Has your dog been lately exhibiting a grumpy attitude when being asked to move around? He may have his good reasons for acting cranky if every step feels like the aftermath of running a marathon. Fortunately, there are many ways to help him get relief from those painful joints.
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Your first step to getting joint relief for your dog is to stop by the vet for a thorough health check. Your vet will determine the exact cause for joint pain. Sprains, arthritis, a slipping knee cap and hip dysplasia are just of few of the many potential causes for canine joint pain. A simple X-ray can reveal a dislocation, age-related degeneration, suspicious bony lesions or other abnormalities. Once the source of the joint pain has been pinpointed, the path to obtaining joint relief will be easier.
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While countless people keep an eye on their waistlines, it is also worth doing a pet weight check on your canine. An astounding 53 percent of dogs are found to be overweight by veterinarians, according to a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Extra calories cause long-term storage of fat that puts extra strain on your dog's weight-bearing joints, causing further pain. Reducing the number of calories and adjusting portions can really make a difference.
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If your dog is logging more hours on his favorite bed and being exercised less, those extra calories will not just dissipate into thin air. Depending on your vet's findings and recommendations, an exercise regimen may be helpful to soothe those achy joints. For instance, in the case of osteoarthritis, exercise helps strengthen the muscles responsible for supporting joints, according to Animal Medical Center. The exercise need not be strenuous, however; daily, low-impact exercise is just enough for increasing joint mobility and getting your arthritic dog back to his active lifestyle in no time.
Drugs and Supplements
The right choice of medications and supplements can help your pampered pooch enjoy life again. Anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce inflammation and pain so Rover can become mobile again. Glucosamine supplements are also helpful because they help strengthen the joint's cartilage while protecting the synovial fluid, a viscous secretion essential for lubricating the joints. Other helpful products for joints include omega 3 fatty acids, chondroitin sulfate and avocado unsaponifiables. Always discuss these options with your veterinarian and follow his directions accordingly.
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If you thought alternative medicine was a luxury exclusive to humans, think again. More and more pampered pooches are getting relief from stiff joints courtesy of state-of-the art facilities offering acupuncture, hydrotherapy, rehabilitative therapy and laser therapy. Such holistic options are capable of decreasing your dog's dependence of drugs while significantly improving quality of life.
Tender Loving Care
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Some tender loving care can really help your dog feel better. If you are tired of hearing your dog's elbows hit the ground, invest in an orthopedic memory foam dog bed. If your dog has a hard time climbing, spoil your dog with a ramp to help him get into his favorite couch or into your car. If your dog appears sore, pamper him with a soothing massage. With attention and committed care, along with your veterinarian’s guidance, your canine companion can ultimately lead a healthy and comfortable life for many years to come.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.