Arthritis In Dogs: 5 Ways to Manage Joint Pain

Tory Johnson

Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease and consists of cartilage breakdown and ultimately causes severe joint pain. If your dog is beginning to develop canine arthritis, you probably have quite a few questions. In this article, we'll discuss degenerative arthritis in dogs.

arthritis in dogs

What causes a degenerative joint disease in dogs?

The risk of dog arthritis increases in senior dogs and can be related to a number of factors;

  • Your dog's food

A healthy diet begins with whole organic foods that help to promote joint health. Joint inflammation and cartilage damage can be worse if your dog is used to a bad diet.

Dogs need food that contains high amounts of fatty acids, vitamin K, and vitamin D.

Fatty acids like Omega-3 have anti inflammatory properties which can help keep joints healthy.

Vitamin K is essential for repairing cartilage damage and sending calcium to your dog's affected joints and bones - creating a more healthy joint.

Low levels of vitamin D have been found in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and joint inflammation.

  • Genetic disposition like hip dysplasia

Some dog breeds, like German Shepherds, Boxers, and Border Collies have a genetic disposition that makes them more vulnerable to different types of arthritis like osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia.

Take some time and speak to your vet about your dog's breed and whether they may be more at risk of certain types of arthritis.

  • Your dog's body weight

Your dog's weight is a huge factor in dogs suffering from arthritis.

Arthritis slowly worsens as your dog gains weight and puts more pressure on their joints. If you believe your dog is overweight, take a close look at their diet and try to improve what they're eating.

Pomeranian with healthy joints

How can I relieve joint pain while our dog is developing arthritis?

Treating and managing arthritis and joint pain can be difficult. Let's take a look at 5 strategies:

  1. Manage your dog's diet

Weight management is the easiest way to help arthritic dogs. Heavier dogs develop arthritis at much faster rates than a dog who is at a healthy weight. Your dog's joints are meant to keep up only what they were designed to carry.

A healthy weight will also increase blood flow and the general health of your dog! If you feel like your dog is overweight, you can take him to a vet or maybe even your local PetSmart to get them weighed.

If you find they are heavier than they should be, consider restricting your dog's diet. We know it can be difficult to hold those treats back! But if it can provide pain relief, please consider it.

  1. Physical therapy

Physical therapy can mean a number of different things. You can get professional assistance at your local veterinary medicine. You can also take your dog on short walks. Many dog owners believe a short walk can help decrease pain.

If you choose to go on regularly scheduled walks, be aware of your dog's limits. A long walk can cause severe pain, and we do not want this! So, give it a try and make it part of your pain management toolkit!

Greyhound exercising

  1. Massage therapy on the affected joints

Massage therapy can help increase circulation and blood flow to the tendons, muscles, and ligaments around your dog's joints.

Since this therapy is new to our canine companions, we borrow a lot of the technique from human massage therapy.

acupuncture treatment on a dog

Human Massage Therapy Techniques

  • Acupuncture treatment

  • Trigger-point massage

  • Passive range of motion

  • Craniosacral therapy

Give it a try!

Pugs looking up

  1. Joint Supplements

Although not necessarily a "home remedy," we can at least administer the joint supplements at home. Joint supplements usually contain essential ingredients for joint health like MSM Chondroitin and Glucosamine.

  1. Make Your Home Arthritis Friendly

This is a relatively easy task we can check off. Your dog's arthritis pain can be very intense, especially when they move too much or try to jump.

Make sure your furry friend has easily accessible food and water. Don't make them jump or reach up for it.

Additionally, make sure they have a cushioned bed to sleep on to help your dog's painful joints.

Joint pain can increase at night, since the joints become stiff from not moving.

Prevent and Treat Arthritis In Dogs | 5 Prevention and Treatment Tips


Final Thoughts: Arthritis in Dogs

Your dog's life expectancy should remain the same as a dog with healthy joints. However, please be aware of their quality of life. It's important to take the right steps to help relieve your dog's arthritis pain.

And as always, please see a vet asap if you feel like your dog may be in severe pain due to your dogs osteoarthritis.

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