Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions that can seriously impact a dog’s quality of life. In fact, it has been said that all dogs, if they live long enough, will eventually develop arthritis. And, one of the most common places for arthritis to develop in dogs is their paws.
Because paws bear weight and pressure with each step they take; inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the toes, foot, and ankle joints can be especially troublesome for our furriest family members.
What are the signs and symptoms of arthritis in a dog’s paws?
There are several signs that your dog may be suffering from arthritis in their paws:
- limping or favoring one leg
- excessively licking or chewing on their paws
- trouble getting up after lying down
- difficulty jumping
- decreased activity level
- reluctance to play or go for walks
- visible swelling or redness of toes, feet, or ankles
If you notice any of these signs in your four-legged friend, make an appointment with your veterinarian to diagnose the problem and recommend the best treatment options. As with most conditions, early detection and care are essential in maintaining your dog’s quality of life.
You know your dog better than anyone else, so if you think something isn't quite right, trust your intuition and make an appointment with your vet.
How is Canine Arthritis Treated?
Treatment for arthritis in a dog's paw usually focuses on two things: relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help with these symptoms. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used to treat arthritis pain and inflammation. These drugs can have serious side effects, so it's important to talk to your veterinarian about whether they're right for your unique dog. And remember, over-the-counter NSAIDs for humans are not safe and should never, ever, been given to your dog.
Other treatments for arthritis in dogs include physical therapy, weight management, and supplements. Physical therapy can help increase your dog's range of motion and muscle strength. It can also reduce pain and inflammation. Weight management is important because carrying extra weight puts more strain on your dog's joints. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can help reduce joint pain and inflammation.
How Can I Help Ease My Dog’s Painful Paws At Home?
It can be heartbreaking to see your dog in pain. But, because their paws are necessary for moving around, arthritis pain in a dog’s paw can be extremely difficult to manage. In addition to medication, physical therapy, massage, or other measures recommended by your veterinarian, there are some additional steps you can take at home to help your best buddy get around better:
- Keep the fur on your dog's paws trimmed to allow for better traction on hard floors and slick surfaces.
- Restrict daily walks to gentle, grassy, softer surfaces and avoid concrete and asphalt.
- Keep your dog’s nails trimmed short, so they don’t touch the floor when your dog takes a step.
- Examine your dog’s paws frequently, checking for mats, tangles, or debris between toes or paw pads.
- Give your dog a soothing foot bath using warm water and a natural,herbal soak to reduce swelling and inflammation, then slowly and gently massage the toes and paw pads.
- Keep your dog’s paws warm and dry, but be gentle when drying—remember, they hurt!
- If the arthritis in your dog’s paws has reached the point that his or her toes are splaying, boots and wraps can help, as long as your dog will tolerate them.
- Give your dog food-filled Kongs or similar treat-dispensing toys that require them to use their paws to pin down and eat from as this requires your dog to stretch, flex, and extend toes and ligaments while both rewarding them and keeping them calm.
- Provide a supplement that supports healthy joint function.An advanced supplement like WagWorthy Naturals Advanced Formula Hip + Joint supplement will slow the degeneration of cartilage, provide building blocks for healthy joint tissues, and naturally reduce irritation, pain, and discomfort-causing inflammation.
While nobody likes to think about their dog being in pain, it's important to be aware of the signs that something may be wrong. Arthritis is a common problem in dogs of all ages, but there are things you can do to lower their risk of developing severe pain and complications.
Keeping them active, adjusting their diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing joint protection aids are all great ways to help a dog with arthritis live a happy and healthy life despite their condition.