Just as children can have arthritis, puppies can suffer from this debilitating condition. Puppies can have arthritis or could also have a condition that can lead to arthritis, such as hip dysplasia. Either way, it is usually heartbreaking to watch a pup have to deal with such a painful problem. Fortunately, there are a few ways in which to help your pooch lessen the effects of arthritis.
Joint supplements that contain glucosamine and chondrioitin may lessen the affects of arthritis in your puppy. Joint supplements help repair damaged cartilage in the puppy's joint and lubricate them, as well. According to Dr. Holly Nash of Doctors Foster and Smith, joint supplements are especially helpful if the arthritis is caused by hip dysplasia in the puppy, as the supplements prevent the bone-to-bone contact in the joint that causes a significant amount pain. Speak to your veterinarian about which supplement might work best for your puppy.
According to the ASPCA, one of the most effective means in which to treat arthritis in a puppy is to control the pain with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also called NSAIDs. Aspirin, carprofen and etodolac can help to reduce the inflammation and pain that is caused by the debilitating condition. However, some pain relievers can cause damage to the puppy's health and require close monitoring when used.
Exercise can be beneficial for puppies with arthritis. The ASPCA states that drug therapy works best when it is combined with exercise. Non-strenuous, low-impact exercises such as swimming and walking can be therapeutic and enhance the nutrition in the cartilage. Let your puppy be the guide as to how much exercise it can tolerate---when it wants to stop, let it. Exercise can also help to keep your puppy a healthy weight. The less weight the pup has to carry, the better it is for its bones. Puppies with hip dysplasia-induced arthritis may actually benefit from being a bit underweight.
Puppies with arthritis may benefit from receiving alternative therapies, such as massage, physical therapy and acupuncture. Dr. Nash suggests that stiff muscles caused by arthritis may benefit from relief that massage provides, as well as the movement physical therapy employs. In addition, acupuncture might ease the pain of arthritis in your puppy. Speak to your veterinarian as to whether these therapies may work for your pooch.
Accommodating Your Puppy
Providing your puppy with special care can help to ease the burden of arthritis. If you make your home more accessible to your pooch, the less pain-inducing work the dog has to do. For example, elevate your puppy's water and food bowls. If your puppy doesn't have to bend down to reach its food, it may experience less pain. In addition, consider building ramps in your home to help your pup go up stairs or reach the bed or couch.
- Photo Credit two sweet puppies image by Lars Christensen from Fotolia.com
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