Canine arthritis, characterized by inflammation and stiffness in the joints, is especially prevalent in aging dogs. Large-breed dogs, in particular, are more susceptible to this condition. While there's no cure for arthritis, your vet can prescribe a number of medications and dietary supplements to help make your dog more comfortable and pain-free. Always consult a qualified veterinary professional before making a decision to give your dog any type of arthritis tablets to ensure appropriate dosing.
Analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets (NSAIDS) and corticosteroids may be prescribed to treat your dog’s arthritis. Medications help reduce inflammation caused by joint disorders and reduce associated pain. Some dogs develop intestinal problems from use of oral pain-relieving medicines, particularly when they’re used over a prolonged period of time. All medications in this family should be prescribed by and monitored by your vet to ensure effectiveness and safety.
Chondroitin and glucosamine are two supplements that help lubricate a dog’s joints, reduce joint degeneration and regenerate cartilage, helping reduce pain and discomfort associated with canine arthritis. Supplements containing omega fatty acids can also be beneficial in maintaining joint mobility. While these supplements are widely marketed as arthritis treatments for humans, always check with your vet before giving your dog any medication or vitamin made for people -- dosing and inactive ingredients may differ substantially.
Exercise and Weight Control
In addition to medication and supplements, modest, low-impact exercise may be prescribed for an arthritic dog to help keep joints and muscles moving, lubricated and active. You don't want to overdo it or push an arthritic dog to too much strenuous activity, as this can exacerbate his problems, but maintaining a healthy weight is another way to take stress off joints. Talk to your pup’s health-care provider about appropriate degrees of physical activity and develop a routine that will benefit your dog’s overall health while taking his arthritic condition into consideration.
Heat and Comfort
Arthritic dogs can be made more comfortable if they have access to warm, soft bedding and a temperature-controlled living environment. Don't allow arthritic dogs, even those being treated with medications or supplements, to be outside too long in frigid temperatures, as this can make the condition worse. Dogs with compromised health can be more susceptible to conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia, as well be subject to slip-and-fall hazards associated with the poor footing that can come with arthritis.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.