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Dog Arthrosis > Prevention

Prevention

DO's and DONT's

DO get your dog to follow a weight control and adapted nutrition program.
Joint problems are aggravated by excess weight. If a joint is not working efficiently, carrying excess weight causes both additional pain and increased damage to the joint. Therefore, it is important that your dog maintains his or her ideal weight. You should refrain from over-feeding young dogs and should avoid over-supplementation with calcium and protein. Feed your dog with smaller portions of less-fattening food and cut out "extras" is the best way to control dietary intake and bodyweight. Your vet will be able to advise you on the most suitable diet for your dog's needs.

DO try hydrotherapy to relieve your dog's osteoarthritic pain if recommended by your vet.
Hydrotherapy is an increasingly popular complementary therapy for dogs with osteoarthritis. Hydrotherapy involves purpose built pools that allow safe, controlled swimming for your dog. Swimming helps build muscle mass which will support the joint. It is a "low impact" exercise which won’t aggravate joint pain.

DO seek advice from your vet about treatment for your dog.
Untreated pain can further increase sensitivity – producing cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and renal effects, as well as weight loss, aggressiveness and self-mutilation. Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and stiffness, thus improving quality of life. As in humans, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents are now commonly used to achieve this, as they reduce the formation of substances in the body which give rise to both pain and inflammation. Early intervention is important to reduce the likelihood of more severe pain developing.

DON'T stop your dog from exercising.
Moderate, monitored physical activity can help control clinical signs in dogs with osteoarthritis, by helping to:

  • Prevent obesity and maintain muscle mass
  • Improve strength and range of motion
  • Reduce the need for pain relief

 

Regular, gentle exercise helps maintain mobility, as joints that do not have regular movement may stiffen up, encouraging your dog to become less and less active. Exercise may take the form of walks on the lead or more extensive types of recreation. Frequent gentle walks are of more benefit than highly energetic activities. Your vet will be able to help you create an exercise plan which meets your dog’s needs.

DON'T stop anti-inflammatory treatment as soon as you can see a slight improvement in your dog’s mobility. Continuing the treatment for longer will have two main benefits. As osteoarthritis is a continuous degenerative process, continued treatment will help to prevent relapses. The newest treatments may also allow your dog to benefit from a greater improvement when used long term. Make sure you comply with the duration of treatment recommended by your vet.