As is generally the case with humans, dogs also develop certain health issues as they age. As a dog owner you should pay special attention to your dog as he ages to catch conditions as they begin to develop, early detection increases the chance of successful treatment. You may find your dog begins to slow down and become less active than he used to be, many dog owners dismiss this as being simply age related, but sometimes a more serious cause may be at play.
Sometimes decreased physical activity can be linked to something more ominous than just getting older; it can be an indication of arthritis. Although some breeds are more disposed to developing arthritis, it is a condition that can afflict all dogs.
There are different arthritic diseases that can afflict dogs such as rheumatoid arthritis. This is a very painful and immune related disease that affects the dog’s joints causing swelling and lameness and is more common in small breed dogs. Lyme disease is an infectious bacterial disease that can lead to arthritis in dogs but as most dogs are vaccinated, this form of arthritis is less common. The most common form of canine arthritis is degenerative osteoarthritis. This condition results from the erosion of bone cartilage causing the bone to become exposed. When the bone is exposed in this way inflammation results which causes the dog a great deal of pain.
Because usually hide any feelings of pain, the symptoms may be subtle but if your dog has an altered gait as he tries to bear his weight on unaffected limbs or is reluctant to move around as much as before or falls into an exhausted heap after a little physical activity, these could all be signs your dog is suffering from degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. Climbing stairs becomes a difficult task and jumping on or off a sofa becomes an ordeal for your dog. Some dogs will lick at painful areas while others will seek warm and soft places to lie down in.
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from osteoarthritis you shouldn’t postpone taking him to the vet. This is an extremely painful and debilitating condition and you should try to relieve your dog’s pain as soon as possible. While there is no cure for arthritis, you can help make your pet feel more comfortable and improve his quality of life.
Your veterinarian should be able to recommend certain foods and medications that contain anti-inflammatory properties. Some herbs such as devil’s claw and boswellia seem to help with this condition. Your vet should also test your dog for any allergies he may have as allergies can greatly aggravate osteoarthritis. Your dog shouldn’t be allowed to become overweight so as not to add more pressure on weakened limbs.
Some dogs suffering from osteoarthritis may lose their appetites so make sure your dog is eating and drinking properly so as not to lose condition. Getting your dog a supportive bed will greatly help him by making him more comfortable. Always take some time to research potential health issues your dog may develop as he ages so you are best prepared to deal with them should they occur.