What is the Best Dog Bed for Dogs with Arthritis?
Arthritis in dogs is a condition whereby the joints become stiff or inflamed and can no longer provide the much-needed range of motion to allow the dog to move efficiently and comfortably. This results to their inability to walk or run normally, which may be due to the presence of inflammation and pain. Such condition is brought about by a number of factors, both congenital and environmental.
For most dogs it is a result of the aging process where the cells and tissues of the joints are already starting to deteriorate. Sometimes, overweight or obese dogs are more prone to the development of canine arthritis because of the pressure exerted by the weight of their bodies on the joints. Certain inflammatory conditions can also restrict the movement of the joints further aggravating mobility. Arthritis is not only a disease of the older dog, however. Puppies that are born with joint malformations are also at an increased risk of developing arthritis.
Whatever the cause of the arthritis, it is very important that dog owners know how to properly care for their beloved pets especially in the choice of the most appropriate orthopedic dog bed. However, before you start shopping for the best dog bed for dogs with arthritis, it is important to learn about its symptoms and what you can do to help your dog get through the pain.
Dog Arthritis Symptoms
It is not quite easy to spot if your dog has arthritis or not. Unlike individuals with arthritis who can verbally express the pain that they experience, dogs do not have the luxury of verbal communication to express how they are feeling. What they do have, however, are behavioral signs or the use of body language to tell their owners that there is something wrong.
Since the body part that is affected in arthritis is the joints, you would expect your dog to show problems with mobility. This means that he may not be as active as he used to. He may want to stand up but is finding it increasingly difficult because of the pain and inflammation. You may also notice your dog exhibit overt lameness in his affected limb like he will be sticking it out for no obvious reason. Touching his limbs will elicit a yelp from your dog which should be taken as a serious sign of inflammation of the joints. You may also want to look at the way your dog walks and stands. Like humans with arthritis, their movement will become restricted and quite awkward. If you try to feel his muscles, you will observe loss of muscle tone because the limb has not been properly exercised. Movement is painful so there is no exercise to stimulate muscle tone. This results in flaccid muscles.
Dog Arthritis Pain Relief
Arthritis is a very painful experience. The resulting inability to move further adds to the frustration. This is particularly stressful for the dog. Pain and frustration can be a deadly combination since it can turn a formerly gentle and docile dog into a really aggressive one. This is why it is important to relieve the pain.
Warm compresses can help relieve the pain. Hot or warm compresses can help relieve stiff joints and soothe tired muscles. Hot water bags or heating pads can help loosen tight muscles and help increase the flexibility of the joints by allowing them to expand. This is where an orthopedic dog bed with heating pads are generally useful.
Aside from hot compresses, complementary therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic have all been recommended for the management of pain in dog arthritis. Chiropractic treatments will be especially useful for pain originating from the dog’s neck and back. Acupuncture works pretty much like chiropractic except that it has the advantage of being used in any part of the dog’s body. Other alternative forms of pain relief for canine arthritis include the use of low-level laser and giving the dog nutraceuticals primarily those containing chondroitin and glucosamine. Unfortunately, dog experts are divided on the full benefits of these two nutraceuticals in terms of pain management.
A very useful yet highly controversial arthritic pain relief method is the administration of Non-Steroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs. While these medications have been proven to be very effective in the management of arthritis pain, there is grave concern about its side effects particularly kidney and liver failure aside from its gastric effects. There have also been reports of deaths after administration of only 1 or 2 doses. Some veterinarians also recommend the use of antidepressants, gabapentin, corticosteroids, tramadol, and even opioids, especially for chronic pain. Unfortunately, the dangers of these drugs must be weighed carefully before any pain management efforts using pharmacologic agents can be initiated.
Dog Arthritis Treatment
Treating canine arthritis requires addressing the root cause of the problem. Because canine arthritis is generally a degenerative disorder, treatment must come in the form of nutritional support particularly the avoidance of food that can aggravate the condition. As much as possible grains, potatoes, tomatoes peppers, and eggplants should be avoided. Foods that are quite good for canine arthritis include sweet potatoes, ginger, celery, tropical fruits, apple cider vinegar, and cartilage. Unfortunately, this will require the dog owner to prepare the dog’s food at home.
If the arthritis is due to obesity, then treatment will be to gradually increase his physical activities. To help achieve this, it is often ideal to provide your dog with a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet to provide his body with the energy needed to complete his physical activities. Moderate and low-impact exercises are ideal for dogs with arthritis.
Including natural anti-inflammatories in the dog’s diet such as omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, bromelain, quercetin, SAM-e, MSM, Durulactin, and Wobenzyme can also help in the management of canine arthritis. Dl-phenylalanine can also be given to treat the chronic pain and the resulting depression. Physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and massage can also help the dog suffering from arthritis.
Why Heated Beds are Good for Dog Arthritis
When it comes to dog beds for those with arthritis, nothing comes close to the effectiveness of heated dog beds especially those that are designed as orthopedic dog beds. Heat soothes stiff, sore, and tensed muscles while at the same time increasing the spaces between the different structures of the joint. This increased space reduces the friction between the different surfaces leading to a reduction in inflammation as well as pressure against these structures. Heat also helps improve blood flow to the area so that the much-needed oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the tissues of the joint. Improved blood flow also facilitates the more efficient removal of metabolic waste products in the joints so that they don’t necessarily accumulate and further aggravate the arthritic condition.
Orthopedic dog beds also help in the management of dog arthritis. These types of beds maintain the perfect alignment of the dog’s spine relieving pressure by distributing the weight of the body equally across the surface of the dog bed. When combined with a heating pad, the orthopedic heated dog bed can do many wonders for your dog with arthritis.
If you have a dog suffering from arthritis, having him checked and thoroughly evaluated by your veterinarian is a must. Diet and supportive care is necessary. Giving your dog a heated orthopedic dog bed can help you better care for your beloved pet. The pain and discomfort of such health problem can somehow be lessened.