What you can do to help prevent and treat dog arthritis.
An soft couch or old mattress can be a good choice for where a dog can sleep. Soft foam rubber at least four inches thick is usually best. Maybe look around for an old baby mattress. For larger dogs, it's much easier for them to get in and out of the bed if it's raised about a foot off the floor.
A good dog bed benefits your dog just like a good bed benefits you. A good dog bed provides support, security and comfort. A dog bed will keep your dog up off the floor, cushion joints and limit the spread of hair and dander, all while giving him his own space.
Just like humans, dogs also experience changes as they grow older. Dogs lose muscle mass, bones become thinner, and their joints become stiffer. Like people, dogs can suffer from dog arthritis. So it is important to give your older dog a comfortable orthopedic dog bed to rest upon. Sleeping on a cold, hard floor can cause chronic pain and discomfort.
A comfortable place to sleep is especially important for bigger dogs. Large dogs tend to suffer from conditions such as hip dysplasia, a terrible genetic disease that can eventually develop into pain and debilitation.
Large dogs truely need a soft, supportive dog bed to support their size and build.
Most large dogs develop dog arthritis as they age. Although there are no miracle cures, much can be done to make old dogs with arthritis more comfortable and improve their lives.
Dog bed tip:
Set up a soft bed or some layers of fleece in the area where your dog normally sleeps. If you have an outside dog, then provide them an insulated dog house with soft bedding. Be sure the doorway is somewhat sheltered and facing away from the wind. Or even better, bring them inside when its cold or wet outside.
Try to make exercise a regular part of your dog's routine.
Rather than one long hike on the weekend, walk your dog frequently throughout the week.
Swimming could be good for your dog because swimming gives your dog a great workout with minimal stress on joints.
Avoid exercise that involves jumping and leaping, especially for large dogs. The impact from jogging or leaping for a frisbee is very hard on your pets joints.
Cover slippery floors with rugs to make sure your dog has firm footing.
Playful activities with other pets can help your dog get exercise.
If your dog tends to overdo it, keep him on a leash.
Make sure you and your dog drink plenty of water before, during and after activity.
Avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day. Early mornings, late afternoons and evenings are best.
Stay off hot sidewalks and pavement. If its too hot for your bare feet, its probably too hot for your dog's paws.
Rapid breathing and bright-red gums may be a sign your dog is working too hard. Also, your dog lagging behind on walks may indicate fatigue.
If you have any questions about you or your pets ability to engage in certain activities, contact your physician or your veterinarian.
Older large dogs tend to be overweight. Being overweight makes it tougher for them to exercise which leads to aggravating dog arthritis. The more weight on those poor old joints, the harder it is to move around. One way to test if your dog is overweight is by seeing if you can easily locate their ribs.
Most older dogs also tend to have dental problems, so the ideal diet is one that is low in calories and also promotes dental health.
Unfortunately there is no such thing as a low-carb dog food.
Just be aware that grains (which make up a large component of dry dog food) tend to increase inflammation and aggravate dog arthritis.
A better alternative would be to switch to home-prepared meals with either cooked or raw meats and vegetables.
Extra weight on a dog puts extra pressure on the joints and causes more pain and swelling. Begin by reducing the amount of treats given, cut back a bit on food, and provide a lower fat diet for your dog. And of course, exercising is important.
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