How To Help A Dog With Arthritis At Home

Those dog stairs though 😍

help a dog with arthritis at home

It’s heartbreaking to find out your dog has arthritis, but luckily you can help him be nice and happy at home, despite his diagnosis.

Some ways you can manage your dog’s arthritis symptoms include adding new products to his routine, like orthopedic dog beds, stairs or ramps, new food and supplements.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a veterinarian with Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in California, to find out all the ways you can help out your BFF and keep his pain at bay.

Orthopedic dog beds

The best dog beds for arthritis are orthopedic beds, which are designed specifically to provide support and soothe any aches or pains in your pup’s joints.

Orthopedic dog beds are typically made with memory foam or orthotic foam, and are good options for arthritic dogs since they’re firmer and don’t sag as easily as other fillers.

Try the Barbox orthopedic bed from Amazon for $27.49+

Or the Furhaven orthopedic bed from Amazon for $17.99+

We even tried out the Casper dog bed on our own pups (including one of our senior dogs) and we loved it!

Get it from Casper for $139+

To make things even easier on your dog, heating pads are always a great way to go.

Try this K&H heating pad from Amazon for $52.49+

Just make sure the heating pad doesn’t come into direct contact with your dog’s skin — blankets make good buffers!

Like this blanket from Amazon for $9.95+

Dog stairs and ramps

Arthritis really impacts your dog’s mobility, which is why dog stairs and ramps are so useful.

They’ll help your pup climb up on furniture or get in and out of the car, since he most likely won’t be able to jump up and down without hurting himself.

Try these dog stairs from Amazon for $50.90+

Or this dog furniture ramp from Amazon for $129.95

And this dog car ramp from Amazon for $69.95

Another handy tool is a harness designed specifically to help you lift your dog in a sling.

Like this one from Amazon for $22.99+

Best dog food for arthritis

The best dog foods for arthritis are formulas for joint health and formulas for weight management.

There’s prescription dog food available for joint support, and Dr. Cruz specifically recommends Hill’s Science Diet j/d formula, which is made with glucosamine.

Get Hill’s Science Diet j/d dog food from Amazon for $41.99

Dr. Cruz also strongly encourages incorporating weight loss into your dog’s arthritis treatment if your dog’s overweight, which makes food that’s designed for weight management a good choice.

Try Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight dog food from Amazon for $17.49+

Dog arthritis supplements

Dog supplements can be a great way to ease arthritis symptoms and make your pup less achy.

The joint supplements that should be the most effective for your dog’s arthritis symptoms include ingredients like glucosamine and methylsulfonylmethane (aka MSM).

(Just remember it’s always good to check with your vet before starting your dog on any supplement routine.)

One supplement that can help manage your dog’s arthritis is Cosequin, which is a joint support supplement with almost 40,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

Try Cosequin Maximum Strength from Amazon for $17.44+

The Anxious Pet makes peanut butter flavored joint supplements that are pretty hard for any pup to resist.

Get the Hip & Joint chews from The Anxious Pet for $39

You can also try fish oil since it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for reducing inflammation.

Try this salmon oil from Amazon for $27.77

And if you’re interested in a CBD option for your pup’s joints, we tried out ElleVet Sciences’ Mobility Chews on our own dogs — and they actually helped.

Get them from ElleVet for $79.95+ (and use our code DODO for 10% off)

Dog arthritis treatment

Dog arthritis treatment is about managing the symptoms and making sure your pup can continue to live comfortably, since there’s no way to make your dog’s arthritis go away.

The longer you wait to treat the symptoms, the worse the arthritis can get, so it’s super important you start your dog on a treatment plan as early as possible.

“Sadly, pet owners often wait too long to take a pet to see the veterinarian,” Dr. Cruz told The Dodo. “Keep the pet slim, see your vet routinely, get X-rays when it is recommended and follow your doctor’s recommendations.”

Arthritis medicine for dogs

Your vet can prescribe arthritis medicine for your dog, which should help reduce his pain and inflammation.

Dr. Cruz recommends medications like Rimadyl, Meloxicam and Galliprant. (Remember, these are prescription meds, so you’ll need to consult with your vet to find out if any of these options are the right ones for your dog.)

Arthritis medicine shouldn’t be the sole source of treatment for your dog, though.

According to Dr. Cruz, you should also look into multimodal approaches (aka a combination treatment) — with vet approval, of course.

These approaches can include therapies like:

  • Cold laser therapy
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Chondroprotective injections, like Adequan (which are supposed to delay the degradation of your dog’s articular cartilage)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Weight loss

Combining these treatment methods will be good for your dog’s arthritis symptoms, which will help him be happy at home.

What’s arthritis in dogs, anyway?

Arthritis is a slow, progressive and degenerative disease that affects your dog’s joints and bones.

Arthritis impacts the cartilage in your pup’s joints that’s supposed to cushion his bones and keep them from bumping into or rubbing against each other.

When your dog has arthritis, that cartilage gets damaged, which means his bones can come into direct contact with each other — and it can be super painful for your dog.

“People are now more aware of the condition … in the past, it was just ‘the dog is getting old,’” Dr. Cruz said. “Now a diagnosis is being made.”

There are a few different ways your dog can get arthritis, resulting in different forms of the disease, including:

  • Septic arthritis: when bacteria or another agent infects the joint and causes inflammation
  • Immune-mediated arthritis: when your dog has an abnormal immune response that affects his joints

Your dog could also develop arthritis from other conditions, like cancer or torn ligaments.

Dog arthritis symptoms

Common dog arthritis symptoms include:

  • Lameness
  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • Rising slowly
  • Reluctance towards going on walks
  • Reluctance towards running, jumping or playing
  • Sensitivity (or even aggressiveness) when the affected area is touched
  • Weight gain (due to reluctance towards exercise)
  • Loss of muscle mass in affected limb

So when it comes to helping your arthritic dog be comfortable at home, you’ll need to treat these symptoms, since there’s no treatment for the disease itself.

“Pet owners should be aware of what the signs of osteoarthritis (OA) are,” Dr. Cruz said.

While it can be a bummer to find out your dog has arthritis, there are plenty of things you can do for him to help him have a fulfilled and comfortable life at home.

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