Can you prevent arthritis in dogs?
Is there anything that can be done?
Q: Is there anything that can be done to delay or prevent the onset of arthritis in older dogs?
Controlling your dog’s weight
by feeding a healthy diet and keeping your dog fit by providing regular exercise are probably the most significant things you can do to prevent or delay the onset of arthritis.
Extra weight puts undue stress on joints and hormones produced by excess fatty tissue can also lead to inflammation. Starting young and stopping your dog getting fat in the first place is much easier than trying to reduce the weight of a dog that has become obese. Indeed, by the time a dog has become obese, that extra weight alone will have already damaged joints such as the shoulder, hips, elbows and stifle.
Treatments for arthritis in dogs
There are various ways to treat arthritis, including nutritional supplements and medications. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate help decrease joint inflammation and improve the
body’s ability to repair tissues.
Dietary supplements can help
to delay the onset of arthritis and proprietary preparations such as YuMove are claimed to reduce stiffness, promote better joint
health and increase mobility.
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have shown positive benefits in treating dogs with arthritis. Though some NSAIDs have undesirable side effects, these have been significantly reduced with the advent of more recent, better targeted NSAID treatments. There is now no reason for dogs with arthritis to suffer in pain.
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Steroids reduce inflammation at nerve endings, which in turn will reduce pain. Unfortunately they cause increased hunger, thirst and urination. Their prolonged use can increase the risk of secondary infections and, over time, actually cause further damage to the joints. Corticosteroid therapy is therefore typically reserved for the more severely affected individuals that are in most pain. If your dog has arthritis, provide a soft, comfortable bed to take pressure off his joints when resting and use ramps to help him get up any stairs he needs to climb and to get into the car.