Did you know that approximately 20% of adult dogs suffer from arthritis in one or more joints? The pain of arthritis can greatly diminish a dog’s quality of life.
Signs of arthritis in the back or hips include limping, getting up slowly, stiffness after sleeping, and a ‘bunny-hopping’ gait when going downstairs. Dogs usually don’t cry or whine when they have arthritis, but the pain can be severe.
Take some time to watch your dog move around indoors and outside during his normal activities. If you suspect he may be uncomfortable, ask your veterinarian to check him over. This will involve a thorough physical examination, and probably some x-rays.
How to Help a Dog With Arthritis
Many people are surprised to learn that one of the most helpful things for dogs with arthritis is weight loss. Researchers have found that overweight dogs with hip osteoarthritis and hip pain have a significant decrease in lameness following weight reduction. Along with maintaining a healthy weight, moderate daily exercise is also very important. (Gee, is this beginning to sound similar to what our human doctors keep telling us?). Other things that are thought to be helpful in arthritis include Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate. Talk to your veterinarian for more complete recommendations.
For dogs with moderate to severe arthritis, veterinarians often recommend including a prescription medication for pain relief. One of the most commonly recommended pain relievers for dogs is Rimadyl. Rimadyl helps to relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and other joint abnormalities. It is also used for pain relief following surgery. Rimadyl comes in liver flavored chewables or scored tablets that are easy to administer. Rimadyl contains carprofen, which is also available in a generic form under the name Novox.