Any extra weight your dog is carrying will put extra strain on your dog's joints so keeping their weight down is helpful. If your dog is overweight ask your vet for help in planning a weight reduction programme, this may involve using a calorie controlled diet.
Maintaining your dog’s mobility and thereby allowing moderate exercise will help to reduce their weight, so providing pain relief through the use of anti-inflammatories such as Metacam is very important.
Regular, gentle exercise is a real help to prevent the joints from stiffening up and maintains mobility so your dog can remain active. Avoid repetitive energetic exercise that requires sudden changes in speed or direction, such as chasing a ball in the park, as this likely to cause further damage to already weakened joint cartilage.
Your vet can help you work out the most suitable exercise schedule for your particular dog.
If your dog does have painful arthritis your vet may recommend treatment with an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Metacam. NSAIDs, such as Metacam, are very effective at reducing the pain and stiffness that your dog may suffer from and will greatly improve their quality of life.
Hydrotherapy may be very useful in allowing non-weight bearing exercise. This means your dog can ‘burn up’ calories without putting further strain and therefore ‘wear and tear’ on your dog’s joints.
Swimming helps to build up muscle mass, which is useful for supporting joints. It is a low impact form of exercise so it won't aggravate your dog's joint pain.
Hydrotherapy is becoming more common for exercising dogs with arthritis. This involves purpose built pools that allow safe, carefully controlled swimming. Your vet will know a centre where such a service is available.
Glucosamine HCL & Chondroitin supplements. - Your vet may suggest you use a joint supplement. Glucosamine hydrochloride and chondriotin have anecdotally been thought to improve joint function and help maintain cartilage integrity.
Veterinary licensed supplements containing glucosamine HCL and chondroitin, such as Seraquin, are available from your veterinary surgeon or an online supplier. Seraquin and other glucosamine supplements do not require a prescription.