Bella is a 13-year-old shepherd-lab cross. Although she seems to be a fairly active farm dog, her owners have noticed she has slowed down substantially from her younger days. Bella gets up more slowly, spends a lot of time inside in the winter, and does not roam as far from the house as she once did. She is starting to suffer from arthritis. Her owner decides one day that she needs a bath, as she spends so much time in the house now, and she is starting to smell very much like the farm dog she is. So a bath is run, and Bella’s owner bends down to pick her up. Much to her owner's surprise, when she goes to lift Bella, Bella growls and snaps at her! Bella has never done anything like that before, it is quite a shock.
A dog with arthritis like Bella can act unexpectedly due to pain, discomfort, and anxiety about being handled. Bathing a dog with arthritis will require some adjustments for the dog's mobility issues to make it comfortable for your dog and to avoid unexpected, even dangerous, behaviors.
When a dog with arthritis is experiencing joint pain, manipulation and strain on those joints can be painful and frightening for your dog. The dog may feel insecure, especially when in a strange environment like a bathtub, or when being picked up or handled. In addition, a slippery bathtub may make your arthritic dog feel that she is in danger of slipping, which she has learned is a lot more painful then it was before she had arthritis. Making adjustments to help your dog feel secure and minimize discomfort will be necessary, in order for your dog to be comfortable being bathed.
My dog gets really bad arthritic attacks and he wails in pain until the painkillers kick in. This usually lasts from about 2 days to 5 days. I realized that he would have these attacks a few hours to a day after taking a bath. Therefore, I resorted to not giving him baths anymore. I would take him to the vet for haircuts and ears and eyes cleaning, but not for baths. He recently got fleas again (as he did when he was younger) as well as fungal infections. The vet advised to give him quick baths twice a month. Do you have any advice as to how I can keep him clean with baths and not aggravate his arthritic attacks?
Hi Fenina, Sorry to hear that Chico has arthritic pain. Sometimes lifting a dog in and out of the bathtub can be painful for them. How about trying a plastic kiddie pool? The sides are low and perhaps Chico can easily walk in without too much effort, reducing the chance of causing pain. Also, be sure to wrap Chico in a towel afterward and dry him well so that he does not get a chill, which will tense him up, possibly causing pain. You can perhaps try waterless methods as described here, too. These methods can be used as an alternative and may do the trick. https://wagwalking.com/grooming/bathe-a-dog-without-water I hope this helps!
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