Also known as degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis, arthritis is a condition that weakens the joints and muscles. With all the running around and playing that dogs do in their lifetimes, it is no surprise that they are prone to arthritis. Similar to humans, dogs do not tend to develop arthritis or inflammation of any kind until they are older. But age and hyperactivity are not the only causes of arthritis for human’s best companion.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. First Things First: What is Arthritis?
2. How To Prevent Arthritis in Dogs
3. When Do Dogs Develop Arthritis?
4. Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
5. The Many Types of Treatment for Arthritis
6. Traditional Approach to Managing Pain Caused by Inflammation
7. Alternative Methods of Treating Arthritis
8. Side Effects of Medication Prescribed for Canine Arthritis
9. Side Effects of Natural Arthritis Remedies for Dogs
10. CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis
While there is an abundance of scenarios that can ultimately lead to arthritis, the most important thing is that you seek treatment for your dog as soon as possible. Without a professional and thorough approach to arthritis in dogs, the symptoms can worsen exponentially in a short amount of time. That is the last thing you want for your canine friend.
When it comes to arthritis, the disease is not unique to dogs. The treatment is not so different for dogs compared to treatment for people and other animals either. There is a wealth of information on the topic of treatment for arthritis in canines. From medications prescribed by veterinarians, to natural remedies and alternatives, there are multiple ways of lowering overall inflammation and reducing pain levels for dogs.
You may be wondering about what your options are and how to choose one method when there are so many. We will walk you through what arthritis is and how to spot symptoms in your dog. From there, we will dive into treatment options for arthritis and advise you on which approach is best for treating arthritis in dogs.
First Things First: What is Arthritis?
As briefly mentioned above, arthritis is a disease that many living creatures develop as they age. More specifically, arthritis involves the joints, bones, and cartilage of dogs. The condition is most common among the elderly because it is a direct result of the natural progression of an aging body.
According to the American Kennel Association, arthritis is the outcome of cartilage breaking down and joints not having anything acting as a cushion between them. Without cartilage, joints would rub against each other in a way that is excruciatingly painful, and in the case of arthritis, they do. In scientific terms, there is a debilitating level of friction involved. Two joints pushing against each other with considerable force is not comfortable in the slightest.
After awhile, the overall mobility of dogs is significantly decreased, seeing as the joints become inflamed over time. The inflammation is actively painful at all times, even more so with certain movements that call upon use of the limbs associated with the damaged joints. If you notice that your dog is starting to favor one side of their body over the other, or prefers to lie down and sit rather than walk or run, you may be looking at a strong indication of the presence of arthritis.
Another interesting yet heartbreaking reality of arthritis in dogs is that something called a bone spur can also result from this breakdown of cartilage between your dog’s joints. In simple terms, a bone spur is essentially a little growth that stems from the end of a pre-existing bone.
Not only does arthritis arise after cartilage is broken down and joints begin to erode in places cartilage is meant to cover, but arthritis is exacerbated by the additional malady of bone spurs. Bone spurs are very detrimental, especially because they do not go away once they appear.
These spurs are made up of bone as well, though they grow in places where they are not needed. Your dog’s body has good intentions in mind where bone spurs are concerned. Bone spurs are evidence that the body is trying to repair the bone that is damaged and inflamed, though the attempt to heal the injury basically backfires and becomes a bone spur instead.
Arthritis usually presents itself in the knees and the wrists of dogs. Other common places where inflammation arises include the hips, spines, necks, and elbows of canines. Though these are the parts of the body that arthritis is most often found, arthritis can appear anywhere joints and connective tissue are located.
How To Prevent Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis is an unpredictable situation that your dog may or may not come in contact with, which makes it hard to prevent arthritis. Some dogs are more prone to developing arthritis as they age than others. It all depends on a combination of lifestyle and genetics.
It is possible for dogs that play rough and hard most of the time to injure themselves in the process, therefore exposing their skeletal frame to damage early on in life. Irregular joint development, or issues with bone growth as a puppy, can cause higher propensities for dogs to be diagnosed with arthritis later on in life.
Along with a genetic predisposition for arthritis, dogs do face risk factors that can heighten the chances they’ll deal with arthritis when they are older. However, you cannot ensure that your dog will never have to endure the symptoms of arthritis, but there are measures you can take to reduce the risks.
One of the risk factors that lead to arthritis is obesity. The correlation between being overweight and developing arthritis is due to the way excess fat weighs more heavily on the bones of dogs. Their joints have to sustain more weight with every step, which means their joints and bones weaken more quickly, and therefore have a greater chance of breaking down the connective tissue between joints.
Staying on top of your dog’s diet is important. Intentionally taking your fluffy furry friend for multiple walks per day will help, too. Making sure your dog is within a healthy weight for his or her age, weight, and breed is the best measure to take when trying to reduce the risk of arthritis for your canine.
Aside from nutrition and exercise, paying attention to your dog’s movements from time to time will help you spot any early symptoms of arthritis. If you are worried that your dog is exhibiting signs of arthritis, reach out to your vet immediately. As with all diseases, it is better to treat the symptoms of arthritis sooner than later.
When Do Dogs Develop Arthritis?
Research conducted by Banfield Hospital in 2014 found that roughly 16% of geriatric dogs had arthritis. According to the same studies, it appears that the size of dogs also contributes to the prevalence and chances of being diagnosed with arthritis in their elderly years. In comparison to smaller breeds, approximately 30% of geriatric dogs with larger statutes and taller frames.
Geriatrics refers to the treatment and care of elderly pets. Size plays a role in determining whether or not a dog is geriatric. A large dog is considered geriatric when he or she is around six years of age. Since smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger ones, their entry into geriatrics happens at around seven or eight years of age. It is very rare, if not impossible, for dogs below the age of five to develop arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
There is an incredibly lengthy laundry list of the symptoms that arthritis causes for dogs.
In no particular order, here are a few of the many physical symptoms of canine arthritis:
- Timidness when being pet
- Reluctance to go for walks, to run, or to play
- Tendency to lie down and sleep rather than be active
- Slow to stand up and lie down
- Inexplicable irritability
- Obvious disinterest in activity
- Howling or other expressions of pain
- A slower pace when moving around
- Seems depressed or anxious
- More likely to bite or snap
- Withdraws when around people
- Disinterest in most activities
- Unusual gait when walking or running
- Inability to jump or move like he or she once could
- Leaning more to one side
- Favoring their right legs over their left, or vice versa
- Noticeable weight gain in a short amount of time
- Lower agility than normal
- Reduced interest in favorite games or toys
- Lower energy levels or endurance
- Less mental acuity
The Many Types of Treatment for Arthritis
As a general practice, dog owners are often encouraged by their vet to implement an anti-inflammatory medication into their pet’s diet. Contrary to what the name suggests, anti-inflammatories do not protect against inflammation. The purpose behind anti-inflammatories is to help dogs handle the pain associated with arthritis once it has begun.
Without looking into other options for the treatment of arthritis, pet owners might end up blindly agreeing to the first suggestion their pet provides them. While you should not doubt your veterinarian or question everything they tell you, we encourage you to look into other methods of treating the symptoms of canine arthritis.
Traditional Approach to Managing Pain Caused by Inflammation
Many veterinarians will recommend that your dog start taking a prescribed medication to reduce any pain or inflammation caused by arthritis. Of all the medicines used to treat the symptoms of arthritis, the most common brand names fall into the category of NSAIDs.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs, are specifically designed to lessen the effects of inflammation, especially the kind that flares up in cases involving arthritis. Essentially, they work by blocking the enzyme systems in your dog’s body from creating a type of lipid called prostaglandins. These fatty acids are responsible for the pain felt in response to inflammation. NSAIDs inhibit the production of prostaglandins so that your dog no longer feels pain, even though the inflammation is still present.
Alternative Methods of Treating Arthritis
Dogs and people are alike in many ways, one of which is the ability to develop arthritis as they grow older. While NSAIDs have been around for quite some time, the modern-day approach to treating arthritis symptoms is quickly evolving into a natural method. In recent years, there has been an increase in research on the healing capabilities and medicinal benefits of CBD oil.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is derived from both cannabis and hemp plants. Depending on the plant it is extracted from, CBD oils either have very low levels of THC or none at all. CBD oils that contain trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids are referred to as full-spectrum CBD, whereas pure CBD oils are considered CBD isolates.
Many dog owners hesitate when they hear the term CBD oil. This fear stems from the stigma surrounding anything having to do with marijuana. But this is where people are often misinformed, and at Innovet, we understand why. While it is possible for CBD to be extracted from a cannabis plant, it can also be derived from hemp plants.
CBD that comes from hemp plants is completely pure, whereas cannabis-derived CBD oils for dogs might have small levels of THC in them. However, no matter what, CBD is never psychoactive, meaning your dog cannot get high from CBD oil.
Prescription Medication or CBD Oil for Dogs Arthritis: Which is Better?
When it comes to treating your pet’s symptoms, the route you take is entirely your decision. With your knowledge and the best interest of your pet in mind, we are sure you’ll make a well-informed choice on the matter.
But in case you’re still looking for guidance on how to treat your dog for arthritis, we thought we would compile a side-by-side comparison of prescription medications versus CBD for dogs with arthritis.
Side Effects of Medication Prescribed for Canine Arthritis
Nearly every NSAID brand boasts about the benefits of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. However, very few companies, if any, mention the downsides to administering NSAIDs to your canine for his or her arthritis pain.
While it is true that NSAIDs work to fight the symptoms of arthritis, they simultaneously thin the blood of your dog. If your dog were to need any other medical attention that was invasive, they could suffer unnecessarily. Blood thinners make it nearly impossible for blood to clot, so even a seemingly minor cut could become a very big concern for a dog taking an NSAID.
Examples of popular NSAIDs include…
Veterinarians mean no intentional harm when they prescribe lab-made medication to their canine patients. At the same time, a lot of research backs the claim that NSAIDs are not the safest way of treating arthritis symptoms in dogs. According to the Food and Drug Administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, veterinary NSAIDs pose.
The following risks to dogs being treated for arthritis symptoms:
- Loss of usual appetite
- Slow sluggish behavior
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
- Toxic imbalance in the kidneys
- Decreased liver functioning
- Jaundicing as a result of the above
- Bleeding of the intestines
- Deterioration and bleeding of stomach lining
Further adverse side effects of NSAIDs for dogs include…
- Irregular coloring or blood in the stools
- Multiple seizures
- Sudden weight loss
- Irritation to the skin
- Change in temperament, typically becoming angrier and more aggressive
- Lack of overall motor coordination
- Moderate to unbearable abdominal pain
- Excessive dehydration
- Reactivity with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
- Dehydration, which leads to excessive thirst
- Unusual scent and change in color of urine
- Increase or decrease in bathroom usage
As you can see, there are many unpleasant side effects of medications prescribed for dogs with arthritis. So what do you do when you want to help your dog feel relief from his or her inflammation without adding other sources of pain in its place? Well, we have the solution for you. Continue reading to learn about a way to minimize symptoms of arthritis without creating additional problems in the process.
Side Effects of Natural Arthritis Remedies for Dogs
Earlier, we mentioned CBD oils as a resolve for symptoms of arthritis, whether your dog’s diagnosis be degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, or anything else in between. Now that we have run through a very lengthy list of the side effects of prescription medications, you are probably wondering about the negative implications of cannabis oil for dogs with arthritis.
Would you believe us if we told you there are not any detrimental side effects of your dog taking CBD oil for inflammation? It sounds too good to be true, but thankfully, it is true!
CBD oils that are used to treat inflammation in canines are…
- Completely natural
- Void of toxins
- Free from preservatives
Not only is CBD oil for canines a natural cure for symptoms of arthritis by reducing pain levels, but it also helps your dog feel good. CBD oils are used in numerous situations where discomfort is involved. Due to the soothing and calming effects of CBD oils, dogs with arthritis are relieved from the misery their symptoms caused to the point of feeling well again.
NSAIDs, for example, can make dogs feel drowsy or a bit loopy in exchange for taking away their pain. However, while CBD oils may induce some sleepiness in your dog, the naturally-derived medication does not cause the brain fog that many medications create.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis
Your pets are sure to feel like themselves again in a short while. Not only will your dog no longer struggle with the severity of arthritis symptoms, but you will see improvement in the demeanor and mood of your beloved pet. What could be better? Cannabis for dogs is a great alternative to NSAIDs and other medications for pain relief. CBD oils are the most natural form of pain relief in existence. If your pet is experiencing inflammation, turn to the CBD oil experts at Innovet and try CBD for arthritis!