Happy old dog.

If your dog is taking his walks a bit slower these days or having a hard time navigating the stairs, he could be experiencing arthritis in his hips, legs, or back. Senior dogs and those who are overweight are particularly prone to developing arthritic joints, as are some larger breeds, such as labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and German shepherds. 

At MarketPlace Veterinary Hospital, we love helping you keep your pets healthy, active, and pain free. Read on for more information about pet arthritis and options for managing this condition.

Signs of Arthritis in Pets

If you notice any of the following physical changes in your dog, it’s important to schedule a veterinary visit as soon as possible:

  • Muscle wasting in the back legs
  • Trouble going up and down stairs
  • Difficulty getting onto the couch or bed
  • Trouble standing up
  • Having a narrow stance with his back legs

To diagnose pet arthritis, the veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination, ask you about your dog’s symptoms, and take X-rays as needed.

Treating Arthritis in Pets 

Your veterinarian will create a customized plan for helping you manage your dog’s arthritis that may include a combination of the following treatment options: special diet, exercise, medications, and adaptations to your dog’s environment.

Diet for Pet Arthritis

A healthy diet that promotes weight management can ease discomfort from arthritis in pets. Therapeutic diets are available that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients such as Omega-3 fatty acids. Supplementing with glucosamine chondroitin formulated just for pets can also soothe your pet’s joints. We welcome nutritional consultations, and we are always happy to suggest a diet that is best for your pet. 

Exercise for Pet Arthritis

Your pet may find too much exercise uncomfortable, but your MarketPlace Veterinary Hospital doctor can suggest moderate, appropriate activities to help keep your dog moving. 

Medication for Pet Arthritis

Sometimes, adequate pain management for pet arthritis requires the use of prescription medications, particularly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. NEVER give your pet Ibuprofen or Naproxen made for people, as these medications are toxic to pets

Adaptations to Your Dog’s Environment

With simple, inexpensive modifications, you can make your home more comfortable and safer for an arthritic pet. Here are some suggestions from our team:

  • Add non-slip rugs to hard floors in the paths most traveled by your pet.
  • Place your dog’s favorite bed, food, water, and toys on one floor of the house.
  • Use raised bowls for food and water.
  • Provide an orthopedic, memory foam bed away from cold drafts. 
  • Keep his “potty” area clean and easy for him to access quickly.

We Can Help!

Please contact us for an appointment if you suspect that your dog is developing arthritis. With the right treatment plan, we can improve his comfort and quality of life.