The Best Exercises For Dogs With Arthritis

Sparky Steps - The Best Exercises For Dogs With Arthritis

The Best Exercises For Dogs With Arthritis

"Time waits for no man"...nor dog.

Whether we age gracefully or otherwise...we age. You might notice a twinge in your knees or an ache in your shoulders as you grow older. Like us, dogs too feel the onset of age. Arthritis is common in many breeds as they grow older, and if you have a dog over the age of ten it's best to keep an eye out for any signs. If you notice your senior dog is getting up more slowly or taking stairs more gingerly, chances are they are starting to develop or are already in the throes of this degenerative condition. Now more than ever exercise becomes important. Idleness will only make things worse. Getting your dog to move will help to prevent joint stiffness and keep muscles strong. You won't cure those aching joints, but you can make them feel better by getting them on the move. But what exercises are best? How often and how much? How to get started? Well, just sit and stay and let's take a look at what kinds of things you can do to keep your older dog limber, loose and happy.

 

Get on the Move to Fight Arthritis

Buster has always enjoyed his walks with you--can he still do so if he has arthritis? The good news is, yes, you can still take him on walks, but you'll have to dial it back a bit. Avoid steep hills and long walks (so if hitting the hiking trails was once a thing...it likely won't be possible any longer). Know when enough is enough. If you notice him slowing up or hesitating to go on, excessive panting or other signs of overexertion, then it's time to beat feet--and paws--back home. Can older dogs with arthritic joints still enjoy play time? If they're so inclined, yes they can. Of course they won't play fetch or tug-of-war for hours like they did in their puppy years, but these are activities that will still stimulate their muscles and keep them moving. Just don't throw the ball or stick as far nor be as aggressive as you once were when playing with that rope toy--gentle tugging is best--but even a few minutes once or twice a day can go a long way to keeping enough activity in your dog's life to hold the full effects of arthritis at bay for as long as possible. As with people, swimming is an excellent activity for dogs with arthritis. If your dog takes to the water, by all means encourage it and schedule time every day if possible--15-30 minutes is great--to get them engaged in a pool. The motion of swimming lets them use the muscles they would activate when walking, but with no stress on those painful joints. While all of these are helpful suggestions, they all depend on the ability of your particular dog. It's best to have a veterinarian give your pet a thorough exam before you start him/her on an exercise regimen of any kind. Ongoing examinations are also a good idea to ensure that your dog's arthritis is not worsening, which would likely require that you adjust whatever exercise(s) you've adopted. Putting your dog on anti-inflammatory medications might be necessary, to help with both the pain of arthritis as well as any soreness from exercise. You might also consider natural supplements that can help arthritic dogs. It's best to discuss these kinds of supplements with your vet.

 

Written by Harrison Howe

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