, such as a heated bed or an orthopedic bed, which can distribute their weight evenly and reduce their pain as they sleep. Ramps and elevated feeders can also ease the stress on their joints and make daily activities less painful.

Talk to your veterinarian for specific recommendations for your dog’s individual needs. Though joint problems may seem inevitable for your dogs, with the right care, you can keep your dog healthy and active throughout his entire life.

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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