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How to exercise a dog with arthritis?

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by S.Universe, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. S.Universe

    S.Universe PetForums Newbie

    Nov 27, 2017
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    My dog is 10 years old and has had arthritis in one of her legs and she is overweight. She is rarely given treats and if she is they are a slice of apple or banana. Her food is also diet and she's given the right amount. I think it's lack of exercise. I've taken her swimming at the beach which she loves but she is always limping after. Tonight I too her on a short walk but it took a lot out of her. When taking her to bed she could barely walk and had a lot of trouble getting down the stairs. I give her metacam and yu move tablets. Am I doing something wrong and are there any other exercises that will be easier for her>
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Feb 1, 2016
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    I can't help with the exercise apart from suggesting hydrotherapy in a warm pool might be easier on her. But if she is still not losing weight, maybe cut down her food - guidelines are only guidelines, so the 'right' amount may be too much for her.
  3. Mum2Heidi

    Mum2Heidi PetForums VIP

    Feb 17, 2010
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    Heidi is 11 next month and has struggled with her joints over the last year.
    I’ve found rest helps if she’s over done it. Gentle walks, no steps or jumps. When she’s sound again, a very slow build up in exercise.
    She’s always been very active so in rest periods, I cut back her food. Thankfully it’s stopped weight becoming an issue. I also keep her on the lean side.
    Perhaps cut back her food and bulk it out with veg. A gradual change will be less noticeable for her.
    Burns is renowned for keeping dogs lean plus there’s lots of mature/slim brands.
    I did tend to rush recovery and we had a cluster of set backs. I accepted no more ball play or long walks. Anything to keep her well.
    One day overlooking where we used to go. I stupidly decided to try it but avoid rickety paths. I’m so glad I did. She was absolutely fine. She manages a bit of ball play. Zoomies on a new route and bombs around with a mate occasionally all in moderation.
    In Heidi’s case slow and steady is key. First sign of trouble we scale back before it’s an issue and she’s away again.
    No idea how long it will last but it’s lovely and we’re both sensibly making the most of it.

    Really hope you find something that works.
  4. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 11, 2013
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    First off drop her food by about 20% the feeding guidelines on the packets are just that, guidelines and most companies over estimate the correct feeding amount.
    Dropping her food will not starve her, once she has dropped the weight you can start to increase if needed to find out a good maintenance amount - make sure you weigh the kibble at each feed so that you know what she is getting - all these branded kibbles that are advertsied as slimming are just marketing, if she does well on the kibble that you feed her then I would stick to it but lower the amount.
    Secondly I would speak to your vet, if she can barley walk after a short walk then she made need a med change...your vet can then help to organise a structured exercise plan that gets her moving but also protects her joints.

    My boy is 10 and was diagnosed 4 years ago now, with meds (6 x 300mg Gabapentine and 1 x Galliprant per day) and physio he is still able to manage 3 walks a day with one off leash...although he never has a ball thrown for him to chase, he is always put in a down stay and then released after the ball has landed to stop any sudden stops, twists and turns.
    Torin. and Cleo38 like this.
  5. EmCHammer

    EmCHammer PetForums VIP

    Dec 28, 2009
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    Being overweight is def not good for arthritic dogs, but I understand how hard it can be to get them to loose weight with the reduced excercise and then making up time with food activities - but loosing weight should make a big difference.

    Supplements are more beneficial for joint protection and won't help for pain relief - its recommended that they are given at least 6 weeks before can see any benefits, and worth keeping some objective markers to judge if they are having any effects (not sure how long you have been giving)

    Does she have metacam every day? Could ask the vets if worth trying another Nsaid (Previcox, Onsior, Galliprant and other pain meds in combination (Gabapentin/ Paracetamol/Tramadol -could ask to try a pain meds trial for a couple of weeks of one under vets guidance and and see if it makes a big difference?

    Has she had x-rays and a definite diagnosis? Things like physio may also help or other non surgical options (Cartrophen injectins? Platelet Rich Plasma Injections, Stem Cells etc - all of which do cost, but are often covered by insurance)

    Have a look at this website, its a wealth of information on arthritic dogs, and run by veterinary professionals. The associated facebook page and support group 'Holly's Army' also has loads of podcasts and advise on simple things you can do, and lots of like minded people with dogs in a similar situation - things like putting rugs down for slippery floors, managing stairs, getting the right pain relief, the right excercise (i.e. no ball throwing, no over excercise, how to find good hydrotherapists etc).

    rona likes this.
  6. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

    Jan 22, 2010
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    As previously advised, get her weight down. You may find that even doing that may help with her mobility & pain levels. Discuss other pain medication that may benefit your dog, my GSD has regular reviews of her meds which we tweak occasionally according to how she is doing.

    Physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, laser therapy, massage, acupuncture, etc are all very beneficial to dogs with arthritis & worth considering. Depending on your insurance plan you may be able to claim for these.

    As well as helping her lose weight you might want to look at environmental factors that you could alter; helping her in/out of the car, limiting her having to use stairs, cover any slippy floor areas with non-slip rugs/mats, etc

    There is a fantastic website that you may find beneficial: Canine Arthritis Management; https://caninearthritis.co.uk/what-is-arthritis/
    You can find advise on supplements, therapies, etc. They also have a FB group called Holly's Army where you can ask advice https://www.facebook.com/groups/2161091580843717/
    Torin., rona and StormyThai like this.
  7. Jem121

    Jem121 PetForums Senior

    May 6, 2012
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    This is my old man with arthritis, he is managed with a magnetic collar, yumove tablets and recently CBD oil which has worked wonders and turned him into a puppy again! He was getting lame at the end of longish walks and stiff in the evenings. Not anymore!
    I do however do one day of a decent walk and the next just a short gentle one Xx 20191016_122310.jpg
    rona likes this.
  8. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

    Aug 18, 2011
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    What do you call a short walk and what speed are you walking at?

    When my old boy couldn't walk far we did 2-3 short walks a day (maximum a mile on just one of the walks) then interspersed with kibble hunting around the house and garden. Some of the management is keeping them freely moving but also making sure they get enough sleep/rest time.
    Speed of walks and type of ground underfoot can make a huge difference, you can still be out for an hour but most of that will almost certainly be spent with you standing still while the super nose is in action :)

    I also cut down food by 25% at about 11 and kept it at that for the remainder of his life, another 3.5 years
    Torin. likes this.
  9. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

    May 18, 2014
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    I was wondering about that sort of thing too. And in terms of ground underfoot how much is pavement or another hard surface vs dirt tracks and grass? The former is much harder on the joints and will lead to more pain and stiffness compared to the latter - so definitely worth actively considering and planning the details.
  10. wanderdogsrv

    wanderdogsrv PetForums Newbie

    Feb 20, 2020
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    Our 8 year old puggle staring showing signs of arthritis after recovering from an ACL injury. We changed his diet and exercise routine but the most amazing thing we found were YuMoves. They've been mentioned in this thread already and I second the opinion! We noticed Digby was more comfortable in the evenings and much more lively when out walking! Highly recommend! We get them from Amazon as its better value! Check them out!
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