How to Help an Arthritic Dog
- Slim down If your dog is overweight, commit to helping her slim down. Extra weight places extra strain on joints, worsening the pain of arthritis. Feeling guilty because your dog is looking longingly at her food bowl? Mix a little pumpkin (unsweetened, not canned) into her dinner; it’s healthy, low cal, and will help her feel full. We like both Fruitables' and Merrick's natural canned pumpkin for dogs.
- Gentle exercise Your dog absolutely still needs regular exercise—it is a must—to keep her moving and from stiffening up, just make sure it’s controlled, gentle, low impact, and short in duration. Try a dog treadmill, which allows for a slow walk at your dog’s desired pace.
- Ramps & pet steps Help your arthritic dog get up steps, on to a bed, or in and out of cars with a ramp or pet steps.
- Improved traction Arthritic dogs are less steady on their feet. Offer them stability with secure rugs for traction.
- Canine massage Massage eases sore muscles, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress for both the giver and receiver. Plus, it’s a great for bonding and a wonderful way to check in with your older dog, enabling you to note any new lumps, bumps or sore places. For a canine massage how-to illustrating four techniques to help your dog rest, relax, and rejuvenate, go to .
- Acupuncture Yes, acupuncture. It’s not just for people. Veterinary acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s own pain relieving and anti-inflammatory substances.
- Sweet heat Heating pads relieve aches. For a low-tech solution make your own DIY warmer in a jiffy; here’s how: fill a cotton tube sock or knee length sock with four cups of rice or whole corn (not popping corn!), then knot the end or tie it off with string or stitch it closed. Microwave it for a minute, and voilá, you’ve made your dog a heating pad! Or go high-tech for testimonial-backed results that go beyond soothing aches and pains. Canine Light Therapy pads use specific wavelengths of light for therapeutic and healing benefits including pain relief, muscle relaxation, stimulating acupuncture points, releasing trigger points, and healing injuries.
- A comfy, supportive bed Give your dog a comfortable, supportive bed to ease his weary bones. A well-padded resting spot goes a long way. Heated beds like those available through can also ease aches and pains.