One of the most common issues that you will deal with as a dog owner is arthritis due to age or a degenerative condition, such as the ligament and joint degradation. In addition, it is very difficult for a dog owner to deal with these issues as it can be heartbreaking to watch your dog walk more gingerly or be unable to jump into your car or on your bed due to the pain it would cause him or her. However, there are a few options available that can help you make your arthritic dog much more comfortable, such as the three listed below.
The first step that many veterinarians will recommend before opting for surgery or medication is lifestyle changes. The most important lifestyle change will be to alter your dog's diet in order to get him or her to lose weight, which can take a lot of pressure and strain off of his or her joints. In addition, many modern dog foods will actually have a lot of supplements and vitamins in them that can promote joint health and strength.
Another lifestyle change that you will be advised to perform is to provide your dog with more exercise. This is important because the increased muscle development from the exercise can lead to protection around the joints.
One of the easiest ways to treat your dog's arthritis is to resort to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can include such ingredients as aspirin or ibuprofen. These medications will not be able to really assist with any bone or joint issues that are causing arthritis, but they can reduce the inflammation around the nerves in the legs and hips of the dog to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. This option is also often a better choice than steroid medications as long-term use of steroid medications for arthritis can cause further damage to the joints.
Finally, you should discuss surgical options with your veterinarian in the event that all other treatment options have failed to make your dog more comfortable. In some cases, surgery may be the only option as lifestyle changes and medication may not be able to deal with issues such as calcium buildups in the joints or accumulated scar tissue due to torn muscles and ligaments.
In those situations, a veterinarian can perform surgery to remove the scar tissue or clean up the calcium buildups around the joints. In extreme cases, the vet can even go a bit further and actually surgically rebuild the entire joint to improve your dog's mobility and ease his or her discomfort.
Contact a veterinarian today at a clinic like Southwest Animal Hospital in order to discuss methods for both treating and mitigating the pain caused by your dog's arthritis. Lifestyle changes, NSAIDs, and surgery are all great options that can help you improve your dog's quality of life despite arthritis.