As dogs age, they experience some of the same discomforts that people might have when they get older. A common ailment is joint pain. Some dogs may get arthritis, while others may simple feel stiff and sore, not moving as quickly as they used to. You can help your dog have better joint mobility and reduced pain by trying a number different therapries and treatments.
Here are some ideas you can discuss with your veterinarian.
Human seniors find relief by attending active classes in the public pool, and dogs can find similar relief. Hydrotherapy for dogs involves exercising a dog's muscles in warm water. The heat helps to loosen joints and muscles, and the water takes the weight off the joint. Dogs who suffer from hip dysplasia or who have other chronic joint conditions may especially benefit from hydrotherapy.
The exercise can also help your dog maintain strong muscles and joints. A lack of activity because of pain can actually lead to worse pain in the future. Working in water provides the activity that prevents deterioration of muscle and skeletal health.
Acupuncture is a long-standing human treatment for pain and discomfort. Dog acupuncturists use similar techniques to help animals with pain relief. Arthritis can especially benefit from this treatment, since needles are inserted directly into trouble nerve spots, blocking pain receptors and allowing your dog to experience an increase in relaxation. Other conditions may also improve with acupuncture, including thyroid problems and nerve disorders that might cause twitching or seizures.
Massage benefits are too numerous to list. For dogs with joint pain, gentle massage provides increased blood flow to trouble spots. Some joint pain can be cause by muscle tightness and stiffness, which pulls on the ligaments around a joint. Massage loosens these muscles. Your dog may need several sessions to really reap the benefits that comes from massage.
Finally, you should speak with your vet about using supplements to help your dog. Sometimes, joint health can be improved with increased fatty acids, a different diet, or herbs and vitamins. If your haven't already, switch your dog food to a formula that is designed for elderly dogs. These formulas are less calorie dense, which helps to prevent old-age obesity. Extra weight only adds to the stress on joints, so a better feeding regimen can be a good first step toward healthier joints.
For more information, speak with services such as Downing Center For Animal Pain Management.