One in every five dogs suffers from chronic joint pain linked to degenerative diseases. However, the risk of arthritis in Dachshunds is higher, considering their unique body structure – short legs and heavy, elongated backs. A majority of Doxies exhibit signs of degenerative changes as early as 2 years of age. Unless you take proper care, it may expose your dog to arthritis and debilitating pain, impacting his quality of life and health.
Higher Risk of Arthritis in Dachshunds
Arthritis may be visible in Dachshunds at a younger age because Doxies are genetically predisposed to degenerative diseases. Being dwarves, they have the highest incidence of achondroplasia. An inherited skeletal disorder, it inhibits the development of cartilage in bones. As a result, cartilage, joints, and discs face the prospect of premature aging. This leads to the onset of arthritis in young Dachshunds aged 5-7 years. Dachshunds show signs of arthritis earlier than many other breeds.
These dogs are foodies, and this makes them prone to obesity. As a result, there is an increased risk of arthritis in Dachshunds.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dachshunds
Doxies with arthritis are likely to suffer from pain with varying degrees of stiffness and soreness in joints. The condition slowly worsens with the progression of the disease, resulting in debilitating pain and disability. They cannot stand and walk when they wake up. During cold and rainy days, the problem aggravates, hindering his mobility.
The most common symptoms of arthritis in Dachshunds are:
- Difficulty in sitting or standing
- Lameness or reluctant use of a limb
- Abnormal walking to avoid pain in joints
- Disinclination to rise, move, run, jump, or climb
- Joint stiffness following long rest, causing abnormal gait
- Joint stiffness after vigorous activity
- Swollen and painful joints that worsen in cold and wet days
- More inclined to take rest
- Lethargy and weight gain
- Reluctance to exercise or do physical activity
- Increased irritation and loss of appetite
- Aggressive expression if a joint is touched
- Symptoms worsen in the morning
- Increased licking, biting, or chewing
How To Prevent Arthritis in Dachshunds
Arthritis is a progressive disorder without any drug to reverse it. With progression, it increases the disability of your dog. As the dog remains less mobile, he faces an enhanced risk of weight gain, which may result in more health problems, including exasperating joint pain. It is better to pay attention to the risk of arthritis in Dachshunds and take necessary steps to prevent it.
- Healthy weight: Consult with your vet about the ideal weight of your Doxie and try to maintain the same. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and accelerates their degeneration. It also makes a recovery from joint injuries difficult, increasing the risk of arthritis.
- Consistent exercise: Draw up a daily exercise routine for your Dachshund and follow it consistently. Exercise is vital to avoid weight gain and to keep the joint-supporting muscles in good health.
- Diet: Find out the dietary requirements of your dog, considering his age and activity level. Avoid feeding him unnecessary protein, as this may result in gout and uric acid deposition in joints, increasing their stiffness.
- Short nails: Dachshunds with long nails cannot walk properly. This increases the pressure on their joints, enhancing the risk of injury.
- Strong and muscular body: Make sure your Doxie has an athletic body. Stronger joint muscles protect them from early degeneration. Loose muscles make joints prone to injury and stiffness, boosting the likelihood of arthritis in Dachshunds.
- No jumping or climb down: Their short legs are not capable of absorbing shock if they jump from the couch or climb down from a height. This puts stress on their joints, making them vulnerable to injury and degenerative diseases.
Arthritis and Supplements
Consult with your vet and find out right supplements for healthy joint and bones in your dog. Supplements, such as glucosamine and hyaluronic acid, help slow down premature aging of cartilage in joints.
Treatment of Arthritis in Dachshunds
Early identification is the key to treating arthritis in dogs. It focuses on slowing down the progression of the degenerative disorder, keeping joints protected, and improving pain and disability symptoms.
- Weight management holds the key to treating arthritis in Dachshunds. With a balanced weight, a dog can have better mobility. A healthy weight can help protect their joints from further stress and damage, delaying their degeneration.
- End all treats and put your Doxie on a calorie-restricted diet to minimize his weight, avert gout symptoms, and eliminate uric acid deposition in joints. Supplements, such as glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin, are beneficial for Doxies with arthritis.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs and supplements help reduce joint inflammation and provide relief from frequent stiffness and disability caused by inflammation in joints. These also prevent the degeneration of cartilage in joints.
- Make sure your dog’s place of living remains warm. Provide him with soft, comfortable bedding. A cold environment worsens arthritis symptoms, while hard bedding is likely to increase pain in stiffened joints.
- Avoid any injury to the joints of your Doxie. The injury may aggravate the damage to a joint, accelerating arthritis progression. Limit his activities to low-impact exercises that are essential to keep joint muscles stronger.
- You may go for arthritis medications suggested by your vet.
- Herbal supplements, such as turmeric, can help reduce symptoms of arthritis in Dachshunds. An adequate intake of antioxidants and Vitamins C and E provides lubrication for joints, making cartilage smooth and safe from degeneration.
- Massage the joints regularly. It promotes blood supply to the joint, reduces stiffness, and relieves tension, leading to an improvement in mobility.