Osteoarthritis is a common condition in dogs, particularly in older ones. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints wears down, causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Fortunately, several effective remedies can help reduce inflammation and alleviate your dog’s discomfort.
This article explores six of the most effective remedies for helping your dog with osteoarthritis. Whether you’re looking for natural supplements or lifestyle changes, these remedies can help your furry friend feel more comfortable and improve their quality of life.
1. Weight Management
When a dog is overweight or obese, it puts additional stress on its joints, exacerbating inflammation and pain. If your dog is overweight, working with your veterinarian to develop a weight loss plan that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise is crucial.
Recent data from Waltham Petcare Science Institute showed that weight management significantly improved mobility in dogs having osteoarthritis. The study followed 50 obese dogs and found that those who received a weight management program significantly improved their ability to perform daily activities.
It shows how advantageous managing weight can be in improving your pet’s quality of life.
In addition to working with your veterinarian on a weight loss plan, you can do several other things to help your dog lose weight. These include:
- Feeding your dog a balanced diet with appropriate portion sizes
- Avoiding table scraps and high-calorie treats
- Providing regular exercises, such as daily walks or playtime
- Monitoring your dog’s weight regularly and adjusting their diet and exercise routine as needed
2. Exercise and Physical Therapy
Regular exercise can help improve joint mobility, increase muscle strength, and reduce inflammation. First, however, it’s necessary to work with your veterinarian to develop an exercise plan appropriate for your dog’s age, breed, and level of arthritis.
Physical therapy, which can include a range of treatments such as hydrotherapy and massage, can also benefit dogs’ osteoarthritis. Physical therapy presents a non-invasive medication and surgery option while enhancing joint mobility and reducing discomfort.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine journal showed that physical therapy significantly improved mobility and reduced pain in dogs with osteoarthritis. In addition, dogs having osteoarthritis who received physical therapy during the study showed a notable improvement in their capacity to carry out daily activities.
A reduction in pain was also noticed in the dogs compared to those who did not receive physical therapy.
In addition to physical therapy, there are several exercises you can do with your dog at home to help manage their osteoarthritis. These include low-impact activities such as swimming or walking on a soft surface, range-of-motion exercises, and gentle stretching.
3. Prescription Medications
These medications can help reduce inflammation and pain, allowing your dog to move more comfortably and improve their quality of life. However, working with your veterinarian to determine which medication is right for your dog is necessary before trying any oral medication.
One prescription medication that may be prescribed for dogs having osteoarthritis is Quellin, which contains the active ingredient carprofen. Carprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Quellin is available by prescription only and should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian.
PetRx, an online medication retailer, states that Quellin shows its effect within a few days in dogs with osteoarthritis. However, the source also reports that NSAIDs like Quellin have serious but very rare side effects.
If your veterinarian prescribes Quellin or any other medication for your dog’s osteoarthritis, following their instructions carefully is important. It may include giving the medication with food, monitoring your dog for potential side effects, and keeping up with regular check-ups and blood work.
4. Joint Supplements
These supplements contain various ingredients that help support joint health and reduce inflammation. Common ingredients in dog joint supplements include glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids.
While the effectiveness of joint supplements for osteoarthritis in dogs is still debated among veterinarians, some studies have shown promising results.
The experts at the American Kennel Club found that the symptoms of joint damage can be reduced by glucosamine, which helps repair damaged cartilage, specifically the articular cartilage. This cartilage is a soft, absorbent material that provides a cushion between joints.
It’s important to note that not all joint supplements for dogs are created equal, and some may be more effective than others. Therefore, when choosing a joint supplement for your dog, you must look for products backed by scientific research and manufactured by reputable companies.
5. Acupuncture and Other Alternative Therapies
Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body, intending to stimulate the body’s natural healing response. While the exact mechanisms behind acupuncture are still not fully understood, some studies have suggested that it may help reduce pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis in dogs.
Alternative therapies that may effectively manage osteoarthritis in canines include massage, chiropractic care, and herbal remedies. However, not all alternative therapies may be appropriate for every dog, and it’s important to work with your veterinarian to determine which therapies may be right for your dog’s individual needs.
When considering alternative therapies for your dog’s osteoarthritis, it’s important to remember that these treatments may not be covered by insurance and can be costly. However, for many pet owners, the potential benefits of alternative therapies in managing their dog’s pain and improving their quality of life may be worth the investment.
6. Massage and Physical Manipulation
Massage can help improve circulation and reduce muscle tension, which can help reduce pain and inflammation in the affected joints. Physical manipulation techniques, such as stretching and range-of-motion exercises, can also help improve mobility and reduce stiffness in canine osteoarthritis.
It’s important to note that massage and physical manipulation techniques should only be performed by a trained professional, such as a veterinary physical therapist. Attempting to perform these techniques at home without proper training can potentially cause harm to your dog.
To Sum it Up
Osteoarthritis can be a painful and debilitating condition for dogs, but with the right treatment plan, it is possible to manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life. In addition to traditional pharmaceutical treatments, several non-pharmaceutical treatment options are available that may also effectively reduce pain and inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis.
With the right combination of treatments, it is possible to help your dog live a happy and comfortable life, even with osteoarthritis.