- A trip to the vet is the first step in alleviating joint pain in a senior dog.Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jose Roberto V. Moraes
If you notice that your senior dog seems to be experiencing joint pain, the first step is to take your dog to the veterinarian for assessment. The veterinarian will rule out injuries, such as torn ligaments or fractures. Other causes of joint pain, such as hip dyplasia, can also be detected through a veterinary exam. Any sign of discomfort in your senior dog should be assessed by a veterinarian.
- Many dogs become overweight as they age. The extra weight on the joints can often cause pain and instability. One of the most effective ways to reduce joint pain in senior dogs is to switch to lower carbohydrate foods, including raw diets, which will reduce fat mass and increase muscle tissue.
- Swim therapy can be an effective way to build muscle and improve flexibility in senior dogs.Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Stephen Routh
As pets age, they often lose muscle tone and flexibility, which can increase symptoms of arthritis and other causes of joint pain. While your senior dog may have less interest in playing, it is important to maintain a healthy level of exercise. Slow, consistent walks and swim therapy are great ways to maintain your dog's muscle tone and relieve pressure on joints.
- As dogs age, the cushioning in their joints deteriorates. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are the two most popular supplements for dogs with arthritis or other joint pain. According to veterinarian Holly Nash, these supplements actually help the body repair cartilage damaged as a result of arthritis. Glucosamine and Chondroitin have very few side effects, and can be safely used for years.
- Some joint pain can become unbearable for dogs without pain medication and anti-inflammatory medications. Fortunately, a wide variety of medications are available to help manage the pain and inflammation. The most commonly used brand names are Rimadyl and Deramaxx. Aspirin and prednisone can also be used effectively to manage pain and discomfort. Unlike Glucosamine and Chondroitin, many of the pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications do have long-term side effects, and should only be used under veterinarian supervision.