Can my dog get arthritis?
If you’ve noticed your dog seems a little stiff as they move or is reluctant to jump or play like they used to, then they might have arthritis – especially if they’re getting older. The main thing to remember is though arthritis is common in senior dogs, that doesn’t mean your pupper has to put up with it. Though there’s no cure, there are ways to manage arthritis – and diet is a major one. In fact, arthritis is one of the most frequent issues mentioned when people first approach us about Lyka meals for their puppers.
So, what is arthritis in dogs?
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease. Basically that’s usually wear and tear that occurs over time which results in pain and inflammation around the joints.
Where? Arthritis can affect any joints, however hips, knees, shoulders and elbows are the most common joints affected in dogs
Why? Most healthy joints have a layer of cartilage that acts as a cushion between the bones of the joint, providing a smooth surface so that the bones either side can move freely against each other. This is also helped by synovial fluid that lubricates the joint – which is a bit like oiling a door hinge to help it move more smoothly!
With arthritis, the cartilage wears down and the synovial fluid can’t lubricate as it should – and as the bones lose their ability to move smoothly against each other, this leads to inflammation and pain.
Is it just senior dogs that get arthritis?
It’s certainly more common in our older puppers, but don’t rule out arthritis in younger dogs too. Some injuries can lead to arthritis, and factors such as genetic makeup, infection and immune disease can also affect how quickly arthritis develops and symptoms progress.
How can I tell if my dog has arthritis?
- Do they seem to be reluctant to jump, play or climb stairs?
- Are they limping or do they yelp when touched?
- Are they licking their joints?
- Are they moving slowly or with stiffness?
- Has their mood changed, from happy to easily irritable?
How can your dog’s diet help manage arthritis?
- Maintaining a healthy weight is important. Weight control is key, as excess weight can put pressure on the joints. Therefore, food needs to be calorie controlled – with healthy ingredients and meals at an appropriate portion size. Senior dogs can be more prone to weight gain, so this is especially important for them.
- Anti-inflammatory nutrients support joint health. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in foods like mackerel, sardines and flaxseeds, and can help reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. The two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA are particularly important in helping keep joint cartilage healthy.
- Nutrients like antioxidants help protect against arthritis. Whole food antioxidants and phytochemicals can reduce damage to joint fluid by decreasing free radicals – helping to prevent arthritis in the future.
- Some supplements have specific qualities that may help manage arthritis. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may help, as well as foods like green-lipped mussels – so discuss supplements with your vet.
How else can I help manage my dog’s arthritis?
Remember that rather than avoiding exercise, for pups with arthritis, gentle exercise like walking and swimming can help keep them mobile and ease their symptoms. Short frequent exercise is often better than longer sessions.
Also make it easier for them around the home:
- Provide a ramp so they can avoid climbing stairs
- Make sure they have a comfortable bed in a warm place
- Help your dog when getting in and out of cars
Arthritis should be managed with input from your vet, so make sure to consult them to get the best treatment plan for your dog. They may suggest long term medication like NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatories) for pain and inflammation, and acupuncture can also be a helpful option.
Your dog will love Lyka
At Lyka, we believe every pup deserves the best diet to support a healthy, active life – especially if they are prone to health issues that affect their mobility, like arthritis.
Lyka recipes are specially designed by our own vet to include key minerals and nutrients such as omega fatty acids which support ageing joints. Made from fresh, human-grade ingredients, Lyka meals are portion controlled to help maintain a healthy weight, and are deliciously tempting for even the fussiest fido.
Delicious, nutritious Lyka – delivered direct to your door.