Comfort for our aging pets is important not only to us but the their well-being also. Keeping our senior dogs pain free is one way we can provide a better experience for our senior pets during their elderly years.
The first step to keeping senior pets pain free is recognizing when they are actually in pain and to gauge the degree of that pain, however this may be difficult since they cannot speak to us. We can however look for signs of pain and by judging the reaction to that pain determine how strong and deep the pain actually is.
Some signs of pain to look out for are, stiffness when attempting to rise, slow movements when going up and down stairs or off and on furniture, trembling when standing or sitting, sitting in an odd position and gait abnormality when walking. We may also see a lowered appetite and weight loss if the pain is extremely severe.
Once it is determined that your dog is showing signs of pain a visit to the veterinarian is the next step. Sometimes pain in joints and other areas mean arthritis caused from age, however it also can be a sign of an unseen injury. The veterinarian will determine the cause of pain and the method of treatment.
There are some great pain medications on the market to help our aging dogs be more comfortable and if arthritis is the diagnosis there are several medications that can be prescribed for your beloved dog.
The veterinarian may suggest over the counter supplements be given for joint swelling and pain to add to a medication regime of the aging dog suffering from arthritis.
Glucosamine – is found to help joints fluid and help stop degeneration of the joint
when arthritis is apparent. However, this treatment can take weeks to months for
it to be of any real benefit in making the joint less painful.
Omega 3 Fatty acids – are thought to reduce joint inflammation cause by arthritis.
Methylsulfonylmethane – an anti-inflammatory that helps slow the progression of
Perna – shown to be a source of glycosaminoglycans to lubricate the joints.
Creatine – is used to convert glucose into muscle energy and is thought to improve
muscle power and strength, which will help with keeping the pain of arthritis lower
for your aging dog.
Prescription medications may be provided along with these over the counter medications. The veterinarian will keep close watch on the dog under the care of the over the counter medications and if pain is bad enough he will prescribe something stronger for their arthritis pain.
Medications such as:
Rimadyl – an anti-inflammatory used to lower the inflammation of arthritis.
Deramaxx – is a chewable tablet and is also used for after surgical procedures for
pain control and can also be used for arthritis pain.
Previcox – this is a fast acting NSAID.
Metacam – Is a liquid NSAID.
EtoGesic – is a non-narcotic NSAID and primarily used for osteoarthritis and not
Adequan – is an injectable medication which is used mostly for damaged cartilage as
it primarily facilitates repair of the cartilage not common with the treatment of
arthritis but can be prescribed for arthritis pain.
Vetrin – is a chewable aspirin for dogs only.
Zubrin – is a rapidly ingested NSAID.
Steroid and Corticosteroid medications that may be prescribed by the veterinarian for the treatment of arthritis:
Methylprednisolone – given for join inflammation caused by arthritis.
Dexamethasone – used the same as Methylprednisolone.
Prednisolone – this is a corticosteroid used for the treatment of inflammation due to
Some other important items that can be helpful with older dogs in pain are:
Ramps for getting into trucks and cars
Specialty beds such as the canine Temper pedic mattress
Specialty water or airbeds
Ramps for outdoor or indoor steps
Keeping the rooms in your home warmer during the winter months as warm air
makes pain lower.
If the dog is overweight it is better to feed them less and a weight healthy food to
bring down their weight to lower the stress on joints and areas of pain.