Canine arthritis is commonly referred to as other names such as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. As is the case with humans, older dogs typically have issues with this condition. Their joints will simply break down over time thanks to normal wear and tear.
Although arthritis in dogs usually occurs due to age, any dog can be affected. Getting hit by a car is a good way to develop it. Larger breeds also have an increased risk, especially if they suffer from hip dysplasia. Being overweight is another good way for a dog to start having issues with this condition.
Canine arthritis usually develops gradually as your dog ages. This is why owners usually have such a hard time spotting the problem early on. As it progresses though, your dog will stop being as active as he once was. He may not want his exercise sessions to last as long. Limping is a clear sign that something may be wrong. Cold weather can especially have an effect on your dog’s joints and bones, causing the symptoms to become more noticeable.
The best way for the vet to diagnose arthritis in dogs is to perform an x-ray. A physical examination will also be helpful. The painful condition causes your dog to stop using the affected limb(s) as often. This will cause the muscles to lose their tone and eventually shrink down.
There isn’t really a cure for canine arthritis. The only thing that can be done is to help your dog manage the painful symptoms using medication. You will also need to change his lifestyle somewhat. He’ll need to be provided with a healthy diet, especially if he’s overweight. Exercise may be difficult on arthritic dogs, so they shouldn’t be forced to do much that will impact their joints too much.
Arthritis in dogs can easily develop if they’re overweight due to the extra stress they’re putting on their joints. The pain can be relieved somewhat by helping your dog lose weight through a combination of healthy meals and appropriate exercise for his condition.
Cold, wet weather may cause your dog’s joints to ache. You can provide him a bit of relief by giving him a nice, warm blanket to use. An orthopedic bed will also help him sleep more comfortably at night. Also, it’s important to ensure that his food dishes are in a place that he can access with little trouble. Do everything you can to make living with canine arthritis as comfortable as possible.