9 Natural Ways to Relieve Your Dog’s Arthritis
- 1. Help Him Maintain a Healthy Weight
- 2. Gentle Exercise is Very Important
- 3. Invest in a Set of Pet Stairs or a Ramp
- 4. Give Him Some Traction
- 5. Try Doggie Massage
- 6. Acupuncture for Dogs
- 7. Sooth the Aches and Pains Away with Heat
- 8. Provide a Comfy Bed with Good Support
- 9. Natural Supplements Can Also Be Helpful
- Final Thoughts
Getting older is an unavoidable part of life, even for your best buddy. But, seeing your pooch lose his ability to do the things he used to be able to do with ease is tough to watch. Arthritis is a common issue for dogs of all ages, but most especially elderly dogs. Unfortunately, the NSAIDs that are normally prescribed for arthritis can have some pretty nasty side effects, so they should only be used as a last resort. Here are nine natural ways to relieve your dog’s arthritis, before turning to harmful pain medications.
1. Help Him Maintain a Healthy Weight
Even a few extra pounds will put unnecessary strain on the joints and increases the pain associated with arthritis. If your dog needs to lose weight, do everything you can to help him slim down. Unfortunately, he’s probably not up to a lot of strenuous exercise if he’s got arthritis, so you’ll have to take control of his diet.
Consult with your vet about the proper portion size to help your dog lose weight. If you’re having a hard time watching him look longingly at his food bowl, try mixing some pure pumpkin puree (not sweetened and not pie filling) into his food. It’s high in fiber, low in calories, and nutritious. It will keep him feeling fuller, longer.
Cutting back on the high fat, high calorie treats is also important. Try substituting healthier options like carrots and frozen green beans. Many dogs love them!
2. Gentle Exercise is Very Important
Although your dog isn’t going to be up for taking a run every day, he still needs gentle exercise to keep his joints loose. It will also help to keep him healthy and control his weight. Just keep it low impact, gentle, and controlled. Try a couple of walks throughout the day, rather than one long one.
3. Invest in a Set of Pet Stairs or a Ramp
A set of pet stairs or a ramp will help your dog get in and out of the car or up and down from the bed. It will save your back so you don’t have to lift him, although he may still require some assistance.
4. Give Him Some Traction
Dogs with arthritis and joint problems aren’t as steady on their feet, so improving their traction can really help. Put area rugs on slippery floors and place a non-slip matt underneath them. You can also invest in toe grips made especially for dogs to provide instant traction on any surface. They grip the floor so your arthritic dog can stay steady and upright.
5. Try Doggie Massage
Much like a massage for humans, canine massage eases sore muscles and joints. It also reduces stress and lowers blood pressure for the receiver and the giver, which is great for the immune system and the quality of life.
There are other benefits, too. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your dog while giving you an opportunity to check for any new lumps, bumps, or sore places. There are many videos online that will teach you canine massage techniques to rejuvenate your elderly pup.
6. Acupuncture for Dogs
Yep, acupuncture is good for dogs too! It encourages the body to release its own anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving hormones. It also stimulates the nerves, relieves muscle spasms, and increases blood flow to encourage healing. The sessions are usually painless, and the benefits can accumulate over time, often lasting longer and longer with repeated treatments.
7. Sooth the Aches and Pains Away with Heat
You probably already know that a heating pad is great for soothing away aches and pains, but you may not have thought about using one for your dog. Keep the heat on low and don’t leave it on for more than 10 minutes at a time.
You can also make your own dog safe warmer by filling an old sock with rice and knot it at the end. Put it in the microwave for one minute and then test it on your inner wrist before applying it to your pup’s sore spots.
8. Provide a Comfy Bed with Good Support
You might also want to think about investing in a heated pet bed for him to provide sweet relief and encourage healing while he sleeps. Definitely make sure he has a supportive, well-padded place to sleep and rest.
9. Natural Supplements Can Also Be Helpful
There are several natural supplements that can also be helpful for dogs with arthritis and joint pain. Here are some that you might want to try.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a great choice for its anti-inflammatory effects, and it also has the added benefit of being an antioxidant that’s good for the liver and protects the body against disease.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These two supplements work together to rebuild the cartilage in the joints. They can also help to stop the degeneration of existing cartilage.
- Boswellia and Ashwagandha: These are both Ayurvedic herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties. They relieve pain by shrinking inflamed tissues and improving the blood flow to the inflamed areas to encourage healing. In addition, ashwagandha can improve energy while counteracting the negative impacts of stress.
- Vitamins C & E: Mild arthritis also responds well to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of Vitamins C and E.
- Probiotics: Gut health plays an intricate part in overall health for people and pets. Probiotics are essential for dogs with arthritis because inflammation in the gut leads to inflammation in other parts of the body.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are great for dogs with joint pain because they decrease inflammation throughout the body. They’re also important for your dog’s brain, heart, skin, and coat.
Be sure to consult with your vet for proper dosages and possible drug interactions before administering any supplements.
Although NSAIDs can be very effective for relieving the pain of arthritis, they come with some pretty serious side effects. Before turning to prescription medications, consider giving these natural arthritis remedies a try. You can also use natural remedies in conjunction with prescription medications to provide additional relief if your dog’s arthritis is already severe.