Although it is mostly a condition of elderly dogs, many younger ones can suffer the pain of arthritis. Damage, injury and wear and tear can all contribute to joint damage – dogs can’t tell us when it hurts and this is the problem. Monitoring your dog and ‘reading’ the signs is essential. It’s not always a condition of old age.
You need to investigate further and contact your vet if your dog is less energetic than usual. Does he lag behind on walks? Or if he’s stiff getting up stairs and into the car. Check him all over and see if he winces when you press on anywhere. He may lick certain joints to try to relieve the pain. Shoulder, elbow, knee and hips are the joints most commonly affected.
Your vet will advise and treat the symptoms but there are things you can do to make life easier for your dog. Walking on flat ground is best, he will still need exercise and little and often is best. Make sure he has a really soft comfy bed, we use duvets and make the nest big enough for him to stretch right out. A dog bed, then a duvet on top and then several fleeces is a good comfort zone. In the wild a dog would make his own bed by circling in grasses and straw. It would be warm and dry and comfy. We have to make sure he has as good a location for his bed in the house – no draughts please!
Keeping your dog in trim is important. If he’s too fat it will put extra pressure on the joints. Good food and dietary supplements containing fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin can all help. It’s said that natural food helps calm down the inflammation that can give rise to arthritis. It’s good for your dog anyway so it’s worth a try. By ‘natural’ we mean a raw meat diet such as Nature’s Menu – which is frozen meats with brown rice, fruit and vegetables added. It’s convenient to use and the meat is a ‘safe for human consumption’ variety. We give cod liver oil capsules to all our mature dogs and find that it really helps.
We keep Nature’s Menu in stock – and our own dogs and Sanctuary residents don’t know what arthritis is!
An excellent food for dogs with stiff joints is Dr.John’s complete mix. It’s the Platinum variety that is so good – it has New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel has an ingredient and you can see the difference in a dog after a few weeks. By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and a 15k bag is only £14.99 – again it’s in stock here.