How to help dogs with arthritis

As they age, many dogs develop arthritis. Here’s how to help your creaky canine get around more easily.

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases affecting senior dogs. These simple lifestyle and household changes will make your companion’s life a lot easier if he isn’t as mobile and flexible as he used to be.

Slip-free flooring

Hardwood and tile floors are slippery and can be very difficult for dogs with arthritis to move around on. Carpet and area rugs (with non-slip backings) will help secure your canine’s footing, and prevent him from injuring himself.

Soft bedding

A good soft bed can help support your dog’s bones and joints and make him more comfortable. This is especially important for slender dogs with bony prominences that are likely to rub on hard surfaces. Some beds are made especially for dogs with arthritis, and include waterbeds, hammock beds, and beds with plenty of cushions.

Ramps or cubes

Stairs and furniture can become difficult obstacles for your aging companion. Ramps or specially designed cubes can help dogs safely climb stairs, or get in or out of bed or your vehicle. Ramps can be made of plastic or wood. One product features soft modular cubes which fit together in various combinations that permit dogs to climb up and down from beds or sofas. The cubes are made of soft rubber, have rounded corners and washable covers.

Moderate exercise

Modest daily exercise can help. Special care is needed, though, so it’s important to first see your veterinarian and let him/her recommend an appropriate exercise program. Moderate exercise, however, can strengthen your dog’s muscles and ligaments, reducing his injury potential and risk.

Weight control

Because older dogs aren’t as active as their younger counterparts, they’re more prone to becoming overweight. Obesity greatly increases the pressure on his bones and joints, and can make the arthritis worse. Be sure to keep your dog at a healthy weight as he ages.


By massaging your dog, you can increase his flexibility, circulation, calmness and general sense of wellness. A professional animal massage therapist can give your dog a more thorough treatment.

Peace and quiet

As your dog ages, he may not be as tolerant or patient as he used to be. Sore joints make it difficult for him to enjoy rambunctious playful children, for example. Supervise playtime and consider keeping your dog away from very young children. Even parties and holiday time can be distressing for an arthritic dog. On the other hand, he may want to join in the festivities regardless of his discomfort. To reduce joint pain and inflammation, you may want to limit his time as the center of attention.

Give him time

Don’t rush a dog with arthritis. It may often take him extra time to walk, climb stairs, or get in and out of the car. Be patient, let him take as long as he needs, and support and help him if needed.

Grooming aids

Arthritic dogs have a difficult time keeping themselves clean, especially in those hard-to-reach places. Help him by trimming the hair around his rear end. Regular brushing will help remove mats and tangles, which can injure delicate older skin.