Dealing with a pet that has a medical problem can be a stressful experience. Our pets are part of our families and we love them very much. Sadly, health problems can affect a pet just as it can affect humans. Dogs are man's best friend and amazing animals. They are truly much more than just pets. An issue that often happens as a dog ages is they develop arthritis. Arthritis affects dogs in their senior years the most.
Many pet parents have been hearing about CBD as a treatment for medical conditions in both humans and animals. It has certainly been gaining in popularity all over the world. Your questions will be answered on whether arthritis in dogs can be helped with CBD in this article as well as plenty of information on arthritis itself.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Arthritis?
The question of “How do I know if my dog has arthritis” is not an easy one to answer. It can sometimes be hard to tell whether your dog has arthritis or some other health issue. Certainly, older dogs are more prone to having arthritis just as older humans are. It is an inflammatory condition that can cause pain and difficulty in movement.
What Exactly Is Arthritis?
Well, the word arthritis comes from the Greek word “arthro” which means joint. Joints are where two bones meet in the body. The other part is “itis” and that refers to inflammation. Inflammation is when there are areas in the body that are swollen and painful. Some people even experience hotness and redness in the joint inflamed area. So, joint inflammation is exactly what arthritis means and is exactly what it is.
Arthritis covers over one hundred different types of diseases that have to do with joint pain and inflammation. There are kinds of arthritis that are autoimmune and types that are due to injury or age. It affects the cartilage and muscles in the body and affects the joints. Many different types of arthritis are out there and can be diagnosed.
There are types of arthritis that can hit pups at any age and other kinds that usually only affect older dogs in their senior years. A definitive diagnosis is the best way to find out what type of arthritis that your dog may have. This can be done with the help of a veterinarian.
Arthritis is a condition that veterinarians see quite often. It is not a rare ailment. They will be able to assess your pet in full and be able to figure out if they have arthritis, the type of arthritis, and the treatment plan that would be necessary for their health and well-being.
Types of Arthritis Found in Dogs
Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is found in dogs and is one of the most common types that canines have. It is a degenerative joint disease and is a permanent and progressive form of arthritis. It causes the slow and chronic deterioration of the cartilage that surrounds the joints in the body. There is no known cause for osteoarthritis in dogs. Although, there are secondary reasons for a dog developing degenerative joint disease. Injuries, lots of wear and tear on the joints of the body, or a genetic abnormality.
Septic Arthritis. Septic arthritis is derived from fungal or bacterial infections. Septic arthritis in dogs usually only affects one joint. It causes inflammation of the joints and introduces the infectious bacteria into the fluids in the joint. It usually occurs in dogs that are male and are between the ages of four and seven. Also, it is more common in the breeds of Labradors, Dobermans, and German Shepherds. Dogs that have diabetes or immune issues are at a greater risk of developing this type of arthritis.
IMPA (Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis). This kind of arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking itself. This means that the white blood cells of the immune system attack the joints within the body., causing these joints to become inflamed and swollen.
There are also several other forms of arthritis which may be diagnosed in dogs. These are the most common ones. More rare cases are often diagnosed through a veterinarian and often comes after several tests that they deem appropriate.
How Do Dogs Get Arthritis?
Dogs can get arthritis in much the same way that humans do. It can happen as a result of old age and the general wear and tear that happens with time. Arthritis in dogs also happens as a result of some injuries and traumas that they have had. Other types of arthritis in dogs can occur from birth defects. For example, dogs that have hip dysplasia are prone to developing arthritis. Larger breed dogs are often at a higher risk of having hip dysplasia. Dogs that are born with this disorder will need to be monitored for symptoms of arthritis and also to watch for any issues that arise from their hip dysplasia.
Usually, there is no way to know whether or not a dog will get arthritis. It will happen as a result of age, an injury, or a birth defect. Sometimes, it can happen as a result of another health condition. Knowing what the symptoms of arthritis are can really help you figure out whether or not your dog may have it.
Symptoms of Canine Arthritis
The symptoms of canine arthritis can vary. For example, dogs with arthritis in its early stages may not have any apparent symptoms. It may take some time and for it to get more severe for any symptoms to become obvious that something is wrong.
Symptoms of Canine Arthritis Are:
- Abnormal gait
- Difficulty getting up from lying down
- Difficulty going up and down steps or stairs
- Licking joints
- Stiffness in the legs
- Irritable moods
- Pain when touching parts of the body
If your dog is displaying several or all of these symptoms, it may be that they have canine arthritis.
How Do I Get My Dog Diagnosed with Arthritis?
The most definitive way to get a dog diagnosed with arthritis is to get them to a veterinarian. A veterinarian will want to give a thorough examination. They will probably do a visual examination and check the muscles and movements of the canine. Afterward, a vet will likely want to give the canine an x-ray to see the joints for a definitive diagnosis. Sometimes, they will want to extract and test joint fluid to see if there is an infection that could have caused the inflammation or if there could be an immune system problem that is causing it. The veterinarian will be very thorough and only give a diagnosis if they are confident.
The veterinarian will likely ask for a very thorough medical history of your pet. If you are going to your regular vet, they will be able to access the medical history that they already have on file. It will be important to give them all of the signs and symptoms of arthritis that you have noticed as well as any other irregular things that you may have noticed. Writing down everything in advance of the appointment is a smart tip for pet parents that want to ensure that they cover everything.
How to Help Dogs with Arthritis At Home
Coming home and taking care of a dog with arthritis can be a lot of work. Pet parents that have never dealt with arthritis often aren't sure what to do to make their dogs feel comfortable and in as little pain as possible. This is completely understandable and very normal. After all, dealing with something new is often a learning process. There are some things that we can recommend here to help you get ready to bring your dog home and ensure that they are well taken care of and as comfortable as they can be when dealing with this painful condition.
A well-padded bed is great for dogs with arthritis. There are specialty beds for dogs with arthritis and it is smart to look into those for your pet. Put them in an area that isn't cold as cold can irritate their joints and make them experience discomfort. Adding steps and ramps to areas where they have to step up and down will be very helpful for dogs with arthritis. These can be found in pet stores and online. Also, handy pet parents that know how to build things themselves may be able to customize them and build them in their workshop.
Massage therapy on your dog's joints can help them feel much better. Massages can be done at home on their joints. You can learn how to do this from the guidance of a dog massage therapist. Canine massage therapists can be found in many cities and towns and are more popular than imagined. If you can afford to, a canine massage from a canine massage therapist is a good treatment option for canines with arthritis and give them fast relief. If you want to do it at home, you certainly can. You can gently massage their joints and it can help get the blood flowing and even relieve some of the inflammation in the body. Using warm compresses on their joints can also be very helpful. Warm compresses can be wrapped around the joints for a period of time and released so that the inflammation can go down in the joints that are affected by this degenerative joint disease.
Dogs that have arthritis can benefit from having special harnesses that help them stand up to go outside for a walk. These harnesses are used with a leash and allow the owner to help pull them up from sitting to standing. It can also assist them when they are going outdoors and have to go to the bathroom. Owners that have dogs with severe arthritis may want to consider a special harness with a leash if their dog is having big problems getting up from a nap. It allows for a gentle pick-up and gives the dog some relief from having to stand up their entire weight on their own.
Natural Alternatives For Dogs With Arthritis
There are natural alternatives for pet parents that want to treat their dogs with arthritis. You don't have to resort to only giving them prescription medications that have the chance of damaging their health with long-term use.
One of the best natural alternatives for dogs with arthritis is a diet that consists of anti-inflammatory foods. A good option is to buy high-quality dog food with plenty of vitamins and minerals and adding certain spices that promote anti-inflammation. Spices like ginger, cloves, paprika, and turmeric are excellent for anti-inflammation. They have been used for hundreds of years for their anti-inflammatory properties. You can add them to their food and even onto their treats. Some pet parents even cook organic dog food and add these spices to their recipe. There are many excellent websites that show how to make organic and natural dog foods that consist of these anti-inflammatory spices.
Supplements with chondroitin and glucosamine are great for dogs with arthritis. These supplements contain amino acids, the building blocks of protein, that occurs naturally within the body. This means it is a natural supplement that can assist in helping the inflammation that occurs with arthritis by means of the body using these amino acids to both protect and help rebuild the damaged joint cartilage. There are treats that contain glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs that they can take easily. Glucosamine can help with preventing any further damage to the joints that are deteriorating slowly with arthritis because it has ability to create new cartilage. Chondroitin is helpful in improving the elasticity of joints and can make it easier to handle movement. It can also prevent the further breakdown of cartilage through preservation.
Also, anything that contains omega-3 fatty acids are good for dogs with arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are important within the body and are considered essential fatty acids for the body. These essential fatty acids can help with lowering inflammation. Fish that are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be given to dogs as a way to supplement their diet with anti-inflammatory properties. There are even dog food companies that sell foods and treats with essential fatty acids as part of their ingredients for pet parents that want something easy and convenient to give their pet with canine arthritis.
Can CBD Be a Natural Alternative For Dog Arthritis?The answer is YES, CBD can be a natural alternative for dog arthritis. CBD is derived from organic hemp extract and is free of any THC. THC is what is in the marijuana plant and is what causes people that consume it to get a “high”. CBD does not contain THC and allows for pets to take a supplement without any type of high that a pet parent has to worry about. It is very important for pet parents to know that they don't have to be concerned that their furry friend will be experiencing any type of high. There are only natural healing benefits to be enjoyed by dogs with arthritis.
There is now CBD Oil For Dogs that is specially formulated for dogs to be given. It is an all-natural and organic oil that is derived from the hemp plant. This special formulation makes it easier to give your dog the correct dose and without much muss and fuss. Pet parents can add it to their dog's food or their favorite treat for added convenience. It can be given right away and pet parents that have a dog with arthritis may start to notice that their precious pooch is suddenly moving better and having less stiffness. The benefits can be seen as soon as a couple of weeks in some dogs. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have been proven in scientific studies and have no side effects that pet parents have to worry about. It is completely safe, natural, and side-effect free. CBD is truly a natural alternative for dogs with arthritis and can help with joint pain and stiffness associated with this disease. It can also be used for a variety of other health issues that affect pets.
CBD works by working naturally with the endocannabinoids that are in the body. The body comes with endocannibinoids all on its own. Therefore, CBD is only working with something that is already present in the body. The endocannabinoid system of the body works with the metabolism and with the neurological system. It can help repair processes metabolically and neurologically and give some relief from health ailments like arthritis. It even works with the receptors in the body that control pain and give some pain relief from ailments. Just as in humans, dogs can benefit from CBD. There are now medical studies coming out that have shown improvements in health conditions like cancer, epilepsy, arthritis, anxiety, motion sickness, and much more. These studies have been coming out more and more in recent years as more people are searching for natural alternatives for their ailments. Pet parents don't have to only rely on prescriptions and chemicals to treat their dogs that have medical conditions.
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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