Dogs can live with arthritis for years if they have the right lifestyle and supportive treatments to keep them comfortable. As a progressive condition, dogs with arthritis in the later stages can show worsening symptoms. Loss of cartilage can make the condition very painful as bone rubs against bone in the joints.
Outlook. Arthritis is a long-term condition that needs life-long management. Arthritis slowly worsens over time, but if well managed, most dogs can live happily for many years after diagnosis.
Severe Arthritis, Stage 4
These symptoms will significantly impact the dog's quality of life. You will see severely abnormal limb loading, shifting of weight, restlessness when standing and a reluctance to move.
Since the degeneration of the joints and increase in joint inflammation tend to be progressive over time, dogs may go through various stages of osteoarthritis. Sometimes arthritis progresses quickly and other times that progression may take years.
Lack of mobility is a life threatening disease – dogs who can't get up or walk anymore usually are euthanized. This is the stage we are trying to prevent by intervening early. At this stage, the pet may resist, cry or even scream when the joint range of motion is tested.
The best recommendation for dogs with arthritis is “exercise modification.” This means dogs SHOULD exercise, in fact, they should ideally do something every single day rather than be weekend warriors. The ideal exercise program for dogs with arthritis is one that is regular, low-impact, and controlled.
'Little and often' is the best approach when it comes to exercising arthritic pets. It may suit them better to take them on several short walks each day, rather than one long walk. Keep their exercise pattern as regular as possible – try to avoid short walks during the week and a really long walk at the weekend.
Dog Arthritis Symptoms
However, as the disease progresses and pain increases, it will become more evident that something is wrong. Some of the signs of arthritis in dogs include: Stiffness and difficulty getting up from a sitting or lying down position. Limping, trembling, or tenderness when walking.
Moderate Exercise and Physical Therapy
Physical therapy, massage, and daily exercise can be very beneficial to dogs with arthritis. Consider daily exercise in moderation: Start with short walks, up to 10 or 15 minutes, three to four times per day.
Otherwise, arthritic dogs need exercise or they become stiff. We advise regular exercise, preferably 2-3 shorter walks a day rather than one long walk. Jumping on to furniture, going up and down stairs or running to chase balls are activities best avoided as they can jolt the joints and worsen arthritis.
Your pet will get tired from all the worrying about his arthritis or osteoarthritis pain. That's why dogs with this condition will often end up sleeping all the time.
Severe Osteoarthritis (STAGE 4)
Other signs include consistent severe lameness, weight shift and abnormal limb loading.
If your dog seems to be in worse pain when they are touched or picked up, this may mean they've got arthritis. Picking up or touching a dog who is suffering from arthritis pain in their joints can cause them to yelp, whine, or may even cause them to snap if the pain is very severe.
While 80% of dogs will show signs of arthritis by age 8, 20% of dogs show signs as early as the age of one year. And just like in humans, there are ways to help relieve the symptoms if your dog has arthritis. Weight: It's important to know the optimal weight for your dog's breed.
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is a progressive disease and there is no known cure. Preventing the development of osteoarthritis through diet, exercise, and the use of protective joint supplements is the best way to keep your dog's joints healthy.
Attaining and maintaining a lean body conformation through proper nutrition and feeding practices is the most important cornerstone of effective osteoarthritis management and prevention. It has been shown that skinny dogs have less arthritis and a longer life expectancy!
Options like pain medications, joint supplements for dogs, physical therapy, laser therapy for dogs, and acupuncture can all help relieve arthritis pain in dogs. There isn't a particular treatment that is superior to the others.
Some things you can do is help your pet maintain a healthy weight and try natural remedies for arthritis. Another option is canine massage therapy. Performing a massage can relieve the pain symptoms and slow down the progression of arthritis.
The severity of the lameness is often exacerbated during the night. This happens because of the soreness that builds up from too much activity during the day.
Climbing up and down the stairs is painful for arthritic dogs. Arthritic dogs exert themselves when climbing up and down stairs. Even though the condition may be in its earlier stages, the pain will increase as the condition worsens. So, it can be good in the long run to limit movements up and down the stairs.
STAIRS AND RAMPS
Jumping down from a bed or out of an SUV puts a lot of force on the joints and is not recommended for any dog—with or without arthritis! You can use stairs or ramps to help your dog, particularly when getting down/out. Many dogs will also benefit from assistance in getting up or jumping in.
Natural over-the-counter treatments. Pills or food containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids have shown to ease arthritis symptoms in dogs. Acupuncture and massage.
Pain and Mobility
Signs of pain in dogs tend to be very subtle. It usually starts as reluctance to do what they have done easily in the past, like jumping up on furniture or in the car, that then progresses to inability to do these things at all. Walks become shorter, or their gait changes during the walks.