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Many dogs are affected by osteoarthritis, especially older dogs that are large breeds and it is often seen in the large joints such as elbows, knees and hips. Around all bone ends there is protective cartilage and around joints a joint capsule is seen which forms synovial fluid which acts as lubrication for the joint. In osteoarthritis, the joint cartilage breaks down over a longer period and the joint fluid becomes thinner, which causes pain and discomfort.
The most common reason for dogs to develop osteoarthritis is excess weight in large dog breeds, which causes overloading of the joints. Some hereditary disorders such as elbow and hip dysplasia also end up with arthritis. In addition, injuries to joints such as torn cruciate ligaments and various surgeries can increase the chances of developing arthritis.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis
Dogs are good at not showing pain and discomfort, therefore it is important to pay attention to your dog, its biomechanics and its behavior in daily life. Some of the symptoms for arthritic dogs when it feels pain will be:
- The dog does not seem happy and wants to be alone
- The dog sleeps more than usual
- The dog has difficulty standing up
- The dog walks more slowly than usual on walks
- The dog may appear stiff
- The dog will not go upstairs
How do you prevent osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can probably be prevented from puppyhood by feeding the right food which ensures that the puppy and young dog get the correct amount of protein, vitamins and minerals, which is what makes your dog grow correctly and not too quickly. Too fast growth can have consequences for its joints at a later age. When you buy a new puppy, you must make sure that the puppy's parents do not have elbow and hip dysplasia, as it is hereditary. Good feed supplements can help to lubricate the joints. In addition, excess weight gain must be prevented by the right food and the right amount of exercise. Furthermore, you have to think about how hard the dog works, if it is a working dog or if, for example, it runs with its owner over long distances many times a week.
How is osteoarthritis treated?
If you are in doubt as to whether your dog has arthritis or if it exhibits any of the above symptoms, it is important that the vet examines the dog. If the dog has been diagnosed with arthritis and the condition has become chronic, the vet can prescribe treatment that reduces the symptoms. Gout cannot be completely cured, but the dog's quality of life can be significantly improved with the right treatment. In addition to medical treatment, there are various things you as a dog owner can do.
If the dog is overweight, you must make sure that the dog loses weight. The more overweight the dog is, the greater the damage and the more pain it experiences. Bear in mind that a dog with arthritis should not have a lot of physical exercise, which is why dog food made especially for overweight dogs is a good choice for weight management.
Food supplements can contain many different nutrients. Always choose some good and clean supplements of high quality. For example, a pure fish oil made from unsaturated fatty acids from fatty fish with a high content of omega 3 and 6. Glucosamine and green-lipped mussels are two ingredients that contain important components that play a part in cell formation. Select any food with a high content of omega 3 and 6, for example, one where the protein source is fish instead of chicken and other meat.
A dog with arthritis must keep his joints moving, but must not be allowed too much or hard exercises. Pay attention to the dog, it can be in pain even if it doesn't show it and runs/plays along. If you have a water dog, swimming is extremely beneficial and gentler on the joints than normal exercise.
Take care that the dog does not lie down in a drafty or cold area. The delicate joints do not benefit from the cold, as it makes them even stiffer and can increase the pain when the dog has to go out and exercise the joints. Therefore, make sure that it does not lie directly on the floor, but on a carpet, in a dog basket or on another surface that absorbs the cold.
Finally come into PetLux for advice and guidance on a good and clean fish oil, a warm dog bed or good dog food. Always remember to ask your vet about any illness.