Enhancing Your Senior Dog’s Mobility and Comfort
One of the most common challenges dogs will likely face at some point in their life is arthritis and mobility issues. In this article I’ll delve into the world of arthritis in senior dogs and explore how CBD oil can be a promising solution to improve their health so your dog can have the best life possible!
Older Dogs with Arthritis & Mobility Issues: Understanding Joint Problems in Aging Dogs
Arthritis is a general term given to joint issues and damage in dogs. These issues can occur due to birth defects, excessive wear and tear on joints, weight gain, aging, infections, and occasionally, immune system disorders.
Briefly, a dog’s joints consist of two bones cushioned by soft cartilage. This cartilage allows for smooth joint movement, enabling dogs to run and jump without pain. In a normal, healthy dog, this cartilage allows the two bones to work together, helping your dog move through a normal range-of-motion without pain.
When this cartilage begins to wear down, however, they don’t provide the necessary amount of cushion required for regular mobility, resulting in pain & inflammation.
Even though arthritis is used a lot to describe this condition, it doesn’t necessarily accurately represent the true cause of the issue.
What is Arthritis in Dogs?
While arthritis is often the term we use to describe joint issues, it is crucial to understand that it is the breakdown of the cartilage in a dog’s joints that leads to these problems. The deterioration of this cartilage can be due to factors like excessive exercise, illness, or birth defects.
Arthritis, therefore, is essentially the loss of this crucial cartilage cushioning. This tissue breakdown can occur from excessive stress on joints, like regular and intense exercise.
Sometimes your dog will become sick, and a side effect of the sickness is damage to their joints. Other times they are born with defects that cause the joints to wear out the cartilage faster.
All arthritis means is that the cartilage in your dog’s joints is breaking down.
While arthritis doesn’t prevent your dog from being able to move, it can make it extremely painful for them. As a result, dogs with arthritis are likely to lay around and move less than they used to.
Why Senior Dogs Encounter Arthritis and Mobility Challenges
It’s essential to realize that any dog can develop arthritis and mobility issues, but it’s significantly more prevalent in older dogs. The reason lies in the gradual wear and tear on cartilage, which takes years to accumulate.
Factors such as weight gain and congenital joint abnormalities can lead to this long-term damage. While it’s not age per se that causes arthritis, aging exacerbates the natural decline in a dog’s health, including mobility.
Diagnosing Mobility Issues in Senior Dogs
In most cases, mobility issues in older dogs are associated with arthritis. However, other issues like muscle and nerve deterioration are two common issues in senior dogs that can also affect mobility.
Sometimes, especially if your dog’s mobility issues seem to have set in pretty quickly, the issue can be another serious health issue under the surface – something not related to their joints at all. Health conditions like stomach problems, heart disease, inflammation, and even cancer can cause pets to become less active and mobile.
On the other hand, sometimes the issues are much simpler than any of these conditions or arthritis. Something as minimal as overgrown nails can reduce an older dog’s motivation to move.
Other times, your dog may just be more tired than usual, and less interested in their normal activities. Senior dogs tend to lose a lot of the vigor of their youth and are a lot more likely to choose to lay down and relax rather than move. These and other health conditions can put your pet in enough pain that they become sedentary in order to cope.
Does My Old Dog Have Arthritis?
Diagnosing your dog’s mobility issues Examples of things that can cause damage to your dog’s joints over the long term are weight gain and birth defects. A slightly misaligned joint or a few extra pounds won’t give your dog arthritis in a week, or even in a few months. But over several years of their life, these kinds of issues will wear down their cartilage.
So, it’s not necessarily your pet’s age that causes arthritis and mobility issues, but rather how long it takes for these problems to reveal their damage.
Aging, in general, will have a negative impact on your dog’s health and their ability to be mobile. As your pet ages and the cells in their body begin to regenerate slower and slower, all of the various aspects of their health will lose the vitality of their youth.
Loos of mobility is just one of the most obvious effects of the aging process.
Strategies to Improve Your Senior Dog’s Mobility
Helping your aging dog regain mobility involves addressing the root cause of their problems. Sometimes, the root issue can be fixed, completely restoring your pet’s mobility. Other times, your pet may have an issue that you’ll need to help them manage for the rest of their life.
Let’s explore strategies that encompass both their environment and health.
Dogs with arthritis often struggle to maintain grip–especially on smooth surfaces like tile and laminate floors. Adding rugs and nonslip surfaces can make a significant difference in helping your pet navigate their environment.
Adding tread to the floors of your house is especially important if you have a set of stairs in your home. You can either add a treaded surface to the steps of hardwood stairs or add a gate to prevent your pet from using the steps all together.
Consider ramps for small steps and landings and explore innovative solutions like dog socks designed to provide traction on slippery surfaces.
Exercise is crucial, especially in early-stage arthritis, but it must be gentle and closely monitored by a veterinarian. Exercise helps maintain muscle mass, prevent weight gain, and minimize the impact of arthritis.
Alongside losing muscle mass from lack of proper activities, dogs can put on extra weight, which can be a serious problem when a dog already has arthritis. Extra weight and dog obesity put extra strain on damaged joints, increasing the speed with which the condition occurs.
Activities such as short walks and swimming can be beneficial for your aging dog.
The Healing Power of Massage
Massages are not just for humans; they can also alleviate arthritis pain in dogs.
Massages reduce inflammation, improve blood flow to affected joints, and help prevent muscle atrophy. Dogs, particularly those who are active or aging, can experience muscle stiffness or discomfort. Massages are a pleasurable experience that can help relieve muscle tension and soreness, just like they do in humans.
In addition to helping them feel refreshed and rejuvenated, massaging your dog can also strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Touch is a fundamental way for dogs to communicate and build trust. Massaging your dog can be a way to convey affection and care, helping them feel safe and loved.
Beneficial Supplements, Including CBD
Supplements, including joint repair ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, can provide pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits. Another supplement that’s quickly rising in popularity is CBD.
CBD (cannabidiol), derived from hemp, interacts with a dog’s endocannabinoid system, regulating mood, appetite, immune function, and sleep. It is an effective and safe natural supplement with little to no side effects.
Traditionally, veterinarians may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for dogs with arthritis. While these drugs can offer pain relief, they also come with potential side effects. CBD, on the other hand is a natural compound found in hemp products that has numerous health benefits for your pet including that it’s a great anti-inflammatory supplement and pain reliever.
So, if your pet seems particularly troubled by their arthritic pains, you can administer CBD to help manage their comfort levels.
Because CBD is a natural supplement, it has little to no side effects for most dogs and is completely harmless. Alongside being able to help with arthritis, it has a number of other health benefits for dogs that are easy to observe. It could even have a preventative effect on certain diseases long term, though this is still being researched.
If you’re interested in giving your dog CBD – or any other kind of supplement – be sure to connect with your local veterinarian first. You can voice any concerns and ask any questions about the supplement with them first to see if it’s right for your pet.
Weight management is essential for aging dogs. Obesity can exacerbate arthritis and joint pain, so maintaining a healthy weight is a top priority. Consult your veterinarian for a personalized diet and exercise plan to help your dog shed excess pounds and regain mobility. On top of this, dogs that develop arthritis tend to become much less active, which only leads to more weight gain.
Helping your dog lose weight will not only make them feel better and more active, but it can actually reduce the progressive negative impact of arthritis. Weight gain intensifies the damage and pain associated with your pet’s joints, and weight loss is a simple solution to this problem.
Pain Relief for Older Dogs with Arthritis & Mobility Issues
Arthritis is an all-to-common challenge for aging dogs, but there are numerous solutions to improve their quality of life.
By addressing the root causes of mobility issues, maintaining a healthy weight, and exploring supplements like CBD, you can ensure your senior dog enjoys their golden years with comfort and mobility. It’s crucial to discuss alternatives with your vet, including natural options like CBD, which can help manage pain and inflammation effectively to support your aging canine companion.
Curtis has been passionate about the health and welfare of animals since his first dog rescue.
After studying Sports Medicine & Biology at the University of Oregon, Curtis went on to excel in a career of Clinical Nutrition, later owning a health care supplement company serving private-practice physicians.
Known for his expansive knowledge of natural health and alternative medicine, Curtis believes that natural plant-based therapies can be applied to veterinary animal care which led him to study the science of Cannabinoid Medicine. His expertise in Functional Medicine led him to formulate a unique hemp-based canine care product, Canine Support Formula, fulfilling a dream to combine natural pet-care strategies with the new therapeutic potential of medical cannabis.
In reverence for his own dog, Parker, Curtis has dedicated his company–K9 Medibles–to improving the health and longevity of all dogs.
To learn more about Curtis and how K9 Medibles can help your dog, click HERE.