Everything You Need to Know About Dog Arthritis in older dogs

dog arthritis xrayDogs that suffer from arthritis, due mostly to degenerative joint changes, feel lots of pain in their joints. The condition can affect one or more joints, and it is most common in older dogs; nevertheless, in the presence of certain factors, young pals can get it too.

Dog arthritis normally appears because the joints are put under serious and long-term stress or as a result of old injuries. In the same way, when there are congenital joint problems, like hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, the older dog is susceptible to becoming arthritic, as it is due to some infectious diseases like Lyme disease.

Xray Dog ArthritisThe symptoms of arthritis

The symptoms you will see in arthritic older dogs are related to the pain they feel in their joints:

  • Limping
  • Unwillingness to walk or climb stairs
  • Trouble rising from a lying down position
  • Trouble finding a comfortable position to rest
  • Crying or whimpering
  • Lack of appetite
  • Irritability

How arthritis is diagnosed

In order to diagnose arthritis in an older dog, the vet will normally look for radiographic proof of the degenerative changes that are happening in the joints due to the arthritis.

The doctor will most probably also do routine blood screening to identify your pal’s general health condition so as to make sure he is giving your friend a safe and effective arthritis treatment.

It is possible that your vet will want to perform blood tests for infectious diseases if he suspects your dog may have Lyme disease or Ehrlichiosis.

The treatment

Normally, the treatment will involve several things:

Medication. There are various medicines that can help your dog’s arthritis:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are very much used to alleviate pain; these reduce inflammation.
  • Analgesics, which have no anti-inflammatory effects, are also used.
  • Neutroceuticals, nutritional supplements that have medicinal properties. These may take weeks or even months to show results.
  • Adequan injections contain a component that protects cartilage and that can be effective in improving joint health and in alleviating pain.
  • Also for pain relief, there are the corticosteroids. However these may produce more side effects than other treatment options and can’t be used with NSAIDS.

Physical therapy. There are many ways in which physical therapy is used to relieve arthritic pain in dogs. One of the favorite ones is swimming.

Alternative therapies. Here we can mention acupuncture, which has become very popular in treating chronic pain in dogs with arthritis.

Stem cell therapy is also being used with a lot of success to treat this illness. In this therapy, fatty tissue is removed from the dog to process the stem cells in it to later inject them into the arthritic joint. The stem cells will improve the function and health of the joint.

Weight control. Obese dogs are more susceptible to developing arthritis and they experience more pain due to the excess weight; thus, it is vital that arthritic young or older dogs are put into a special diet to help them lose some pounds in favor of a more comfortable life.

By far, the best results in treating dog arthritis are achieved when two or more of these treatments are combined to offer your older dog relief and comfort.

Natural Ways To Ease Arthritic Pain In Senior Dogs

Arthritic Pain In Senior DogsIf your senior dog is suffering from awful side effects due to arthritis medication, maybe it is time you go for natural ways to help alleviate the pain and discomfort your pal may be under.

Dog arthritis is as painful and crippling as the human kind, and it can be truly unbearable if it is joined by constant vomiting or diarrhea caused by certain medications, specifically non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

Many dog owners get so desperate in front of the situation that they end up considering euthanasia, however, you should stop for a second and keep hope, because there are natural ways that have proven very effective in treating dog arthritis pain:

Physical therapy

A lot of vets specialize in rehabilitation and they recommend the following treatments for arthritic dogs.  These will vary according to the patient and the stage in which the illness is:

Heat/ Cryo therapy

It diminishes pain and inflammation, and at the same time increases motion range.


It relieves muscle tension, diminishes pain, improves circulation, and must be done every other day.  You can easily learn the techniques to give the massages at home.

Passive range of motion exercises

These stimulate nerve endings and improve mobility.

Therapeutic exercises

These improve strength, flexibility, and coordination.


It relieves pain and improves neurological function.


It improves motion and diminishes pain.

Hydro treadmill/ Water therapy

The first one increases strength and coordination, while the second one helps improve balance and increase motion range.

Neuromuscular stimulation

It stimulates muscles that are atrophied or at risk.

Laser therapy

Here, deep penetrating photons affect cell chemistry.  The dog gets a warm sensation in the pain area, and the length of time, power, and laser pulse will depend on your pal’s size and condition.

Nutrition and supplements

Some vets recommend whole food diets for arthritic senior dogs.  Joint Mobility, Glucosamine, and Chondrioten, are products that help joint health.  There are also some herbal supplements that work for dogs; yucca, ginger, licorice, feverfew, and skullcap are just a few helpful herbs. It is especially important that gun dogs and hunting dogs receive proper nutrition.

Always talk to your vet before giving your dog any of these products or herbs.

Magnetic therapy

Although it may sound crazy, it has really worked well in treating dog arthritis.

It seems the magnets heal the body by getting rid of inflammation and renovating circulation; they increase the blood flow to the affected area, speeding up the healing process.

You can get magnetic collars, blankets, and jackets for your pal, but the results depend on the dog and on the illness’s stage.

These natural ways can be used alone or coupled with traditional treatments, but if NSAIDS are giving your pal killer side effects, ask your vet about going natural.