Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in dogs, with overweight and aging dogs among the most at risk for developing this popular joint disease. Over time, joint cartilage deteriorates and is unable to retain water, which results in a loss of lubrication between the joints. Once cartilage is unable to hold water, the body attempts to produce extra synovial fluid, resulting in the swelling of the joints.
As the cartilage continues to break down, the friction between the joints increases causing small fractures to form. As the bone begins to grow, bone spurs (osteophytes) can develop. These bone spurs stretch out the joint capsule and cause pain when rubbed against other nerves or bone.
Before your dog is diagnosed with a joint disease, you may be able to help maintain your dog's joint health by following these simple three steps:
Use pet ramps or pet stairs
- Using pet ramps or pet stairs can reduce the strain on your dog's joints caused
by everyday jumping.
- It's important to not allow your dog to jump on and off beds and couches.
- There are also ramps available for getting in and out of cars.
Trim down your dog's weight
- Overweight dogs are more likely to develop joint problems and pain.
- Placing your dog on a lean diet and engaging in routine exercise can help to eliminate extra stress on the joints.
- Need help finding a healthy dog food? Visit our Pet Food Center to find a healthy and nutritious food for your dog.
Put down carpets and rugs
- Adding a rug or carpet helps to keep your dog's joints from slipping on hard surfaces like wood floors and ceramic tile.
- During the winter, this also helps your dog's feet and legs stay warm.
Consider gentle exercises for your dog
- When your dog has joint pain or arthritis, it's important to not overstress your dog's joints through strenuous exercises.
- Consider gentle swimming exercises or light walking rather than running.