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10 Tips For Your Arthritic Dog

1. Slip-free flooring
Hardwood and tile floors are slippery and can be very difficult for dogs with arthritis to move around on. Placing carpet or area rugs will help secure your dog’s footing. This can help prevent your dog from slipping and getting injured.

2. A soft bed
Soft bedding can help support your dog’s bones and joints and make your pet more comfortable. This can be especially important in thin dogs in which bony prominences are likely to rub on hard surfaces. Some beds are made especially for dogs with arthritis, such as waterbeds, hammock beds and beds with plenty of extra cushion.

3. Ramps or cubes
Stairs and furniture can become difficult obstacles for your ageing companion. Ramps or specially designed cubes can help pets safely climb stairs, get into or out of bed, or get in and out of your vehicle. Ramps can be made of plastic or wood and are available from many pet catalogues. A new product called Puppy Stairs is comprised of soft, modular cubes that fit together in combinations that permit pets to climb up or down from beds or sofas. These cubes are made of soft rubber, have rounded corners and washable covers.

4. Medication
Various medications are available that can help your dog feel better. Medications include drugs such as Rimadyl® or Metacam®. These drugs are classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and work to suppress inflammation and pain. Other medications such as Cartrophen injections can also be beneficial by providing your dog’s body with necessary nutrients for cartilage repair and function. Ask us at the clinic to discuss if any of these medications could benefit your dog.

5. Peace and quiet
As your dog ages, he (or she) may not be as tolerant or patient as he used to be. Sore joints make it difficult for your pet to enjoy rambunctious, playful children, for example. Supervise playtime and consider keeping your dog away from very young children. Even parties and holiday time can be distressing for an arthritic dog. Your dog may want to join in the festivities regardless of the discomfort. To reduce joint pain and inflammation, you may want to limit your arthritic dog’s time as the centre of attention.

6. Massage
By massaging your dog, you can increase his or her flexibility, circulation, calmness and a general sense of wellness. Professional animal massage therapists are available to provide your pet a more thorough treatment.

7. Weight control and dietary therapy
Arthritis is more of a problem in obese pets. Weight loss can be beneficial by reducing the workload on your dog’s bones and joints. In addition to basic weight loss, there are diets formulated for dogs with arthritis that may be beneficial for your dog. Diets such as Hills® Science Diet® j/d™ have been shown to help dogs with arthritis maintain weight, reduce pain and improve mobility.

8. Exercise
Modest daily exercise can help some dogs. Special care is needed, so it is important to first see your veterinarian, who can recommend an appropriate exercise program. Exercise can strengthen your dog’s muscles and ligaments, thus reducing your dog’s injury potential and risk.

9. Extra time
Don’t rush a dog with arthritis. It often takes them extra time to walk, climb stairs or get in and out of the car. Support and help your arthritic dog if needed or just give your pet the extra time to get around.

10. Grooming

Grooming should not be neglected, especially in the older dog. Arthritic dogs have a difficult time keeping themselves clean, especially in those hard-to-reach areas. Help your dog stay clean by trimming the hair around the rear end. Brushing will help remove mats and tangles, which can injure delicate older skin.

Follow these top 10 tips and you’ll be able to keep your arthritic dog living longer, stronger, happier and healthier.

Source: Information for these tips has been compiled from the following references:

1. Dr. Debra Primovic - http://www.petplace.com , April 17, 2009

2. Jane Dinunzio: ArticlesBase.com - Free Articles Directory, November 21, 2008

3. Tim Mitchell: Ezine @rticles - http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tim_Mitchell , April 21, 2009