Arthritis is one of the oldest diseases in history. We know that the dinosaurs had it and there is evidence that early humans lived with the same chronic aches and pains. So it makes sense that Dogs Get Arthritis, too. In fact, it is a common ailment of man’s best friend.
Signs of Canine Arthritis
- Favoring a limb
- Difficulty sitting or standing
- Sleeping more
- Seeming to have stiff or sore joints
- Hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs
- Weight gain
- Decreased activity or less interest in play
- Attitude or behavior changes
- Being less alert
The Human-Hound Connection
Now you know that both you and your dog can get arthritis, but did you know that managing your dog’s arthritis can help you better manage yours? It’s true that having a pet can give you a positive spin on life, boost your attitude and lift your spirits. Pet-owners also tend to live longer and have fewer visits to the doctor’s office. More good news is that the treatment strategy for osteoarthritis in humans and in canines is similar:
Don’t Spare Yourself to Spoil the Dog
We can’t help it. We spoil our pets. If you focus more on your dog’s health than on yours, try these tips to keep both of you healthy and active.
Visit the doctor. Your pet needs to see the veterinarian at least once a year for a check-up – maybe more. When you make his appointment, call your own doctor and schedule one for yourself. Make sure you both get some baseline X-rays to chart your bone deterioration.
Shed excess pounds. Pay more attention to what your pet eats and when, and do the same for yourself. Read the food labels for each of you to make sure that every bite is giving you both good energy and nutrition. Limit your servings and don’t cheat by eating between meals or slipping Fido extra snacks.
Coordinate your dog’s medication schedule with your own to make sure you both take your dosage every day. Arrange medicine with mealtime if it needs to be taken with food. Keep your meds together so you will see yours every time you reach for his. Use colorful stickers or permanent markers to help distinguish whose medication is whose, especially if you have trouble reading small print.
Never let your dog take your medicine – and don’t take his – without discussing it with your doctor.
Let Rover take you for walk. Instead of kicking your dog off the couch so you can stretch out, kick him off, grab the leash and stretch out together. Take a walk or run with your four-legged friend. You’ll both strengthen the muscles around your joints, which reduces stress on the joint itself. But don’t over do it. Both of you need to increase exercise levels slowly and stay hydrated. Monitor how you both feel after the walk to determine if you need to increase or decrease your level next time. Don’t only treat your own blisters and sore feet – be sure to check Fido’s paws and pads after exercising for lesions or lacerations.
The best thing to do for your dog in managing his arthritis is to get a diagnosis and start a treatment plan as soon as possible.Info courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation