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How can I help a dog with degenerative joint disease?
If you have an older dog, you may have noticed it taking more time to get up from its Pillow Dog Bed or the couch, or maybe it has less of an interest in playing fetch with its Wing-A-Ball. As a result, the pooch may have gained weight or is sleeping more. You may attribute these changes in your dog to simple old age, but they are often indicators of degenerative joint disease, or arthritis.
Degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis in dogs, occurs when damage and erosion to the joint's cartilage causes inflammation and pain in the joints. This makes it painful for the dog to walk, run and move in general. As long as your vet has determined that arthritis is the cause of these symptoms and not something else, there are a number of ways to help your pet live a happy, healthy life with arthritis.
Treating the pain with pet drugs
Luckily, there are a number of pet drugs that can be prescribed for a dog that treat joint pain and inflammation. Metacam is one non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication that can be mixed into your dog's pet food to treat pain and inflammation to give your dog more mobility. Other NSAIDs like Rimadyl and Deramaxx may also be effective – these are good because they are chewable tablets, but your dog might swallow them with even more ease if they are enveloped in Greenies Pill
Promoting healthy cartilage
The cause of the pain in arthritis often stems from a loss or breakdown of cartilage in the dog's joints, so it can be beneficial to give the pooch a supplement that promotes healthy cartilage production. Look for supplements that have chondroitin and glucosamine for dogs – these are both naturally-occurring nutrients in the cartilage that help keep it hydrated and supple to support the bones around the joint. Dasuquin or Super Joint Enhancer contain these ingredients and can be given safely along with NSAIDs.
Supporting Fido around the house
When a person gets older, many families decide to install a chairlift on their staircase or other assists to make it easier for them to get around. It can help your dog greatly to install similar pet products around your home. Consider items like Soft Dog Steps with 3 Steps to help it get up and down from its favorite spot on the couch. Replace its bed with a more supportive variety like the Plush Memory Sleeper, which will support its achey joints.