by Kimberly LeMaster
Your dog is your best furry friend, right? If he is, then caring for him when arthritis and other joint conditions, including hip dysplasia may require extra attention to certain areas. Supplements, exercises and vet care all play a great role in helping your dog’s stiff joints become a little more comfortable, but there are other things you can do in your own home that will make a big difference in your dog and his special care.
Changes in Home Care
Before you decide to help your dog up off the floor every time his joints lock up and his hind end slides out from under him, you can help him to help himself! If your dog is struggling on your hardwood floors you can help him with special doggy socks with soft rubber grippers on the bottom. Socks are made from a variety of manufacturers and can be found both online and in your local pet store. Even some department stores carry doggy socks! The socks are snug but comfortable and let your dog with joint problems or even hind end weakness to get himself up off the floor after his daytime snooze.
It can take your dog some time to get used to his new socks on his paws, but once he does there will be no slowing him down! Another comfort that will help a dog with arthritis and especially large dogs with painful joints is a special bed just for their condition! Dog beds are available that come with foams and even gels within its structure that provides support, comfort and even pain relief for sore and stiff joints.
If you enjoy sitting on the floor at your canine’s level, then the two of you may enjoy a few little exercises to help your dog’s joints stay more fluid in movement and can bring pain relief. With your dog in the down position and on his side, gently but firmly hold his paw on his back leg and slowly push it towards his stomach and allow the leg to relax back into normal position. You can do this a few times on each leg up to twice a day. You can do the same with your dog’s forelegs, but instead of lifting towards his stomach, you will lift towards his chin. Don’t force his legs to go if you feel resistance or if your dog seems to be in pain.
Supplements for Joints
Your dog doesn’t have to have joint pain to enjoy the benefits of supplements. It’s not uncommon to hear of a pet owner who competes with their dogs beginning joint supplements as early as 8 months of age! This is because the supplements used are safe, effective and all natural!
Fish oil is a popular choice to help a dog’s joints to stay healthy or as a therapy for dogs with joint diseases like arthritis. High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon oil is a popular choice and is sourced from wild Alaskan salmon. It has been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce pain in the joints of dogs, from arthritic seniors to hard working cow dogs or agility competitors.
A veterinarian’s choice supplement for a dog in need of joint repair, even for dysplastic canines is glucosamine with chondroitin and MSM. Many manufactured joint supplements on the market come with all three combined in a flavored tablet for your dog to enjoy. These three, when combined, will help to rebuild lost cartilage in the joints and protect them from further damage. You can’t go wrong with this combination!
Your dog is relying solely on you to provide comfort, pain relief and health care so that he can remain happy and healthy. Not all dogs will tolerate socks, and some dogs refuse to sleep in any other bed than your own! That’s okay! It just means you need to put on your thinking cap and get creative on other ways you can help your dog, such as putting down rugs on your slippery floor or doggy steps leading to your bed. Don’t give up, your pooch is depending on you!