Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dog Arthritis? Painless Tips for a Painful Disease

Our loveable energetic canine best friend Tikki had been a faithful companion for well over a decade when he began to slow way down. He paused dramatically before going down the steps to go outside. He circled his bed over and over before finally dropping down. He limped along at a much slower pace than previously rarely chasing our cat or squirrels as he once had done daily. We began to wonder, could our senior dog, Tikki, have arthritis?

Arthritis is the condition where the cartilage inside of joint deteriorates so bones rub together causing stiffness, pain and loss of the ability to move. It is not a disease reserved for humans. Osteoarthritis affects dogs too! This is especially true for large breed canines (over 50 lbs). But Tikki could not tell us he was in pain so we monitored those important signs of this painful disease.

Indicators of a Dog with Arthritis
  • Trouble Standing or Sitting Is it a struggle for your friend to get to his feet? Does he circle around and around before finally setting down?
  • Sleeping Longer and More Often A dog with arthritis will often begin to sleep more and appear less interested in walks or play.
  • Appearing to suffer from sore, stiff joints Does your dog appears to have stiff legs or walk a bit funny when he stands up after a nap or car ride? Has he started to snap if awakened or whimper when petted?
  • Hesitancy to climb stairs Do you have to coax your dog to take that first step up or down the staircase?
  • Favors a limb Does he tend to walk more on one side or the other? Maybe one leg is appearing to waste away while the other three appear more muscular?
  • Tipping the Scale on the Heavier Side Increased weigh from one vet appointment to the next can indicate avoidance of movement due to pain.
  • Decreased interest in Play or Other Behavior changes If your dog loved playing chase-the-tennis ball but now prefers to chew on it well out of reach, then take a nap Or maybe your pooch loved riding shot gun with the wind flapping his ears, but no longer races to the door when he hears the jingle of car keys., painful joints could be the cause. 
  • Zoned Out A pet that appears disinterested in everything and somewhat less alert than normal is another sign of arthritic joints.
Need tips and ideas on how to help your dog live with arthritis and enjoy his golden years visit the OldDogPaws arthritis page.

Copyright 2011 

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