If you take your dog to the vet and the results test positive for arthritis, it’s not the end of the road for them. At that point, the best first thing to do is to not panic. Arthritis is not a death sentence for your furry buddy. Many dogs have survived it to live long healthy lives. There are many degenerative and chronic ailments that are actually more harmful than arthritis.
But being one of the most common degenerative diseases, it’s important to have all the facts on the table. This will help take better care of your four-legged friends and as a result, they’ll live longer. As a matter of fact, it’s plain and simple. How long your furry friend lives with arthritis will be determined by the kind of care they’re given.
In a nutshell, arthritis is an inflammatory disease that is associated with pain and discomfort in the affected areas. Just like humans, this condition will mostly affect aged dogs. The everyday wear and tear process of life may gradually cause your dog to develop arthritis.
In addition to this, hereditary factors, joint instability, infections, injuries, and cartilage issues are among some of the major causes of arthritis in dogs.
Before we get to our main topic of the day, let’s first take look at the main types of arthritis in dogs.
- Osteoarthritis: this type of arthritis is caused by the deterioration of the articular cartilage. This type of chronic inflammation of the joint doesn’t have a cure yet but can easily be managed.
- Septic Arthritis: this is caused by a bacterial infection affecting the fluid surrounding the joints. Often known as the synovial fluid, it lubricates the joints and keeps them flexible. It can also be caused by a fungal infection, the good news is that this type of arthritis can be cured.
- Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis (IMPA): this usually happens when the immune system starts attacking the joints. In humans, IMPA is often referred to as rheumatoid arthritis. It can cause debilitating inflammation and severe pain to the joints.
Once your dog has been diagnosed with either of the above types of arthritis, it’s important that you make life easier for them. The quality and even the length of life thereafter depend so much on the quality of care you provide to them. Despite the fact that the first type of arthritis above is incurable, it’s very much manageable.
So, how long can a dog live with arthritis?
Of course, every pet owner wants their canine companion to live a long and happy life. However, this might not be so if they have arthritis and it is not treated, managed or taken proper care of. So the real question is, what can you do to ensure your arthritic canine lives long and happy despite the condition?
Well, read on to find out.
Things you can do to give your arthritic dog a long happy life
- Change Their Diet
What you feed your dog will matter a great deal, especially if they have arthritis. It’s very important during this time that they are fed on a balanced diet. This will help support their general health and in addition to this, improve their immunity so that they can fight other diseases. You may need to also change your focus a bit when it comes to heavier dogs.
Focusing on another highly important factor in managing arthritis in dogs is weight management. Consult with your vet before you make any drastic changes. This will help improve and increase their longevity.
- Make Some Changes in Your Home to Help Support Them
You want to ensure that your dog lives a healthy, happy, and comfortable life even with arthritis. This can make a big difference to your dog. This raises the need to make some simple changes, those that you know affect your dog’s daily life and surroundings. These may include getting them better and comfortable beddings. You can also purchase waterproof heated pads for their beddings.
These orthopedic beds are about 4 inches thick and will provide better comfort for their sore joints. If they were sleeping on the bare floor, an off the ground bedding provision will help protect them from cold, an aggravating factor to pain, and also help protect them from pneumonia. Also, you can help in making ramps where necessary. This will help them access cars, couches, and porches with ease.
- Learn About Supplements
Dog joint supplements will help ensure that the dog’s joints are getting all the important nutritional support needed. To help you choose the best, go for the supplement that works well with the nutritional makeup of your dog’s diet. Always ensure that the supplement contains CPAs but always taking the necessary precautions when it comes to allergies.
That’s why it’s imperative to first consult with your vet before buying one. Fatty acids, especially Omega 6 and Omega 3 are vital in fighting joint inflammations. There are dozens of other joint health supplements for dogs that you can get for a couple of pounds per month.
- Find Natural Remedies for Pain
This is the priceless means of relieving pain from your dog. But before you go trying just any methods, check with your vet first. There will always be many opinions surrounding the safety of natural remedies. This is because there are no clinical or research studies done to support most of them.
Acupuncture was first practiced in China. It’s a tried and tested method that has been practiced for the longest time in treating a variety of ailments among them chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, tendinitis, and yes, arthritis. The same effectiveness this method has on humans the same it will have on dogs. Nevertheless, this is not a method for every dog, its best for reasonable, calm, and obedient dogs.
- Exercise Often
At the very early stages of arthritis, it’s important to keep your dog active. When arthritic joints are kept moving, it helps in preventing stiffness thus reducing pain. They may seem very reluctant and less enthusiastic about the walks, but it’s important. Instead of the long walks, make them slow, shorter, and interesting. Because of decreased stamina, exercising will help in rebuilding muscles in the affected limbs thus improving their overall stability and strength.
Your vet may prescribe various treatment options to help improve and increase the longevity of your arthritic dog. These may be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antiviral medications, and pain medications.
Additionally, joint supplements like earlier mentioned will also ensure that your dog gets all the nutritional support they need to improve their lives. Laser treatment may be prescribed to help reduce pain and physical therapy to help in loosening stiff and sore joints.
We have come a long way, there are noticeable developments in modern veterinary medicine. This has brought a lot of promising treatment options that help in relieving pain and improving their overall quality of life. Arthritis is, therefore, not considered a life-threatening disease like it was some years back.
Certain inventions like dog wheelchairs, dog support slings, splints, and leg supports are mobility aids that have been made to ensure that your dog continues to live normal lives even with arthritis.
So, as you can see, a lot can be done to help your dog live a long, happy, and less tormenting life even with arthritis.