Are you worried about how to care for dog arthritis? It is sad to see a dog limping or slowing down with the signs of the disease. If you’re like me, then you start thinking what can you do to help your pup? I know, I see my dog, Henry stretching more and getting slower to rise. His vet indicates that it’s a bit of arthritis.
Personally, I know arthritis can be painful. As such, I want to make sure Henry is as comfortable as possible. Of course, I’m not opposed to the traditional methods. But they can also have side effects. Thus, I look for other ways to help or supplement Henry’s arthritis pain. With this in mind, let’s dig in and discover the best home care for dog arthritis. Oh, and these will save you money as well without compromising your dog’s health.
Budget tip: Sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest impacts. This includes for an arthritic dog. I know a good massage will go a long way for Henry. That’s free! However, he also gets fish oil, exercise, water, and proper food dosage. While those all are easy tricks, they all add up to make him more comfortable. Additionally, I always make sure he has a soft place to lie down and rest. Thus, it may not be expensive, but the results are huge! It’s really a win-win to properly care for your dog’s arthritis at the first signs.
NOTE: Surprisingly, dog arthritis while generally most prevalent in an older dog, can appear in a younger dog as well. However, this is more often breed-related and often focused on degenerative joint disease. Either way, always talk with your vet before trying alternative remedies for your dog’s care.
How do I know if my pup has dog arthritis?
While signs of a dog with arthritis can vary and other diseases and ailments can have similar signs, these are the ones you’ll definitely want to look for with your dog:
- Slowness in moving or a hesitancy to move
- Limping, which could be joint pain or even signs of hip dysplasia
- Licking or chewing, paws or legs as a new behavior
- Change in behavior (not wanting to be touched or suddenly aggressive when touched)
- Muscles appear to be weak
- Overall easily tires
- Lots of extra stretching
As for Henry, he will stretch a lot when getting up and often be slow to move unless something catches his attention. I admit, sometimes I’ll tell Henry there’s a lizard just to get him in second gear. Although, that trick actually moves him into full-go mode. Honestly, I wish I could gather that energy. Maybe Henry’s canine arthritis is a good type, if that’s possible.
When should I contact my vet with concerns about dog arthritis?
Basically, if you suspect your dog has arthritis, then talk to your vet. I always like being proactive rather than reactive. Thus, getting ahead of anything is always best in my opinion. Although, if your dog is a breed disposed to arthritis symptoms, such as a German Shepherd or Golden Retriever, you’ll want to have a joint health plan with your vet.
What actions can I take at home to help my dog with arthritis?
Interestingly, there are a few things you can do to help your dog at home with symptoms of arthritis. These include both making his/her environment most conducive and providing care that will help with the condition.
Specifically, environmental aids will consist of:
A very soft bed
More specifically, an orthopedic dog bed is a great idea. This is a great orthopedic dog bed! Especially if your dog loves a pillow as much as Henry and surprisingly it’s affordable too for these types of beds. However, you can make a DIY one from a memory foam pillow, which can provide joint pain relief.
In short, laying on a hard surface will aggravate the pain of arthritis. I know my body would scream at me if I tried to lay or sit on a hard surface for any great amount of time. It’s the same an arthritic dog.
Keep jumping to a minimum
You might ask how. When a dog is in pain, most times they’ll cooperate. However, some will still have the need to be their “curious gunho, self”. What do I mean?
For example, I will lift Henry up and down off the couch for snuggles. Although, if you have a dog that likes to snuggle in bed or go up and down on the couch, then create sturdy stairs crates firmly attached together. Or you can even buy stairs. But, an even better idea is a ramp that will allow for the joints to not be aggravated.
A feeding and watering station that is a proper height
This will protect the joints as well. Sometimes you can elevate bowls onto short tables or you can purchase them. Basically, this protects the joints from bending as much, especially if they hurt. Thus, your dog will want, in theory will want to eat and drink normally.
A warm dog means warm joints. Usually, warm joints will be less painful for your dog. This could mean a dog sweater, blanket, or moving your pup’s dog bed to a sunny spot to be warmed naturally. Personally, I have a dog bed for Henry by the heat register in the bedroom. He loves that spot when the temperature starts to drop. I can’t say I blame him.
Ice is good too
However, joint inflammation is controlled with a bit of ice. Thus, apply ice to areas where your dog tends to lick, like a paw should help. Although, for Henry, I’ll put a bag of ice in his bed so it hits his back. Admitedly, he likes it much better in the warmer months than colder months. Furry friends are smart!
What else can I do to help my dog with arthritis?
There are a few additional actions you can take at home to help your dog with arthritis and chronic pain. They include:
A great option for dogs and animals generally suffering from arthritis is massage. Personally, I give Henry a basic massage almost every day. Interestingly, I had a horse, Macho, who had arthritis in his legs and back. Every day I massaged his legs and back with a tennis ball. It felt so good to him and helped him so much that he looked forward to it. On those days that I was unable to massage him for one reason or another, he had a very noticeable limp. Thus, massage can relieve more arthritis pain than you may think.
Moreover, when Henry’s massage is done, he always jumps up and bounces around. Well, that is after he wakes up.
2. Healthy weight
Admittedly, overweight dogs have more issues with canine arthritis. The joints are more strained with extra weight. Thus, a healthy weight is important for any dog or animal, when arthritis enters the picture. In other words, an overweight dog will most likely experience more issues with arthritis pain.
3. Active life
Of course, a dog with arthritis may not be able to go for a 10-mile hike, but keeping him/her active will keep the joints and muscles as healthy as possible. Never push your dog beyond their abilities. That can cause more issues. For example, Henry can easily do a few miles.
However, I wouldn’t push him to an extreme 10-mile up-and-down mountain hike. That would be a lot on his joints. Heck, it would be for me as well. But even with an easy 3-mile walk or hike, we may still take breaks and look at the scenery. That’s just fine with me. It’s all about the journey.
4. Pedicures are a must
Dogs with long nails will have a tendency to have increased arthritic conditions. Thus, trimming your dog’s nails regularly will prevent any undo pain from overgrown nails and an unnatural gait. This nail grinder has been a real game changer for me in caring for Henry’s nails.
Are there any alternative home remedy joint supplements that can help my dog with arthritis?
Again, always talk with your dog’s vet before giving your pup any joint supplements or other anti-inflammatory drugs, even if they’re natural. With that said, you can take different ideas to your vet and discuss them. That’s generally what I will do with Henry’s vet. However, if I need to give Henry a prescription medication at the direction of his vet, I do it.
Basically, you may want to discuss such home remedies with your vet as the following:
There has been some research that turmeric can help dogs with arthritis. Generally, it’s recommended to give a dog 1/8-1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds. However, your vet can determine the proper dosage if this is something that might be helpful for your dog.
My vet recommended fish oil for Henry. It has multiple benefits. One of them is joint health.
Glucosamine chondroitin and MSM
Generally, these types of products can be very beneficial for dogs with arthritis. However, they can also come with some side effects, which may need to be balanced. For instance, they tend to make Henry more constipated. Thus, his vet has recommended staying with fish oil for now.
There are also a few alternative supplements that haven’t been researched enough to show whether they are good or not, but the anecdotical evidence does look positive. These include:
When I see Henry’s in more pain, I’ll give him a CBD treat and that does seem to help him. At least I notice him moving more easily. However, the scientific evidence on this is lacking. Some dog parents will give CBD supplements as a calming aid. Although, it can have the opposite effect. This was something I learned from Henry’s vet as we discussed alternative calming and pain supplements.
This is an Ayurveda supplement from India and Africa. People have taken it and claimed it helps with osteoarthritis. Additionally, some holistic vets will recommend it for dog arthritis. However, currently, there’s only anecdotal evidence to support the benefits.
This is an herb that can help with inflammation caused by arthritis in dogs. Again, it doesn’t have much evidence to support it at this point.
Interestingly cinnamon seems to provide some anti-inflammatory properties as well as protect joints. But again, there’s just not a lot of research to support it at this time.
Good old vitamin C is considered an antioxidant that helps with collagen and inflammation. Thus, it can aid with arthritis pain. But overdoing it can cause GI issues. Again, the evidence isn’t real strong for vitamin C.
This is an enzyme derived from pineapples. Bromelain has been shown to provide anti-inflammatory properties. However, it’s best to give it 1-2 hours before meals. Also, it’s supposed to be more effective if given with Quercetin, which is a flavonoid. Yet, once again, the research evidence isn’t real strong for this enzyme as a dog arthritic remedy.
Hyaluronic acid (HA)
It’s thought that HA can increase joint lubrication thus decreasing arthritic pain. That certainly sounds great! The problem again is that the research is lacking on it.
Green-Lipped Mussels (GLM)
This particular type of mussels has been shown to be safe while decreasing arthritic pain and increasing mobility. There is some antedoctal evidence that seems promising.
Are there any vet specialists for dog arthritis?
Generally, you’ll want to see your main vet. Although, you may get a referral for physical therapy or other speciality vet. But it’s best to start with your regular vet. Additionally, there are holistic vets who will use alternative methods for treating and healing the body, mind, and spirit. A few of these types of holistic vet practitioners include:
While I’ve never used an acupuncturist for Henry, I did for my horse, Macho. He had a much more severe form of arthritis. Consequently, the session seemed to help him with pain and mobility.
Again, I haven’t used a dog chiropractor for Henry. However, I did for Macho and it was very successful. He moved a lot more easily without pain.
Animal massage therapist
While I’ve learned how to massage Henry myself, I learned it from Macho’s massage therapist. Honestly, Macho only had one professional massage therapy session. Although, this was simply because she was so wonderful and taught me how to massage him daily. I’ve since translated much of that to Henry.
If your dog loves the water, then this may great a great option. Hydrotherapy allows your dog to exercise gently on a treadmill underwater. Thus, the joints are protected and your dog gets good exercise. It’s truly a wonderful option if your dog is up to it.
This is a newer form of therapy for treating dog arthritis, but it does seem to help a lot of dogs. Although, this can be a bit pricey.
Is vet care for dog arthritis covered with pet insurance?
Generally, yes. Even alternative holistic vet care is generally covered by your dog’s pet insurance. However, always check your dog’s policy. Either way, don’t skimp if your dog is in pain. In other words, if your vet thinks hydrotherapy would help, then take your dog since it should be covered by insurance. If it’s not completely covered then use part of your emergency fund or pet savings account.
Additionally, you may even be able to use CareCredit for alternative pet care.
Are there any savings for being proactive at the first signs of dog arthritis?
The goal is to always keep your dog pain-free as much as possible and to avoid surgery. Thus, if you can do that with a home remedy plan you create with your vet, then that’s a great savings! However, if you ignore the early signs and let your dog progress into the disease without aiding him/her, your expenses may be more than you expect. Consider the following for a moment:
- Is There a Cheap Easy Way to Train Your Dog?
- 8 Awesome Reasons Your Dog Needs Water
- Quick Simple Dog Massage Therapy at Home
- Is Overfeeding A Dog Harmful?
- Easy Hack To Remove Sap From Dog’s Fur
- Can Healthy Dog Paws Improve Your Bottomline?
- Is Turmeric For Dogs A Waste Of Money?
- How Can Fish Oil Cut Dog Costs?
- Dog Chiropractors – Pros and Cons
- 6 Cool Ways Dog Parents Pay For Vet Bills
- Emergency Dog Fund: How Much Money Should You Save?
- My Dog Loves Savings Accounts. Surprised?
- Are There Really Safe Cheap Dog Meds?
Summary of the best easy home care for dog arthritis
While it can be a bit heartbreaking to see your dog limping, there are ways to alleviate the pain for your pup. When you consult your vet, you’ll learn that many measures don’t cost a penny. Such as a daily walk, a softer place to rest, cared for nails, and even a massage. Shockingly, the cost of a pet massage therapist was very cost-effective. Plus, I got to learn how to do the basics and then carried on from that point. It was worth it! Moreover, I do it again, if I need to for Henry.