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By: Steve Weber
Dog owners make sure their companions receive routine treatments to keep them healthy such as monthly heart worm pills and flea drops and they schedule regular veterinarian visits, keep shots up to date and provide nutritious food. When your companion is slower to get up to greet you or looks like they are in pain when running and playing, canine arthritis could be to blame.

Arthritis affects both people and animals and the pain and stiffness is similar in both. Statistically, dog arthritis affects one in every five dogs in the U.S. and is one of the most common reason for treating older dogs by vets. Once a dog reaches seven years of age, they are considered to be an older dog and a keen eye can recognize the first signs of the pain and stiffness of canine arthritis so that the dog can be treated sooner to avoid unnecessary pain.

Some warning signs of dog arthritis are sleeping more, weight gain, favoring a limb, difficulty standing and sitting, being less alert, heavy panting, whimpering, bumping into things, startling easily, being hesitant to climb stairs and less interest in play. If your dog display any of these symptoms for a period to time that is longer than two weeks, a visit to the veterinarian is in order. Your vet will perform a canine arthritis evaluation that will consist of an in-depth blood panel, physical exam and x-rays. The vet is checking for loss of movement, pain and swollen and distorted joints. If the vet feels that the warning signs for arthritis are prevalent, s/he will prescribe a course of treatment that can involve medication, supplementation or surgery.

In addition to medication, owners can be proactive and considerate of their dog's pain by buying an orthopedic dog bed and higher food bowls and giving their canine glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin work to lubricate and cushion joints and the dog can feel pain relief and enjoy a wider range of movement after the supplement is taken for more than two months. It is essential to talk to your vet before giving any supplements to your dog to make sure there are no risks for complications.

Pet owners should also feed their dogs a healthy, high quality diet that provides their recommended daily doses of vitamins and minerals as well as higher levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Owners should also encourage their dogs to go on short walks and shower them with attention so that they will want to get up and move.

Canine arthritis symptoms can thankfully be minimized with lifestyle and dietary changes and your dog can go on to life a happy and healthy life. The changes will take some getting used to by both parties, but the end result will be worth every bit of effort.


Learn more about how pet owners can help their pets deal with dog arthritis on our site at Cactus Canyon.
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