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Joint pain in dogs can occur as a result of numerous issues. One of the most common is osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis that develops when the cartilage (soft tissue) between the joints breaks down. That lack of cushion allows the bones to rub together, triggering painful inflammation, joint stiffness, and difficulty moving around.
Osteoarthritis is one such joint disease that can cause pain. Hip dysplasia occurs when a dog’s hip joint and femur don’t develop correctly. A dog with this condition is more susceptible to hip dislocation. Improperly formed bones can cause faster cartilage deterioration, contributing to the development of osteoarthritis. Joint injuries, weight issues, physical size, and genetics also increase the risk of joint pain.
No pet parent wants to see their dog in pain. So, when their canine begins to exhibit signs of arthritis or other joint-related issues, they want to do everything they can to relieve that discomfort and improve joint health.
Fortunately, there’s plenty that pet parents can do. Here are six home remedies for effective dog joint pain management:
A dog’s diet can have a significant impact on their health, including the health of their joints. A poor diet filled with inflammation-triggering foods, such as highly processed ingredients, can aggravate existing conditions like arthritis.
Pet parents should pay close attention to what their dogs eat and choose high-quality foods that meet the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). They should look for food that contains whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as healthy, inflammation-fighting (and joint health-supporting) fats like omega-3s and omega-6s.
Another benefit of a healthy, well-balanced diet is healthy weight maintenance. In maintaining a healthy weight, dogs avoid becoming overweight or obese, health concerns that place additional and unnecessary stress on the joints. They also increase a dog’s risk of developing various other conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
As dogs age, particularly breeds with known joint health issues like labs, german shepherds, greyhounds, or great danes (to name just a few) there are also specific diet plans and foods geared towards slowing joint deterioration and mobility declines. Fuzzy vets regularly work with pet parents to optimize a dog’s diet as their health needs change through various life stages.
Osteoarthritis can cause a lot of pain. Dogs may become more sedentary and less willing to go for walks or play. All of that sitting around can actually make a dog’s pain worse. Contrary to what pet parents might think, regular movement and an inflammation exercise plan can help manage arthritis more effectively.
Pet parents should opt for gentle exercises to help manage their dog’s osteoarthritis symptoms, such as:
Going for a few shorter walks every day (rather than one or two longer ones)
Playing lower-impact games like hide-and-seek or a gentler version of fetch or tug-of-war
Low-impact exercises, like swimming
Physical activity, even in the form of gentle exercise, improves joint mobility, strengthens muscles, and boosts bone health. It also promotes weight management and helps overweight dogs shed excess pounds they may have gained due to decreased movement, which removes additional stress from already painful joints.
Dogs can experience joint pain for many reasons. Pet parents should consult with their vet to determine the cause behind their dog’s discomfort.
After the initial diagnosis, pet parents should follow up regularly with their vet to monitor their canine’s condition. In addition to physical examinations, the vet can perform diagnostic testing, such as X-rays or blood tests. These tests allow the vet (and the pet parents) to monitor the affected joints and make sure they aren’t getting worse.
Massages can be a very effective treatment for joint pain. It promotes improved blood flow, which enables nutrients and healing compounds to travel to sore spots more effectively. It also loosens stiff joints and can be very relaxing.
When massaging a dog with painful joints, pet parents will want to take care to do so gently. If they are unsure of how best to provide a canine massage, they should consult with a professional. Alternatively, they can schedule appointments with a canine massage therapist.
Pet parents may also consider speaking with their vet about:
Cold laser treatments
A few simple modifications in the home can help make a dog with joint pain a lot more comfortable. Pet parents should make sure that their dog has plenty of comfortable bedding to rest on, such as thick memory foam or even an orthopedic pet bed. It should be large enough for the canine to stretch out on to help relieve pressure on any sore spots. Pet parents may also consider creating a few cozy rest areas around the house, particularly in the places a dog likes to be.
Other home modifications to help dogs with joint pain include:
Laying down non-skid rugs on hardwood or tile flooring to prevent slipping
Investing in booties or paw pad traction coating
Placing stairs or ramps near where dogs can no longer jump, such as a sofa or bed
Raising food and water bowls
The right supplements and herbs can support joint health, slow the progression of joint deterioration, and act as natural pain relievers. Some options include:
Omega-3 fatty acids: Help reduce painful inflammation in the joints.
Glucosamine: Anti-inflammatory, helps repair cartilage and prevent breakdown.
Chondroitin: Protects cartilage and helps rebuild it.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): Anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric: An antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, reducing joint pain and damage.
Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs): Reduces inflammation that causes cartilage breakdown.
Many natural supplements contain a combination of active ingredients. In conjunction with a healthy diet, light exercise, and an overall healthy lifestyle, dog joint pain supplements can help improve a dog’s mobility and make them more comfortable.
If pet parents aren’t sure what supplements to try, they can always consult with their vet or an online vet for recommendations.
There is no cure for canine arthritis. However, there are several things pet parents can do to manage their dog’s symptoms, easing painful inflammation and allowing them to live their life more comfortably. Simple home remedies for dog joint pain, from a healthy diet and gentle exercise to home modifications and joint supplements, can all help.
For additional advice and tips for dog joint and arthritis pain relief, Fuzzy is here to help. With a Fuzzy membership, pet parents can speak with live vets 24/7, unlock exclusive discounts for vet-approved products (including joint health supplements), and so much more. Visit Fuzzy today to get started.