In humans and animals, the aging process is very similar. The body endures a series of changes as time goes by, these changes can be influenced by many factors (job, sports, sedentary lifestyle, trauma, etc), but overall time puts us all, humans & animals, through similar changes.
The World Health Organization considers humans aged 65 and older as elderly (Beaglehole et al., 2001), so it’s safe to assume that at this age, most humans are facing similar aging changes such as arthritis. Dogs also face the same changes but at a much faster rate; unfortunately no dog has ever lived to be 65 years old, they sure miss out on the senior citizen discounts.
Dog Years vs Human Years
Surely you’ve heard the theory that states that 1 year of a dog’s life is equivalent to 7 human years; so your 3 year old beagle is finally of legal age huh? Wrong!
There are over 340 dog breeds known throughout the world, though the American Kennel Club recognizes 193 breeds. With as many breeds come just as many differences in the size and body mass of dogs, both of which greatly affect how fast a dog ages. Larger dogs typically have much shorter lifespans than the small breed dogs. This means that a 10 year old, 8 lbs Chihuahua would not necessarily be considered to be elderly, while a 10 year old, 165 lbs Great Dane would certainly be. This makes the “7 year rule” completely inaccurate.
Inquire About Cost and AvailabilityWhy does arthritis often come with aging?
Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is the one of the most common conditions affecting the aging population, both human and canine. Changes in metabolism as we age causes our muscles to lose fibers, which leads to less muscle mass. In turn, less muscle mass leads to loss of strength. Having weak muscles allows the surfaces of the joints to have more friction leading to their wear and tear. The cartilage covering the joints also degrades as we age; add more friction and the degeneration process also known as osteoarthritis or DJD has begun. The same concept applies to dogs.
There are ways to delay or slow down the arthritic process, some suggest that there are ways to avoid it altogether. What we know for certain is that rehabilitation, meaning therapeutic exercise, massage & pain management modalities, is greatly beneficial to the arthritic patient.
How do I know if my dog has arthritis?
Here are some signs & symptoms that may indicate your dog has arthritis or DJD:
Some signs & symptoms that may indicate your dog is in pain are:
How does rehabilitation help my dog with arthritis?
At Unleashed Rehab - Canine Rehabilitation & Wellness we specialize in helping the aging dog, especially those suffering from arthritis, improve and maintain their quality of life through the use of graded therapeutic exercises, soft tissue massage, and pain relieving modalities within the comfort of your home. We excel in giving dog parents the tools & knowledge necessary to ensure their dogs enjoy their golden years without the need for pain medication.
We understand you may want to learn more about how we can help your dog BEFORE setting up an appointment. We would love to get on the phone with you and answer your questions. To chat with us, please fill out a short form by clicking here.
BEAGLEHOLE, R., LUNENFELD, B., KALACHE, A. 2001. Men, Ageing and Achieving Health Across the Life Span. Geneva: World Health Organization, 63.
Zink, M.C., VanDyke, J.B. (2013) Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Ames, Iowa: John Wiley & Sons, Inc