Your dog suffers from chronic pain, and it is a drag!
Maybe your dog suffers from arthritis, or hip dysplasia, or maybe she suffers from the lingering effects of an old injury. Whatever the case, your dog deserves the best and here are three ideas on how you can help her.
1. Get Her Outside
A common misconception about senior dogs and other dogs suffering from chronic pain is that they don’t want to go outside and play, or shouldn’t go outside and play. I am here to tell you that your dog does want to get outside and should go outside, but you might have to modify how her outside play time works.
First of all, exercise is great for helping control your dog’s weight. A common problem among dogs with chronic pain is that because their pain reduces what they can do, their owners eliminate walks and play time all together. This is not a good strategy. Obviously cutting out all exercise for your dog will lead her to gain weight. If your dog with arthritis or elbow dysplasia gains weight, her disease gets worse. Why? Well now her arthritic joints have to bear even more weight than they are supposed to. More weight on your dog’s joints means more pain for your dog. On top of that, those joints are now being used more, speeding up the worsening of their condition.
Now, if you exercise your dog at a level appropriate for her, then that she is kept at a healthy weight. Keep in mind that while you don’t want to over do her exercise, there is evidence to suggest that mild exercise, despite the pressure it puts on her joints, can actually help increase blood flow to the joints and help those joints stay healthier for longer.
Another great part about exercising your dog is that it is great for her mentally and emotionally. Dogs who regularly get to go outside and play or go on walks, no matter how short that playtime or walk time is, are happier than dogs who don’t get this kind of stimulation. A happy dog is a healthy dog.
2. Keep Her Warm
Now, for those of you who live in cold environments, this point is for you. I want you to think about the last time you went camping or slept in the cold. How did your joints feel in the morning? How about your muscles? You were tight and sore right? Well the same is true for your dog. If your dog sleeps in the cold, her arthritic pain is going to be worse than it needs to be. Another thing to keep in mind is that as your dog ages, her fur and skin will become thinner, making it harder for her to regulate her temperature. If you have a senior dog affected by arthritis you should be doing everything you can to keep her warm!
Now a great way to keep your dog warm is to have her sleep inside. The back yard and the garage might have been okay for her before she developed hip dysplasia, but now she needs to spend her nights and days where it is warm. Keep in mind though that it may not be enough to simply bring your dog inside to keep her warm. She may need an extra boost of heat. A great way to give her this extra heat is to get her a heating pad for her bed.