As our beloved canine friend begins to age, it is likely that at some point a certain degree of arthritis will set in and begin to slow our pet down a bit. Arthritis affects the animal by causing inflammation and pain in the joints. Although all breeds and sizes of dogs are susceptible, it is the large and giant breeds who are most prone to the problem. The added weight due to their size puts additional pressure on the joints and results in more wear and tear. You may notice, as your pet gets older, that it is increasingly difficult for him or her to get up after sleeping, and might move more slowly or stiffly when walking.
There are a number of things that you can do at home for your pet to slow down the progression of the disease and help your dog to stay healthy and as pain free as possible.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis in Dogs
According to the ASPCA, once your pet has developed arthritis, there is no cure for the condition. However, your veterinarian can work with you to help you devise an effective pain management program for your pet. While most conventional treatments rely initially on antibiotics, painkillers, and anti-inflammatory medications, many programs are designed to also include nutritional supplements, exercise, a healthy diet, and even weight loss if necessary.
The Best Remedies for Arthritis in Dogs
The most beneficial programs pair conventional care with researched natural remedies to treat your animal holistically. According to research, nutritional supplements are some of the most effective tools in the fight against arthritis in dogs. Glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, and a number herbs are effective for not only relieving pain associated with arthritis but also reducing inflammation and increasing your pet’s range of motion.
Glucosamine is a nutrient that helps treat arthritis by actually adding protection rather than just minimizing symptoms. Glucosamine is a glycosaminoglycans, a family of nutrients that function to rebuild lost cartilage and restore lost joint fluid. Research suggests that it is best to begin giving your dog high doses first to see if it responds and then decreasing. You can typically find animal nutritional supplements at a pet supply store or from your veterinarian.
Chondroitin is in the same family as glucosamine and actually serves to restore the natural function of your pet’s joints. This supplement helps rebuild the cushion in the commonly affected joints and also lubricates the joint to prevent friction and pain. Again with these supplements, you should begin with a high dose first and work your way down based on appropriate response. Pet-safe chondroitin supplements are typically fairly easy to find as well.
3. Fish Oil
Fish oil contains important omega-3 fats. The most influential elements of fish oil are EPA and DHA, as they are the effective components of the nutrient. These compounds reduce inflammation and treat pain by lubricating the joints. When looking for an appropriate fish oil supplement, look for that contains salmon or EPA oil as these oils contain the most concentrated forms of omega-3 fatty acids. You can give your dog as much as one 300 mg supplement per 10 pounds of body weight each day. Many fish oil products actually need to be refrigerated to maintain their viability.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a supportive nutrient that your pet needs in addition to fish oil supplements. As your pet takes fish oil, its natural vitamin E levels may drop, so it is important to stabilize them with a nutritional supplement. Additionally, vitamin E has some anti-inflammatory effects that may be beneficial to arthritis treatment. The recommended doses of vitamin E vary by animal size, and range from 100 IU for a small dog to 200 IU for a medium-sized dog, and 400 IU for a large dog.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another important nutrient for treating arthritis in dogs. Calcium contains important nutritional compounds that help reduce inflammation. The nutrient also helps reestablish the appropriate function of nerve signals to better monitor pain. Look for calcium ascorbate or sodium ascorbate, ad these forms are easier on your dog’s stomach.
Here is a daily dosage guide for adult dogs:
Small dogs 500mg – 1,000mg
Medium – Large dogs 1,000mg – 2,000mg
Giant dogs 2,000mg – 4,000mg
Start with the lowest recommended dosage and gradually increase it once or twice per year. If the dog is producing loose stools the dosage may be a bit high so cut back slightly and increase it gradually over time.
Continue reading below to find additional suggestions from our readers for treating arthritis in your dog.
Additional Pages of Interest:
Arthritis – http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/arthritis
Arthritis in Dogs: Symptoms and Causes – http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/arthritis-in-dogs-symptoms-and-causes
Canine Arthritis Treatment – http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/10_3/features/Canine-Arthritis_15910-1.html