The best way to lift a dog with arthritis is to wrap one arm around the backside of the dog’s waist and the other arm around the upper chest. Make sure you lift with your legs and not your back. If your dog begins to cry or whimper, gently set them down, calm them, and try again.
Arthritis can cause a wide range of mobility issues in dogs. The inflammation of the joints that results from arthritis keeps your dog from standing or walking comfortably. Unfortunately, arthritis is common in dogs as they age.
As a dog owner, it’s heartbreaking to see your dog in so much pain. They’ve been there for you through thick and thin, and now to see them struggle to stand up is tough to watch. You may notice your dog wants to get up and join you when you move from one room to another, but they’re unable to stand up because of the pain.
In today’s guide, we are going to talk about how to help your arthritic dog stand up, then we are going to go over other ways to increase your dog’s mobility
Help Your Dog Get to Their Feet
Sometimes, you simply need to help your dog get to their feet so they can start moving around. In these cases, you need to be safe and protect your body as well as theirs. Avoid lifting a dog over 40 pounds as it may damage your lower back. If you are unable to lift a dog without a sturdy base, your dog may grow fearful and struggle in your arms.
You should begin by wrapping one arm around the underside of your dog’s butt and the other arm under their chest. Lift upward with your leg—never your back— until your pup is standing in front of you. Make sure you give cheerful words of encouragement and a treat to lift their soul as well as their body. Helping your dog to their feet is a great way to show love and support to your pup.
Once your dog is on their feet, pay close attention to how they’re walking. Are they able to move around without pain? Or does it seem like they’re in pain with each step they take? If it looks like they’re either in pain with each step or unsturdy due to muscle loss, the rest of this article will go over a few simple tips to help your dog get around the house with less pain and more stability.
Help Your Dog Get a Grip
One of the first steps in helping your arthritic dog move freely around the house is finding a stable surface for them to stand on. Slick floors increase your dog’s pain as they attempt to rise or walk. Their joints struggle to stay aligned as their paws slide around on the floor. This difficulty can be alleviated by placing area rugs or carpet runners with anti-skid mats on the floor where they walk the most.
Even carpet tiles with adhesive backings can give your dog a padded foundation that eases the stress on their joints. Non-slip stair treads are an option for larger dogs under whom a carpet or rug may slide around.
The other factor in slipping is your pup’s paws. The best option is to place carpet all over your home, but this may not be feasible or aesthetically pleasing. The next best option is to use Non-Slip dog socks.
Many brands offer socks that fit tightly, yet comfortable, around your dog’s paw to prevent them from wiggling out easily. Loose socks may increase the same joint inflammation that your dog is already suffering from.
Also, look for socks that have a rubber coating on the underside. Without a non-slip coating, the sock will be incapable of addressing your pup’s pain. If you cannot find a proper sock, nail grips that you can place over your dog’s nail may also help prevent slippage.
Ease the Burden of Stairs
Stairs often provide a source of painful frustration for a dog with arthritis. They may be too steep for a small or medium dog to navigate, or they may not be able to take the same little hops they could when they were younger. A simple solution is to add a gradual ramp next to or over some stairs.
A ramp with a non-slip surface or carpet makes an excellent accommodation for a dog suffering from arthritis. It reduces the stress on their joints and gives them greater mobility in reaching their favorite places. A ramp can even be placed next to a couch or bed to help your pup get to a spot where they can cuddle up next to you.
Create a Homemade Sling or Buy a Lift Harness
You may provide support up the stairs in other ways if you do not have the space or ability to set up a ramp. Creating a sling from a rolled-up shirt, sheet, towel, or blanket can help you take the pressure off your pup as they walk upstairs. By holding up the dog as you navigate staircases, you can prevent the pain they experience to get to their favorite spots in your house.
Unfortunately, these may begin to rub against your dog’s skin, which can irritate it and cause a rash. Your hands and arms may start to feel fatigued, as well.
A lift harness is a sling that wraps around your dog’s body. It includes a handle for you to hold to take the pressure off your dog’s hips and hindlegs as they walk. Some of these support your pup by holding up the abdomen. Others support the entire body. Some simply brace your dog’s hind legs.
Finding the best harness for you and your dog may take a bit of careful considerations. You need to look for a sustainable option that will not cause excessive irritation for your pet or feel like a heavy burden for you.
Options with a full-body harness give your pet the maximum amount of comfort. This can keep you from wearing out your forearms from holding up your dog with a short handle. The full-body harness lifts the hips and abdomen together so that pressure is not concentrated at one point (which can cause greater damage and stress for dogs with advanced cases of arthritis).
Full-body lift harnesses can help your dog walk without your assistance by evenly distributing your dog’s weight to reduce pain fixed at a single joint.
Some harnesses focus on relieving your dog’s pain at a single point. These lift harnesses usually hold your dog up by their abdomen or hips with a handle that you grip. These types of harnesses allow you to lift your dog as they make it up the stairs, onto a couch or bed, and to make short trips to the car or food bowl.
There are slings available with longer handles that you may place over your shoulder for longer walks. A short handle can cause pain or distress for your arm and shoulder, so these should not be used for long durations.
Use a Doggie Wheelchair
If your dog has reached an advanced stage of arthritis, they may not be able to walk without sturdy support. A wheelchair may be a good option for an older dog who wants to relive the freedom of their younger days.
A wheelchair or cart that supports your dog’s hips and hindlegs allows your pup to regain a degree of self-sufficiency. At the same time, they engage in physical and mental exercise. A good cart or wheelchair will enable your dog to walk around outside without dragging their paws or falling over, potentially causing more significant injury.
What If Their Legs Give Out When They Stand Up
We just spent a good amount of time talking about how to lift and help a dog become more mobile when they have arthritic pain, but what should you do if their legs give out a few minutes after you lift them?
I know it’s hard to accept, but at this point, the best thing you can do for your dog is to make them as comfortable as possible. The first thing you should do is bring them to the vet to see if they have a strained ligament, but there’s a good chance their legs are giving out because they can’t handle the pressure of their weight anymore.
During this time, be around your dog as much as possible. Make sure their food and water bowl is next to them, so they don’t have to move far to stay hydrated. The vet will likely prescribe some pain medication to make sure your dog as comfortable as possible.
Don’t try to force your dog to stand up when they’re having trouble with it. The only thing this will do is increase both their pain and frustration. When you notice they’re trying to stand up, go over and help. But make sure they’re the ones calling the shots.
Your dog may have grown older and more arthritic, but they are still a special part of your life. Treat them with dignity and help relieve the pain they experience when standing up or moving around.
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