When a dog becomes old, mobility often becomes a problem. Eventually, the days of youthful running and jumping around will come to an end. Thanks to modern veterinary medicine, dogs can now live longer lives. However, as dogs get older, they are likely to suffer from canine arthritis.
Arthritis is one of the most common conditions among middle-aged to older dogs. Younger dogs also suffer from it in some cases. Arthritis causes many changes in the affected joints that can be very painful. The good news is that there are many ways to treat arthritis in dogs, and CBD oil may be one of them.
What Is Arthritis?
In simple terms, arthritis describes changes in the joints that are abnormal. What defines abnormal? First, let’s take a look at what normal means.
Normally, the bone surfaces inside your dog’s joints have a layer of smooth cartilage. A small amount of joint fluid lubricates the cartilages that allow two surfaces to touch each other with minimal friction.
When your dog suffers from arthritis, the cartilage undergoes a change or damage. As a result, the surfaces become rougher than usual. When the surfaces rub against each other, your dog will feel some discomfort. It also leads to more damage to the cartilage. Due to the increased friction, new bone starts to form around the joint that will make it stiffer. It also limits the movements of your dog.
Arthritis is a permanent disease that affects most domestic dogs. The condition is progressive and painful. The stiffness, lameness, pain, and soreness differ from one dog to another. It will be hard for an arthritic dog to get up in the morning or stand up after taking a nap.
The pain intensifies when the weather is damp and cold. The condition is irreversible, and most arthritic dog dogs feel more pain as time passes. There are cases in which the condition is debilitating.
How Does Arthritis Occur in Pets?
Arthritis can affect dogs of all types and sizes. Most commonly, it affects the dog’s shoulders, hips, or paws. Keep in mind that there is no gender or general breed predisposition for arthritis in dogs. However, breeds that are predisposed to dysplasia, elbow osteochondrosis, patellar luxation, and cranial cruciate ligament rupture have a higher risk of developing arthritis.
Dogs that are free roaming have a higher risk of traumatic injuries, which in turn increases the probability that they develop arthritis at the site of their injury. Dogs that are overweight, highly athletic and those used for work have the same risks of developing the condition.
The cartilage surfaces found in their joints start to become thinner as the dog ages. This leads to the death of the cartilage cells. When the cells die, they emit enzymes that cause inflammation in the joint area. This will also cause the joint to release more fluid.
When the cartilage becomes thinner, extra bony growths occur. Through time, the cartilage becomes too thin, and the space between joints becomes narrower. As a result, the bone underneath the cartilage is damaged.
The arthritic dog will experience a deterioration of the function of the joint. The condition brings in pain, inactivity, muscle atrophy, and lameness. A veterinarian can detect these changes through an X-ray.
What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
Arthritis has very clear symptoms. You can immediately notice the symptoms as your dog gets older. The dog will be less active or have difficulty doing things they like. One of the most clear cut signs of arthritis is a dog’s inability to stand up. Most owners will notice their arthritic dog struggling to get on its feet, which can be heartbreaking. Below are some of the most common symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
Limping – When you notice your dog limping, it can be a sign that one is suffering from arthritis. You may notice that your dog’s mobility becomes less and less refined. There are cases in which the limp looks worse when your dog is getting up, and it becomes less noticeable as it starts moving around. But just because it’s less noticeable doesn’t mean your dog isn’t suffering any pain. When your dog starts showing these signs, it may be time to seek treatment.
Becomes Inactive – Older dogs generally tend to become inactive. You might notice your dog show frequent signs of tiredness or sleepiness. Your dog might find it hard to get on top of its favorite chair or go up the stairs. Running can also be something your dog will not want to do because of the pain. There’s a good chance that it’s not because they are lazy, but because they are suffering from arthritis.
Irritability – Some arthritic dogs become irritable. The pain from the arthritis may cause them to act differently as they try to cope with the ailment. This means they might bite or snap when handled or approached. You should handle or pet your dog with care if you don’t want to aggravate the pain it is feeling.
Muscle Atrophy –Arthritic dogs develop muscle atrophy due to inactivity. This means when they become inactive, the use of their muscles also decrease. When the dog decreases the use of some of the muscles, muscle tissues die. Atrophied muscles in the leg will make it look thinner than the other legs. As a a result, the dog will not have full mobility.
Now that we’ve covered the symptoms, let’s take a look at the treatment options available for dogs with arthritis.
Treatment Options for Arthritis in Dogs
When your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, there are several available options to treat the ailment. There is a high chance your vet may recommend medications such as NSAIDs or steroids. There are also certain natural supplements available to help manage the symptoms. Below are some of the most popular methods of treatment for dogs with arthritis.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are one of the most common types of medications for inflammation and pain relief. You may recognize NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, as they are popular over the counter options for humans. It is very important, however, that you never give your dog any medications that are not specifically for dogs. This is because they are intended for humans, and can potentially be fatal to your dog. Instead, your vet may prescribe a dog-friendly NSAID such as Dermaxx, Etogesic, Galliprant, Metacam, or Rimadyl. Although they are formulated for dogs, however, these drugs may cause your pet to experience gastrointestinal discomfort, and, in some cases, kidney or liver failure.
Steroids are some of the most powerful drugs for treating inflammation related ailments. Although there are many types of steroidal drugs, there’s a good chance it may be a corticosteroid for dogs. This class of steroids includes drugs such as dexamethasone and prednisone, to name a few. While steroids are the strongest form of treatment available for inflammation, they can also be the most detrimental to your dog’s condition. This is because steroids, in the long term, can potentially cause further damage to the joints, along with other side effects. As such, they are not as commonly prescribed for dogs as other safer drugs.
In some cases, medications such as the ones mentioned above may not be sufficient in treating the symptoms of arthritis. The pain could be more intense in severe cases. As such, your vet may prescribe another, stronger, pain reliever for your dog. This could include drugs such as gabapentin or tramadol, the latter being an opiate. Opiates have well-known history of side effects and are also psychoactive. Using opiates can and will make your dog “high” or disoriented. While you should always consult with your vet regarding medications, it is also helpful to know about some of the more natural treatment options for dogs with arthritis.
Chondroitin is a naturally occurring substance in the connective tissues of humans and animals. More specifically, it is a component of cartilage that is found in the body. Dogs suffering from arthritis can benefit from the use of chondroitin. It has been found to stop the production of destructive enzymes in joint fluid. It may also help the body repair damaged cartilage, as well as restore joint integrity. Chondroitin is available in capsule form, or as a treat.
Glucosamine is another powerful supplement used for joint support. It is a naturally occurring substance produced by your dog’s body to help build cartilage in the joints. As your dog gets older, its body produces lower amounts of glucosamine. This results in weaker joints and problems related to damaged cartilage and joints. Taking glucosamine may improve the lubrication of your dog’s joints well. It may also make the cartilage more shock absorbent, resulting in increased mobility. As a supplement, it is produced by extracting the glucosamine molecules from shrimp, crab, and lobster shells. Be on the lookout for naturally sourced glucosamine, as it may be better absorbed by your dog’s body.
Turmeric is one of the most widely researched and highly effective anti-inflammatory supplements on the market. Several studies have confirmed the effectiveness of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory. It even outperformed some of the drugs and medications mentioned earlier. You can add turmeric to your dog’s food, at a serving of about 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of bodyweight. It can also be found in capsules or as supplementary treats for your dog.
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring substance produced by the hemp plant. It is gaining massive popularity due to its many potential health benefits. More specifically, it has been found to be highly effective in treating ailments such as anxiety, inflammation, and seizures. This is because of its interaction with the recently discovered endocannabinoid system in the body. Research shows that this system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or natural balance, within the body. This system also regulates the body’s inflammatory response. Since arthritis involves inflammation within the joints, maintaining a healthy endocannabinoid system can be beneficial in treating this ailment. How does this apply to dogs? Well, it turns out that dogs, cats, and other animals have and endocannabinoid system as well! Keep reading to see exactly how CBD works to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis in dogs.
CBD and Its Anti-Inflammatory Effects
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD play an important part in treating arthritis. CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t produce the high associated with marijuana use. Many veterinarians and pet owners are already using CBD oil for dogs with arthritis. It shows potent anti-arthritic therapeutic properties that assist in improving the condition of the dog and protect the joint.
CBD is a natural pain reliever. Cannabinoids help in controlling pain by inhibiting the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Using CBD oil also helps in suppressing chronic inflammation without inducing analgesic tolerance. CBD can help improve the quality of life of your arthritic dog.
Unlike prescription drugs, CBD oil doesn’t have any dangerous side effects. It doesn’t damage the liver, kidney, or the gastrointestinal tract. Your dog is not high or sedated as well. Using CBD oil for dogs’ arthritis is holistic approaches that will help your dog cope with the degenerative disease.
How to Treat Arthritis with CBD
While CBD oil also comes in topical format, using CBD oil for dogs’ arthritis is usually done orally. The best thing about CBD is that you can use it with traditional treatments and medications. Some studies showed there are synergistic benefits between traditional medications and CBD. That’s why it is relatively safe to use CBD oil while giving your dog traditional treatment for arthritis.
When using CBD oil for dogs’ arthritis, start with a small dosage first. Increase the dosage gradually until you notice a significant improvement in your pet’s condition. Most dog owners report that their arthritic dog starts to become more active again after several days of using CBD oil for dogs’ arthritis.
You can put a few drops of CBD oil into your dog’s mouth directly. However, there are times when this can be hard to do. If that is the case, drop the oil into your dog’s food. Better yet, buy treats that already contain CBD oil, such as the ones offered by HolistaPet CBD Dog Treats.
Keep in mind that CBD oil doesn’t work instantly. It will take a couple of hours before you notice any effects on your dog. If you are sure that the dog is not getting the benefits of CBD oil, increase the dosage the next day.
Using CBD oil for dogs arthritis will make your pet’s life more comfortable even when it is suffering from the degenerative disease. It can help ease away the pain and treat the inflammation of the joints. You’ll see your dog walking, if not running again in no time.
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