There are many ways to manage arthritis, but three rules apply all approaches.
- The owner of the dog must identify the signs of discomfort their dog expresses. These are unique to that dog and that owner and are often subtle, such as short-lived enthusiasm when exercised, scuffing of nails or pads when walking, moving with an arch in their back, difficulty getting up and laying down, or toileting on the move. Using these specific signs, the owner can decide whether their chosen management plan for their dog is working, or whether other options should be tried or added. Noting your dog’s specific signs can be very useful when monitoring change.
- The owner must understand arthritis is not curable but progressive. All treatment options are aimed at managing the problem, not fixing it. The disease will progress, although hopefully slower. The level of management and the types of treatment needed will change with time and the owner must respond to these changes.
- Finally, the best way to offer your dog a pain-free life for as long as possible, is to use several different treatment options together. It is unlikely that one option on its own will be enough.