1. Diet & Nutrition
Unfortunately, our pets are just like their parents when it comes to diet and nutrition. Our dogs are what they eat. A diet with excessive calories, manufactured dog food with fillers and too many table scraps can slow them down. If your dog is overweight, the extra pounds will place a burden on his or her hips, joints and bones. Easing your dog onto a lower calorie diet is a first step in helping your dog reduce his or her weight. Most dog food companies even have special blends for senior and less active dogs. They help lower the daily calorie intake for your dog, while making sure your dog has the proper nutrition. The hard part, no matter how much they beg or make puppy eyes at the table, is to greatly reduce the food that goes from your plate into their mouths. While we think we’re showing our love for our dogs by sharing our food and leftovers, we’re usually just adding extra calories and pounds to their frame. In our house, our dogs found it devastating when we didn’t feed them from the table. After nights of aggressive whining, begging and a lot of paws on our legs during dinner, we came up with a trick. Instead of giving our dogs human food from the table, we just handed them a small piece of their kibble. While this trick seems as cruel as handing out apples at Halloween, it started to reverse the trend of them gaining weight.
Whatever excuse we have for not going to the gym today, our pets depend on us for a good workout. A moderate amount of daily exercise helps dogs maintain a healthy weight and mobility. Whether it’s a leisurely walk, tossing a ball around or just fun interactive play-time, the movement and mobility often helps with the onset of arthritis. Our pets love interacting with us, as much as we love spending time with them. Finding some time to be active together has the benefit of helping us and our dogs!
3. A Day At The Spa
No. We’re not suggesting your dog head to the nearest spa for a facial, massage and a mud bath (they just might like that!). Some pet physical therapists have noted how hot tubs, controlled swimming, and whirlpools are great for pets with arthritis. Short periods of increased warmth, interspersed with cold, can help reduce your pet’s aches and pains. Having your dog in the water also makes them lighter, so there is less pressure on their joints and bones. There are therapists who specialize in dog massages for arthritic dogs. You can look online for a local dog physical therapist or ask for recommendations from your vet.
4. Make Your Home ‘Senior Dog-Friendly’
Without thinking about it, our homes might be an uncomfortable place for a dog with reduced mobility, the onset of arthritis or hip dysplasia. However, it’s very easy to make some minor adjustments to help our dogs. When a dog has even the early signs of arthritis, our pets don’t have the balance, strength, an
d coordination they once did. Ensuring the doormats, rugs and other loose surfaces are secure will a big help from slipping and falling. It might also be time to take another look at your dog’s bed. Older and arthritic dogs will prefer and benefit from a warm, cozy and comfy bed. A few extra blankets in her bed can give your dog a lot of extra comfort and relief. When your dog was younger, he or she used to love to jump in the car and sofa. Now that your dog is beginning to slow down a bit, there are ways to help here too. Ramps that add a gentle slope into the car or onto furniture bring a lot of relief to your dog. There are a number of retailers who carry products that will have a readymade ramp for your dog. You will want to ensure that they are stable, secure and have a slope your dog can handle. Of course, you can still pick up and carry your dog. See item number 1 on the list…
5. Dog Supplements
There are a number of dog supplements that might help provide relief, comfort, and support to your dog. Finding a supplement that helps increase mobility, reduces inflammation and pain is key. Your veterinarian is the best person to talk to, in order to ensure you find the right supplement.
He or she will probably advise you to find a supplement with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM as the basic active ingredients, as a place to start. There are also a lot of holistic ingredients you might want to consider for your dog. Turmeric, for example, is a natural remedy that provides a lot anti-inflammatory properties. Fish oils are another great ingredient that acts as an anti-inflammatory. Lastly, hemp oil, is one of nature’s more powerful anti-inflammatories. You can read our other blog for more information on hemp.