As the weather starts to get colder, you may notice that you aren’t the only one whose joints start to get achy. Older dogs, especially larger breeds, are just as prone to arthritis as we are. But PLEASE do not give your dog over the counter pain relievers!! Human medicines, such as ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen can be very dangerous, even fatal, when used improperly in dogs. Even if you give the correct amount of medication for a dog’s weight, different breeds can experience disastrous side effects. If you want to use anti-inflammatory medicines, your vet can prescribe one that is formulated for dogs. However, you can often do a lot to alleviate your furry friend’s pain with home remedies.
Decrease the load on joints by helping your dog get to or stay at their ideal weight. The best way to do this is to feed your pet the correct amount of high-quality food — yes, it’s more expensive, but you more than make up for the costs in having a healthier dog with fewer vet visits. Exercise is also a must, but make sure you carefully monitor your dog while she plays, walks, or runs. If possible, find a soft surface for activity, like carpet or a grassy yard.
Keep your dog warm and dry, since cold and damp conditions can aggravate arthritis. Make sure your dog has soft, cozy surfaces to lie on and consider trying warm compresses on sore joints. Other things that can help an arthritic dog include using ramps to help the dog get in and out of a car or up to a bed, and putting down carpeting and secure rugs to help with traction as they walk.
Acupuncture isn’t just for people anymore. This painless technique has shown some success in animals suffering from arthritis. Ask your Vet for recommendations to a certified practitioner.
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can be given to help improve joint mobility and support better joint functioning for dogs with arthritis as can Turmeric. You and your dog can now take turmeric in pill form to reduce joint inflammation.
And yes, there have been a number of success stories when pets have been given Micronized Purple Rice. So much so in fact, that the parent company does make a special Pet Formula enriched with antioxidants. Contact me if you want to know more.