Arthritis not only occurs as humans get older, but in our furry friends as well. In fact up to 1 and 4 dogs are affected by arthritis. What is arthritis? Arthritis is a common term that refers to a group of over 100 diseases that cause joint pain and joint degeneration through chronic inflammation of the joints. Pain and stiffness of the joint are the result of chronic inflammation.
As your pet suffers from arthritis, they commonly exercise less, thus gaining weight. This is a vicious cycle as the added weight on their joints causes even more pain, leading to more decrease in activity.
How do I know if my pet is suffering from arthritis?
There are visual cues that you can look for in your pet's behavior, especially if they are older.
- They are slow to stand up or lie down
- They have a change in their walk or display a noticeable limp
- They aren't as active as normal, change their playing habits
- They are gaining weight due to lack of energy/exercise
As always it is recommended you visit a veterinarian to make sure there are no serious underlying medical issues.
How can I treat the arthritis in my pet?
Steroids can be used to reduce the swelling and inflammation in arthritic joints but can also contribute to joint damage and can come with some unwanted side effects. Non steroid medicines (NSAIDs) are also available for pets but unfortunately can also come with unwanted side effects including liver and kidney damage. For this reason, many pet owners choose to stay away from using medicines when possible.
Pet owners also are turning to physical therapy as a way to alleviate their pet's arthritis pain. Hydrotherapy and message therapy can help with the management of arthritis pain.
Many pet owners treat their pet's arthritis with supplements aimed at reducing the inflammation in their joints. Adding supplements to your pet's diet such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E (to name a few) can help with reducing inflammation, promoting the body's ability to repair and strengthen joint tissues.
Natural Hemp Oil contains compounds that have been shown to fight inflammation over the whole body including the joints. Reducing inflammation is key to managing arthritis in your pet. These compounds are non psychoactive meaning your pet will not get high. Studies also show they help reduce the signs of pain. There have been many published stories of pets (and humans) that have benefitted from taking natural hemp oil (read about Spike).
If your pet suffers from arthritis and you don't like the idea of giving them medicines, supplements are a great alternative. They can help manage the symptoms enabling your pet to stay active and enjoy a good quality of life.