The skeleton of our best friends can also deteriorate with age. Arthritis in dogs is a disease that affects almost 20% of the canine population in Spain. We are going to see its symptomatology and possible causes, as well as give you some home remedies for arthritis in dogs.
How to detect arthritis in dogs: symptoms
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints; the cartilage wears down over time and, consequently, there is a progressive friction between the bones.
Therefore, arthritis is a degenerative disease in dogs and other mammals of advanced age, which makes it difficult for them to move because of the pain caused by the friction of the bones against each other.
The pain will cause your dog to show symptoms that suggest he is suffering from this disease:
- Joint stiffness: you will see that your dog tends to move less, and avoids certain joint twists when walking or lying down.
- Limitation of movement: as a result, your dog will be more clumsy than usual when he has to move, and you will notice that it is more difficult for him to lie down, get up or walk up the stairs.
- Reduced physical activity: because of joint pain, your dog will refuse to play or run as he used to, and will tend to adopt a sedentary behavior.
- Deformation of the joints: the destruction of the cartilage eventually leads to inflammation, as the element that protects the bones of the joint from rubbing against each other is eliminated.
Causes of arthritis in dogs
The inevitable: age
Arthritis in older dogs is, unsurprisingly, the most common. As they get older, dogs suffer the consequences of the degeneration of their cartilage. In short, something very similar to what can happen to people.
The bad news is that this is an irreversible process, in which we can only intervene to attenuate the symptoms and improve a little the quality of life of our friend.
That of the "first world": overweight
On the other hand, overweight is a factor that aggravates and accelerates the evolution of arthritis. It is more common to find inflamed joints in obese dogs than in dogs with a good body mass index.
The problem is that urban lifestyles often restrict the time owners spend with their dogs to exercise and maintain proper muscle tone. When muscles are not toned, the skeleton must support the weight of the entire body, and the likelihood of deterioration increases.
The avoidable: poor diet
Another consequence associated with a sedentary lifestyle is poor nutrition, either because the dog overeats or because the quality of its food is inadequate. Normally, veterinarians stress the importance of feeding the most balanced and complete food possible.
Therefore, if a dog usually eats dairy products, red meat, bread, citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes or nuts (among other foods), it is very likely to develop arthritis, even prematurely.
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4 tips to improve the situation of your dog with arthritis
1. Personalized diet
Even assuming the chronic nature of arthritis in dogs and the non-existence of a treatment, it is possible to lessen its effect through a diet specifically designed for dogs with arthritis. Veterinarians usually recommend the intake of hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, fatty acids (Omega 3 and 6) and vitamins C and E.
2. Gentle exercise
Before it is too late and arthritis forces the dog to remain prostrate most of the time, it is advisable to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and do physical exercises that allow him to keep his muscle mass. It is quite possible that he will no longer be able to run as he used to, so we recommend swimming, an exercise in which the joints suffer less.
3. Ease of movement
Architectural barriers are not only a nuisance for disabled people, but also for dogs with arthritis. If your dog suffers from this disease, it is not advisable for him to go up and down stairs regularly, or to try to climb on the sofa or bed.
4. Rest and rest
Finally, you will have to assume that your dog will need more rest times, and that these will have to be sufficiently restorative. Therefore, we advise you to provide your best friend with a suitable mattress, both in terms of size and ergonomics, where he can adopt natural postures and not strain his joints. The viscoelastic mattresses for dogs that you will find in our store are perfect to guarantee your pet's rest.
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Arthritis in dogs is a degenerative disease that, despite being chronic and unavoidable, has an impact that can be mitigated. With a diet that slows down the degeneration of cartilage, physical exercise and, of course, comfortable mattresses that favor their rest, we will be helping our best friend to better cope with their pain.