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Pain Management for Dogs with Arthritis

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Q: My dog has arthritis. Are there any medications that can help ease the pain?

A. Dr. Susan Aiello, DVM
Arthritis is very common in dogs.  Just like in people, arthritis becomes more common in dogs as they age.  Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint(s), and in most cases, it is caused by a degenerative process of wear and tear as the years go by.

No medication can stop the arthritic process.  But fortunately, both prescription and over-the-counter medications are available to help make dogs with arthritis much more comfortable.  Check with your regular veterinarian for the appropriate medication and dosage for your dog.  Certain medications should not be used together or when a pet has another condition that might preclude their use.  Because your vet is familiar with your dog’s medical history and other medications, he or she can provide you with the best and safest recommendation for medication for arthritis.

There are other things you can do to help minimize your dog’s discomfort, as well as the amount of medication needed.  Most important is keeping your dog at a healthy weight.  Signs of arthritis, such as morning stiffness, are typically much worse in overweight or obese dogs because of the increased stress on the joints.

You can also help keep your dog comfortable by keeping its environment warm and providing thick, padded bedding materials so that it is not laying directly on a hard or cold surface.

In addition, many dogs also enjoy a gentle muscle massage over the affected joints to increase blood flow to the area, keep it warm, and encourage movement.


Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D. 
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