You are probably aware of what arthritis is or at least have heard of arthritis or know of someone (a human) who has it. Our dogs are, unfortunately, not immune to arthritis either as they can get it too. We’re going to look at what arthritis is in dogs, what the signs are of arthritis in dogs and how you can help your furry friend if he/she does develop arthritis. What is arthritis in dogs? As with humans, arthritis is a condition that causes a dog’s joints to become swollen and painful, meaning your dog might feel uncomfortable when moving around or they may even feel like they don’t want to move around at all. A healthy joint has a smooth surface but joints with arthritis have an uneven and worn surface which causes the bones to rub against each other, causing pain and swelling. Joints affected by arthritis will thicken and stiffen with time because new bone begins to grow that isn’t needed and this causes your dog more pain when they move around. What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs? You’ll probably notice a gradual change in your dog’s behaviour as arthritis progressively gets worse with time. They may not want to play as much as before, they might walk slower on walks or they may not jump about and be as bouncy as before. Common symptoms include: Limping Stiffness – especially when your dog first wakes or after walkies Excessive licking or chewing of the areas close to painful joints Muscle weakness – most commonly seen in the back legs, causing a narrowing of the hips Low energy More quiet and grumpy, sleeping more Whining or groaning if you try and touch the affected joint area If you notice symptoms like these, it is always best to take your dog to the vet for a check-up as some of these symptoms are also common with other illnesses. How can I help my arthritic dog? Once you have been to the vets and your beloved furry friend has been diagnosed with arthritis there are several ways you can help ease the pain and inflammation of the joints, amongst the other symptoms they may be suffering with. Medication… Depending on the diagnosis your vet has given and how long your dog has been suffering from arthritis, the vet may recommend some anti-inflammatories and/or pain killers to help with their symptoms. You may find, with the help of these, your dog may feel a bit more active and even though arthritis does impact your dog’s joints, it is important to keep exercising your pooch regularly. Exercise… Little and often is the best approach rather than long walks. You will likely have taken your dog too far if they are limping on the way home. If your dog wakes particularly stiff, use this day as a rest day. Hydrotherapy is also a great way to exercise your dog without placing too much pressure on the joints as well as helping to build back up some of your dog’s lost muscle mass. You don’t need to pay for hydrotherapy either, your dog can easily benefit from a slow walk in a calm sea whilst you dip your toes in too. Diet… Diet is also important and as your dog becomes less active, making sure you do not overfeed them is important. It is also important to give them the right nutrients that will help with their joints too. Sweet potato, parsnips, broccoli and other greens are great sources of vitamin C which can help to keep connective tissues healthy. Some berries like blueberries are natural antioxidants and these can help with your dog’s inflammation too. Omega 3 fatty acids can also help reduce inflammation and our daily digestion and health food are jam-packed with natural sources of this including trout and salmon, and sweet potato too. Supplements… You may be unsure as to whether supplements are the right choice for your dog but rest assured as supplements like our all-natural and vet-approved ones can help to boost your dog’s joint health. Especially if you are more reluctant to change your dog’s food overall. Remember those all-important Omega 3 fatty acids? Our Omega EFA Advanced Oil is a great source of this and a few pumps over your dog’s food a day will not only help with your dog’s joints but their heart, skin and coat health too. Turmeric is another incredible source of natural anti-inflammatories and this can be found in our Organic Turmeric & Bioprene capsules. An active ingredient, turmeric suppresses the production of chemicals thought to cause inflammation. Turmeric also helps with digestion as it stimulates the production of bile which helps break down dietary fats in a high protein diet. Used by UK vets, our Joint Care Advanced chewable tablets contain Tumeric too along with Hyaluronic Acid which helps to lubricate and cushion your dog’s joints, and vitamin C and E which help maintain long-term mobility. A natural beef flavour, your dog is bound to love the taste of these too. These are just 3 of the many all-natural, vet-approved and award-winning joint supplements we have to offer that will help to ease the pain and inflammation your dog may be experiencing due to arthritis. If you are still unsure, why not read about how our joint supplements have helped Sid, the Border Terrier. For more tips on how to care for your dog’s joints, read our Caring for dogs with joint issues – Top tips. Can my younger pooch have arthritis? The short answer is yes! Arthritis doesn’t just affect older more senior dogs. Common causes of arthritis in dogs As above, arthritis isn’t just for older more senior dogs – larger breeds between the ages of 8-9 and smaller breeds between the ages of 10-12 – as a dog of any age can experience an injury such as a torn ligament or broken bone, which can lead to arthritis. Other causes of arthritis include hip dysplasia, a common joint condition and some dogs such as labradors and German Shepherds are, unfortunately, more likely to suffer from arthritis due to their genetics as a breed. Another cause can be under-developed joints which are usually due to your dog being over or under-exercised as a pup, and obesity can also put pressure on your dog’s joints and cause arthritis in the long term. The most common cause…general wear and tear which is why you may notice symptoms the older your dog gets as the older they are, the more likely they are to be affected by arthritis. We hope you’ve found this information useful. If you are looking for more advice, don’t forget all Broadreach members have access to free veterinary advice 24/7, and if you have any questions about any of our products, you can also contact us by calling 01223 855857 or emailing us at email@example.com.