When your older dog starts showing signs of arthritis, it's important to take measures to make him more comfortable. Thankfully, there are a number of safe and effective ways to ease the pain and stiffness in your dog's joints so that he can maintain a good quality of life and keep enjoying favorite activities.
Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser therapy is a rather new treatment that shows great promise in treating dogs with arthritis. The treatment is administered in a vet's office and is completely painless. Basically, a beam of light at a specific frequency is aimed at your dog's sore joint. The frequency of the light stimulates the tissue, helping to alleviate swelling. The laser also stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving hormones. There are no known side effects, and the laser will not burn your dog's skin.
Most dogs greatly enjoy undergoing cold laser therapy and find the treatment very relaxing. The process takes between 3 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the area being treated. Most dogs need to start with about two to three sessions of cold therapy each week, but eventually they'll only need treatment about once every 2 weeks.
You can make your dog more comfortable at home by providing a heating pad for him to lie on. The heat will stimulate circulation to the sore joints, helping to alleviate soreness and swelling. Plug the heating pad in and turn it to the lowest setting. Lay a thin blanket over it, and then encourage your dog to lie down on top of it. Soon, he will figure out how good the heat feels and will go lie on the pad whenever he needs a little pain relief. Just make sure you unplug the pad before you leave the house so it does not present a fire hazard.
Mild arthritis can often be managed without pain relievers, but if your dog's arthritis is severe enough to limit his activity, your vet will likely recommend a pain reliever be used. NSAIDs are the typical class of pain reliever used for arthritis pain because they alleviate both inflammation and pain. Common NSAIDs your vet may recommend include aspirin and firocoxib. Do not give your dog an NSAID without checking with your vet first. Dosing must be very specific to avoid unwanted side effects like liver damage and upset stomach. Different dogs react differently to various medications, so you and your vet may have to try several drugs before you find one that effectively manages your dog's pain without side effects.
For more information, contact a company like Providence Veterinary Hospital Inc.