When Sydney’s arthritis was at its worst, we realized that we had to cut way back on her exercise, but we couldn’t make everyone slow down. We had two high energy dogs and one dog with joint pain. At their highest level of energy, this is what we experience…
Blue – bouncing off the walls. It takes about 20-30 minutes of running to get him tired out and then we might have to go outside a second time to burn off any residual. Spring Ahead is a gift for us.
Rodrigo – he’s starts out high, then drops down to normal. When we go outside, he runs and chases Blue and has a blast, but after about 15-20 minutes he starts slowing down. We may see some running on that second trip outside, but mostly he’s just sniffing around.
Sydney – she’s a zummies world champion and then she’s ready for a nap. That means that Sydney will run flat out (ears back, eyes all crazy) for about 5 minutes. She’s done this since she was a puppy. She’d run longer if it weren’t for the fact that her “crazies” attract two dogs that are hot on her trail. She will run around like crazy for about 10-15 minutes.
Leaving One Dog at Home
This isn’t an option for us. I think our dogs would wonder what they did wrong to be left behind. Blue won’t tolerate being left behind and will find a way out of the yard and come after us.
So one of us (the humans) stays behind with them. The dogs love, respect and follow us both, but I’m “mommy” and the “pack leader,” so I stay behind with the injured dog. When Johan stays behind, he spends the entire time consoling a crying dog; when I stay behind, then it’s precious one on one time with mommy – Sydney loves our girl time.
Walking with a Stroller or a Wagon
A fellow dog parent invested in a dog stroller for her aging dog, Bro, and he would climb in there and come along on dog walks and pack walks (when more than one dog parent walks with their dog). This enabled Bro to get out and about without causing him pain and discomfort.
The veterinarians at the ASPCA use strollers when walking their puppies. Because canine parvo virus is so prevalent on the East Coast, unvaccinated puppies can’t walk on the ground; she they’re in a covered stroller so that they can still experience the sounds and smells of the city with little risk. This is part of their socialization process.
Special, Shorter Walks
I quickly learned that I couldn’t take Sydney away from our property for walks, because she would try to keep up with her brothers no matter the pain. We’ve been blessed with 5 acres that border the Centennial Trail. I would either walk with her a short distance on the trail (just us – girl time) or we’d walk the perimeter of the property with her brothers and she had a short walk back to the house if she got tired early.
Arthritis Supplements We Used
We discovered two options that worked for us…
Human Glucosamine at Costco: Our vet okayed giving Sydney and Rodrigo human 3,000 mg of glucosamine daily and said it’s great for a dog with joint pain. He told us to pick it up at Costco. When we did, they have glucosamine / chondroitin and glucosamine / msm – since one pill from each bottle totaled 3,000 mg, we went for it and we did see an improvement. The cost was minimal compared to the glucosamine we saw for dogs; but we still experienced days of pain with both dogs.
If you’d like to go this route, just get an okay from your vet first. You’ll need to know the dosage for your dog (Sydney and Rodrigo are 80 pounds each) and if there’s anything else with your dog that might cause a conflict. Like with everything, it seems, there can be mild side effects with glucosamine.
Wag Lifetime Joint Care by Pet Research Inc: Pet Research is a Keep the Tail Wagging sponsor, but we’ve used their product in the past and I believe in their product 100%. I saw the improvement immediately with both of our dogs. We first tried Wag with Rodrigo in 2012 and he was still limping off and on when he was taking Life’s Abundance Agility; he showed no evidence of arthritis when on Wag.
When we received the opportunity to be sponsored by Pet Research Inc, I jumped at it, because I knew from experience that the product worked and we saw improvement with Sydney in a week. Wag is more expensive, but it works and neither of our dogs are on regular pain medication. Although we do give them DGP for Pets for minor pain.
I don’t have a beef with pain medication, but I know that it’s not good for any of us (humans and dogs) over an extended period of time, so I only like to administer it on occasion, not as a daily supplement.
Now it’s YOUR turn! How do you manage your dog walks when one of your dogs is injured? What tips would you offer?