An aging dog relaxes on the porch with a ball.

Mobility Problems in Older Dogs: What You Can Do at Home

Much like human bodies, dog bodies develop aches and pains with age that can affect their mobility. The combination of age, muscle loss and a variety of orthopedic and neurologic conditions, like arthritis in dogs, all have an impact on an older dog’s mobility. The severity of their problems can vary from minor lameness or difficulty standing up from a lying position, to an inability to walk.

When your dog begins showing symptoms of mobility loss, there are some things you can do at home to help lessen their struggle and pain.

Identifying the Cause of Mobility Problems in Older Dogs

There are a variety of reasons why a dog might experience mobility loss. Talk to your veterinarian about any concerns you might have in order to get an accurate diagnosis of the problem before putting a treatment plan in place.

Some of the more common reasons for mobility problems in older dogs include:

Tips To Improve Your Dog’s Mobility At Home

If your dog is diagnosed with any of the above mobility issues, there are plenty of preventative measures that you can take at home to help improve their condition and make them feel more comfortable. Here are a few ways to alleviate mobility problems in older dogs:

Create A Regular Exercise Routine

When it comes to mobility problems in older dogs, strenuous exercise should be avoided. Exercise your pet regularly but moderately. Swimming can be very beneficial if that option is available to you; it helps older pups maintain good muscle mass and tone while keeping weight off the hip joints, relieving dog joint pain.

Natural Remedies or Medication

Many people prefer to try natural remedies for dog joint pain and arthritis, such as supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin. If your veterinarian has recommended medication, educate yourself about the potential side effects. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are one of the most common medications prescribed for joint pain. These medications can cause kidney, liver, or digestive problems if not administered properly. Also, be mindful of the fact that dogs should never be given over-the-counter medications that are made for human consumption, such as Advil or Ibuprofen. For optimal safety, consult a veterinarian before administering any pain medication to your dog.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

If your elderly dog is overweight or obese, that can be a contributing factor in dog joint pain and mobility issues. Help your dog maintain a healthy weight, and consider a weight loss program if they are struggling. Your veterinarian can advise you on how to get your dog to lose weight safely and effectively.

Be Thoughtful About Your Floors

A telltale sign that a dog is in pain due to mobility problems is watching them attempt to grip their toes on slippery surfaces, like tile, laminate, or wood flooring. This can cause your dog to slip and fall. To reduce their discomfort, place rugs and carpets on these surfaces. Keep the floors dry because wet floors are especially slippery and a hazard. Dry areas with fans, towels or both. There are also booties that can be purchased that provide extra traction when standing and walking on slippery floors.

Maintain Proper Hygiene

Keep your dog’s nails trimmed. Long nails can cause dogs to slip on smooth surfaces. In addition, some dogs grow long hair on the bottoms of their feet between their paw pads, which can get wet and cause them to slip. In the winter, ice can adhere to this area causing additional difficulty getting traction. Be sure to trim their hair and nails to help them better navigate your home.

Enlist The Help of Mobility Aids

There are a variety of tools you can use to help your dog’s mobility:

Help With Mobility Problems in Older Dogs

While it’s normal for dogs to experience the loss of mobility with age, if they seem to be experiencing pain or extreme discomfort, it’s best to take them to see the vet to discuss all of their treatment options.