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Caissie Canine Instruction: Arthritis, caring for senior dogs

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

We begin this week’s “RUFF TAILS” featuring a beautiful Czech German Shepherd named Leeko.

When I was a puppy my mom said she picked me out of the litter because I have a lot of energy, no fear, and a huge amount of confidence.

And my family thinks I am super cute. Check me out of my Instagram page. Hee Hee!!!

Welcome to Doggie Dialogue:

Arthritis is particularly common in large breeds dogs and senior dogs. There is no cure.

Degenerative joint disease (DJD) or osteoarthritis is inflammation caused by deterioration of the articular cartilage within one or more of the joints. This condition most commonly affects the lower spine, hips, and legs.

Signs of osteoarthritis in your dog/dogs can be the following:

1. Stiffness and/or limping

2. Changes in their behaviour

3. Reluctance to run or play

4. Feels pain when touched

5. Having accidents in house

6. Weight gain

7. Trouble climbing stairs

Believe it or not, 20% of dogs can show signs of arthritis as early as 1 year of age. It can also occur often in breeds with hereditary conditions linked to arthritis.

Breeds such as Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Labrador Retrievers and Saint Bernard’s which are all prone to hip dysplasia.

However, DJD (degenerative joint disease) is commonly found in about 70-80% of senior dogs over the age of 8.

Walking your arthritic dog will help build their muscles to help support their joints. Walk your dog often, but for a shorter distance. Instead of going for one ½ hour walk, we recommend 2-3 walks but for only 5-10 minutes in duration.

If you find you dog is stiff, try to gently massage their muscles to “warm up” and “stretch” their hips and legs prior to their walk. Let your dog rest as much as they need too on their walk. Let your dog set the pace. You may find your dog will prefer walking on the grass.

To assist your dog with arthritis, first consult your vet, as there are treatments available.

How you can help in assisting your canine, with arthritis, are the following:

1. You may offer your dog a big comfortable bed

2. Installing ramps if necessary

3. Help control your dog’s weight

4. Try to gently massage your dog,

if he/she lets you.

Remember it can be painful for your dog, even to pet them.

Some of our clients have used the hydrotherapy services at K9 Splash Pool in Pickering for their canine. They also offer canine massage and chiropractic care.

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