I am lucky enough to work in veterinary medicine.
I LOOOOOVE dog training, but interesting enough I also love veterinary medicine.
We joke at work that it is an addiction.
I make low pay.
I don’t have 401(K)
I don’t have medical benefits
The job is hard on my body and requires I lift large dogs and get muzzles on aggressive dogs in .02 seconds so no one is bitten.
I clean up poop
I get covered in blood
I also get covered in anal glands and other nasty bodily fluids
Maggots are even a staple
Sounds like fun, right?
Trust me, appreciate your vet techs!!!!!
Anyway, I see a lot of stiff and limping dogs.
It is a staple in any clinic.
And, it is heart breaking.
Limping equals pain.
And, dogs are stoic and don’t usually complain unless the pain is severe; which makes it more heartbreaking.
So what can you do to help your friend not suffer from these pains?
At our clinic we sell the only glucosamine and chondroitin that is tested to be pure and in correct dosages. Like other supplements the efficacy of the supplement is dependent on how much supplement actually makes it into the pill or chew.
Swimming is one of the best exercises for arthritis!
Swimming is non-weight baring which means the dog can exercise without putting stress on his joints.
The floating in the water helps alleviate pain.
And, interestingly enough chasing a ball and swimming in the water can be exhausting for your dog (which is s good thing).
I am a judge for the sport “Dock Diving” where your dog runs down a 40 foot dock and jumps into the water.
30 minutes of practice and swimming will wipe out even my athletic dogs.
My only piece of advice is to find a “dock diving pool” (they are cropping up everywhere) that is clean or a body of water that is clean.
I was born and raised in WY and all the water there is pretty clean.
I currently live in MD and the water is disgusting. A friend of mine, in the Navy, accidentally fell in the water and had to have a cocktail of injections because the water is so dirty.
Each week we deal with skin infections on dogs that swim in dirty water.
So if you opt to take your dog swimming… just make sure the water is not going to create it’s own problem.
Need help getting your dog to swim, try this.
To actually find out more about competitive dock diving I recommend an Ultimate Air Dogs event. They will also help teach your dog to swim at an event!
I know that it sounds counter intuitive to take your dog for a walk if he has some arthritis.
However unless your dog is non-weightbearing or has an acute injury; walking actually helps to strengthen the muscles around the affected area.
When I was 18 I had a Rottweiler with horrifying hip dysplasia.
I didn’t have the money to have surgery for him.
I put him on supplements.
I provided him with pain medication when he needed it.
And I walked him.
We walked slowly and we didn’t walk for terribly long distances.
But we walked.
The walking built his muscles in and around his hips.
The muscles, therefore, kept his hip joint closer to the socket without causing it to slip and rub.
Muscle wasting makes arthritis even worse.
So even if you don’t take your dog far, give him a little therapeutic walk.
Interestingly, my dogs often prefer laying on the cold floor!l
But, dogs with arthritis can truly benefit from laying on a comfortable bed that keeps the pressure off of their painful joints.
Back in the day, when I was 18 with the dysplastic Rottweiler, we invested in a child’s bed so that he could be comfortable.
He loved that bed.
It alleviated his pain.
The nice thing now, is that they literally make tempurpedic beds for dogs.
Memory foam will help them to find some relief.
Yes they can be expensive but they are worth it.
I have several soft beds scattered all over my house for my dogs to sleep on.
They even make chew proof beds that are guaranteed. Again, they can be a bit expensive but they are well made beds! I have had to go this route for my Malinois!
Weight loss is the #1 way to help your dog not suffer.
Again, working in the veterinary world probably 90 % of the dogs we see are overweight.
Imagine carrying around an extra 50 or 100 pounds.
It would hurt your back.
It would hurt your knees.
It would hurt your elbows.
It would hurt your feet.
It would hurt your shoulders
And, it would hurt everything else that was constantly bearing that weight.
You would be miserable.
I watch some of the gastric bypass shows on TV and I feel terrible for those people, everything hurts.
Your dog is the same.
He may not carry 50 pounds.
But 2 pounds extra on a chihuahua is a big deal.
15 pounds on a Lab is a big deal.
Ideally you should be able to feel your dogs ribs, without pushing too hard.
Heck, I can see my Malinois ribs and he is in perfect shape.
When you have an arthritic dog, being underweight is sooooo much better than being overweight.
Do your dog a favor and cut his food back so that he is not uncomfortable.
If you have other home remedies for your dog’s stiff joints, let us know in the comments!!