How to Naturally Treat Joint Problems in Dogs
Follow these tips to help your aching dog.
Dogs' joints experience degradation from running and jumping all around. For some dogs, that's a problem. Frequent and high-impact use of joints may lead to joint-related problems in dogs such as ACL tears and osteoarthritis. To learn more about the condition your dog may be experiencing and how to relieve your dog's pain best, read our guide below.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis, or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), is the inflammation of the joints caused by the degradation of cartilage. In dogs with osteoarthritis, cartilage cushion in the joints breaks down over time due to old age, repetitive stress, or disease.
Without the protective cartilage in joints, your dog may experience pain, inflammation, a decreased range of motion, and the development of bone spurs.
Any joint in your dog's body can develop osteoarthritis. However, the condition most commonly affects the lower spine and the joints in the limbs.
What Are the Signs of Joint Problems?
Most of the time, owners notice that their dogs are moving less or are having more difficulty with their day-to-day activities. For example, your dog may have problems jumping up on to the couch, going up the stairs, or boarding your car. Athletic dogs experience joint problems as well. Perhaps your athletic dog is no longer keeping up with you during your morning runs or no longer wants to play at the dog park.
What Causes Osteoarthritis in Dogs?
Developmental and degenerative problems are the two leading causes of joint problems.
Developmental problems may manifest themselves through hip or elbow dysplasia, wherein joints no longer develop correctly.
On the other hand, degenerative joint problems may manifest themselves in the form of cruciate ligament problems, wherein ligament degenerates over time and causes instability.
How to Prevent Joint Injuries
You can prevent joint injuries in your dogs even before adopting them. If you're buying a purebred puppy, be sure to research the health problems that are associated with the specific breed. Most joint issues have some hereditary component to them. If you don't care about the breed, consider adopting a mutt. Mutts are less likely to develop joint problems. The genetic diversity in mutts dramatically limits the chances of orthopedic issues.
If you already have a dog, it is crucial to keep your dog at a healthy body weight throughout his or her life. Be sure to provide your dog with healthy food and sufficient exercise to keep him or her lean and in good condition.
Lastly, have your veterinarian evaluate your dog's joints and general health at least once a year. A lot of joint problems can be prevented if you catch them early enough.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, unfortunately, is a progressive disease with no known cure. The best thing dog owners can do is to prevent the development of osteoarthritis through diet, exercise, and supplements.
If osteoarthritis has already developed in your dog, you should shift your focus to controlling pain, decreasing inflammation, slowing the development of the disease, and improving quality of life.
1. Weight Management
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight reduces the load that your dog's joints need to carry. It also decreases joint inflammation caused by fat.
A stronger and more muscular dog is a healthier dog. Muscle tissues protect your dog's joints.
You can strengthen your dog through regular and safe exercise. If you'd like to take this a step further, you can consult a dog physical therapist.
3. Food & Supplements
Many food and supplements contain ingredients that can improve joint health for your dog. These supplements and ingredients may include:
4. CBD Oil for Dogs With Joint Pain
CBD shares metabolic pathways with anti-inflammatory drugs. Therefore, it can effectively help treat certain inflammatory conditions.
Osteoarthritis, or simply arthritis, is one of the most common inflammatory conditions that dogs develop. One in four dogs experiences osteoarthritis in their lifetime.
Studies have shown that CBD oil may provide substantial and long-lasting relief in dogs with osteoarthritis when given twice a day at appropriate doses.
When to Visit Your Vet
If your dog is suffering from severe joint pain and none of the above remedies seem to work, you'll need to bring your dog to the vet for x-rays and proper evaluation.
Your veterinarian may order scans of both of your dog's hips or take scans of both sides of your dog's body, regardless of whether your dog experiences pain in only one side.
Dogs are naturally stoic and rarely display signs of pain. Instead, they may show signs of discomfort by sending you subtle signals in the form of behavioral changes. You know your dog best, so only you will know when your dog is acting strangely.
Look out for behavioral changes, such as your dog sleeping more than usual or displaying a shift in attitude. Your dog may also express a loss of interest in playing or other regular activities. Many of these signs may be subtle, so it's essential to pay close attention to your dog.
If anything looks out of the ordinary and natural remedies don't seem to work, contact your vet immediately.
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Elizabeth Racine, D. (2019, July 28). Osteoarthritis in Dogs - Signs and Treatment. Retrieved July 14, 2020, from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/osteoarthritis-signs-treatment/