Activities For Dogs With Arthritis

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Introduction

Arthritis - many humans understand the pain of inflamed joints. Your pup has given you a lot of pleasure over the years; however, one day you begin to notice that your sweet pup moves a little slower. Your dog may not be able to jump and run as fast as they once did. You might be fooled into thinking that allowing your dog more rest is the best remedy for their painful, swollen joints. However, this is actually the worst thing to do! Give your arthritic dog a little activity every day to help alleviate the pain of their tender joints. You will be doing your pal a favor.

Take a Hike

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Doggy Waste Bags
Leash
Activity description
Your dog, even with those swollen and painful joints, will actually feel better if you provide some gentle activity two or three times a week. If possible, allow your dog to go on daily short walks around the neighborhood with you. The best time to go on a short hike is on warm, not too hot, sunny day. However, you can walk around your home or apartment if the weather is not agreeable. If you wish, you can make a trek around the yard to ensure the proper amount of activity for your arthritic dog.
Step
1
Pack supplies
Particularly if the weather is warm, you will want to grab water for both yourself and your dog before embarking on a hike. Pack a snack for both you and pup, and don't forget doggy waste bags, so that you can leave your hiking destination in pristine shape.
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2
Find an appropriate location
Flat, not too steep areas in your yard or the park are prime places for taking a hike. Go at your pup's pace. Don't expect a senior or young arthritic dog to walk too swiftly. However, at times, your excited companion may surprise you!
Step
3
Mix it up
You can always mix the hiking activity with other walking or gentle play activities. A change of location or a short walk to an area with nice scenery are simple changes that make the walk fun. Remember to keep things low-impact at all times. You know your pup more than anyone else. If you see your dog tiring, then take a break.
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Warm It Up!

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
10 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description
Before you engage your pup in any activity, even just a walk around the neighborhood, it is a good idea to help them warm up their muscles and joints. This will get your dog excited for the upcoming exercise - believe me, your dog does miss getting out and participating in rambunctious activity with you - plus it minimizes the potential for injury to already worn joints. You will want to avoid a great deal of running or jumping, especially during warm up time. As humans, we stretch. Ask your dog to sit, then have the dog "high five" you. This will stretch the front legs. Have your dog crawl to you on their tummy to stretch the back legs. Walk around in small circles. Get the blood pumping to those muscles. A little treat at the end of the session will make your pal eager for stretching exercises before every outing.
Step
1
High five
Command your dog to sit. Then, get the pup to shake, but instead, have the dog stretch out the limb for a "high five" of sorts. Do this a couple of times with both limbs for optimal stretching.
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2
Walk it out
For about five minutes, have your dog walk around slowly with you. Start at a very slow pace, then begin to quicken the pace so that the walk is fairly brisk. You know what your pup can handle, so adjust the speed accordingly.
Step
3
Get those muscles pumped
Always avoid any type of exercise that involves jumping and running as these are quite difficult on the dog's already sore and stiff joints. A walk of very low elevation is fine, as is adding in a small incline now and then. This adds interest and a change in usage of the muscles.
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Take it Slow

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Rainy Day
Free
Easy
15 min
Items needed
Favorite Ball
Activity description
Many dogs begin developing arthritis at about what we might consider "middle age" of a dog's life, around age eight. However, there are cases of dogs developing this disease early on in life. That is why movement is key in every case. If the weather is inclement, try a few indoor games. You can play hall ball, but instead of tossing the ball, work on rolling the ball. Encourage your dog not to run after the ball, but to walk to it and bring it back to you. You can also work on your dog's tricks and commands as a way to practice their manners, as well as giving your best buddy low-impact movement to enjoy.
Step
1
Choose appropriate games
Take some time to figure out some low impact activities your pup might enjoy while indoors. Take time to teach your old (or young) dog new tricks, if they are not familiar with the game already. Do these games after a brief warm up and a treat, which can involve having the dog follow you up and down the hallway just a few times before beginning the activity.
Step
2
Mix it up
Try to mix up the indoor activities with the outdoor activities. Take into consideration that the weather will have an effect on your dog's joints. Cold or rainy weather may aggravate your dog's condition, necessitating having fun inside. Modify the activities in order to give your dog activity without a great deal of discomfort.
Step
3
Look for Supplements
Many vets recommend giving your dog joint supplements in order to minimize their joint pain. This may be a good idea for your pet, but be sure to consult your vet before beginning any supplement regimen. Your vet will be able to recommend just what your pup needs in order to have maximum comfort.
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More Fun Ideas...

Gentle Go Fetch

Much like hall ball, you can gently toss your dog's chew toy or nylon rope toy down the hallway. Be sure not to throw it very far lest your pup is tempted to run too hard after the item.

Swimming

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can benefit both you and your arthritic dog. Be sure to outfit your pup in a swim vest before diving in.

Conclusion

Although your arthritic dog may slow down, you should be adamant about providing daily activity for them. An inactive dog can gain weight that can actually aggravate their arthritic condition, so activity is necessary for your pet's good health. Always warm your dog up, take it slow, and engage your dog in games both inside and outdoors in order to help your buddy live a long, healthy life.