How To Help Your Dog's Arthritis With Complementary Therapies

Natural Solutions To Canine Arthritis

Have you noticed your dog:

  • walking a bit slower?
  • not wanting to walk so far?
  • finding it difficult to climb stairs?
  • reluctant to jump in the car?
  • not sleeping so well?
  • not wanting to be groomed?

Of course there can be many reasons for this. However, it could be arthritis. This is common. And can happen to any dog, especially as they get older. Although not all dogs who get it, are older. Even younger ones can, especially if they've been injured.

You may not realise that small changes in your dogs behaviour are as a result of arthritis. But it can build up until something very obvious happens. This could be:

  • Your dog dragging a toe
  • Struggling to stand or turn
  • Unable to run or move very fast.

When it gets to this stage it is NOT too late to help! There are many complementary therapies and supplements you can use to help your dog. Whether it's the early stages of arthritis, or more advanced.

Many therapies can be used alongside supplements and medications too.

Popular therapies for canine osteoarthritis include:

Hydrotherapy - Water can be soothing, so helping to relieve pain. Swimming and working on the aqua treadmill are also great exercise. Useful for maintaining fitness. As swimming is non-weight-bearing, it's useful for dogs who find too much walking around strenuous.There’s several ways that your dog can have a hydrotherapy session. These include:

  • Swimming in the sea or river
  • Swimming in a special hydrotherapy pool for dogs.
  • Aqua Treadmill
  • Cold water hosing or bucket
  • Hot water hosing or bucket

The amount of hydrotherapy needed to help with osteoarthritis will vary. Each animal is different. Some animals will need at least weekly sessions. Others every month or longer.

Why not use the sea or a river? This may not be practical – making sure the water is safe (clean and not too fast flowing or rough) is essential. So using a professional hydrotherapy pool maybe more practical.

There’s small canine hydrotherapy pools around the UK, and in many other countries too. A professionally-run pool will mean that the water will be a good temperature. This is very important to make it as comfortable and therapeutic as possible.

Or using either a bucket of cool or warm water, or a hose flowing cool or warm water, can help. An easy way to use hydrotherapy at home for your dog. But won’t offer the same exercise benefits of a treadmill or hydrotherapy pool. Although your dog may feel some relief.

As with all therapies and treatments. Use only those that your Veterinary Surgeon approves. Whilst hydrotherapy is generally very safe. There’s some reasons why it won’t be suitable for all dogs. So do get your Veterinary Surgeon’s permission first.

Read more about hydrotherapy for animals here in my advice page

Physiotherapy - Veterinary physiotherapy is a very popular natural way to help maintain and improve mobility. It can be used to soothe aching joints and ease tense muscles.

A qualified veterinary physiotherapist will use a variety of techniques to help your dog. This includes massage, electrotherapy, magnotherapy, TENS, infra-red and more.

Read more about what to expect from physiotherapy for dogs, with my article here.

There are of course several other therapies that can be used to help. And supplements too. Ask your veterinary surgeon for advice. Depending on what your dog's individual needs are, will mean some therapies will be more beneficial than others.

I'll talk more about supplements for canine arthritis in a future blog post.

But remember, that what works for one dog, will not necessarily work for another. But likewise, give a therapy or supplement time. Don't expect a miracle overnight result! Particularly if your dog is older, and the arthritis is chronic, regular sessions maybe required.

Find more information on animal arthritis and complementary therapies in my advice page here.

You Can Discover 3 Ways To Help Your Dog's Musculoskeletal Health

See my presentation here

What About Research Into Benefits of Complementary Animal Medicine?

Find links to lots of veterinary research, including benefits of natural therapies for arthritis, with my research page here.

About The Author

This article has been written by Suzanne Harris, who is the developer of this Taranet Complementary Therapies for Animals website. And also business coach to horse and dog care and veterinary professionals.