This is Ella in her happier days before arthritis temporarily took her mobility away.
Hi, my name is Sarah and this is my story of how a neighborly visit cured my dog, Ella’s, joint pain. With so many dogs getting arthritis these days, I hope my story helps others take action before it's too late.
Your Dog May Be Suffering from Joint Pain without You Even Knowing
Does your dog suffer from joint pain?
It can be impossible to tell until it gets so bad they can barely walk.
It took me a while to realize what was wrong with poor Ella. She used to be such a hyper and strong dog. We’d go for hour long walks that would leave me exhausted, while she’d still be tugging on the leash begging me to go just a little bit further.
Well, a few months ago I noticed she’d started shaking and was having trouble walking. She had given up chasing sticks and playing fetch, but she would still chew on her bone from time to time. However, at times, Ella didn't seem to have the strength to move.
I was clueless as to what was wrong with her, so I took her down to the vet for a checkup where I discovered...
1 in 5 Dogs Suffer from Joint Pain
The vet felt around her joints and Ella’s yelps instantly told him what the problem was. The vet took off her glasses and then broke the news to me - Poor Ella had arthritis.
He said that these days it’s becoming a widespread issue for pets, with 1 in 5 dogs expected to suffer from it. And it’s not just old dogs with aged joints who are suffering. Young dogs are getting it, too, and vets often can't spot it until it’s too late.
The vet then gave me some tips, which I furiously scribbled down, on how to relieve Ella’s pain. However, the vet also warned me not to get my hopes up. Ella wasn’t a young pup anymore and arthritis can just be a natural part of aging.
Would Ella ever run again?
I was deeply upset. The thought of Ella never running around the dog park ever again broke my heart.
I knew that Ella was getting older, but she still seemed far too young to be suffering from such awful joint pain.
When we got home I patted Ella’s head, looked into her deep, loving eyes and vowed I would do everything I could to help her get better.
This is what I tried:
- Cutting back on processed kibble and switching to a high protein diet
- Massaging her joints with heated pads every evening
- Getting a whirlpool bath for her to exercise in without the impact of walking on the sidewalk
- Taking her for acupuncture (that must have been a strange experience for her)
- Putting rugs on the floor to make it easier to walk on
- Keeping her nails clipped
- Getting an orthopedic bed that was softer for her to sleep on
These steps may have helped relieve her pain, but from what I could see, her arthritis was getting worse by the day.
What else could I do?
Then we received an unexpected visit...
Ella Looked at Her, Hoping She’d Magic the Pain Away
One day the doorbell rang. Once upon a time this would have sent Ella scurrying in excitement to see who it was, but not anymore.
At the door was our neighbor, Lindsey, returning a coffee grinder she’d borrowed from me a few months ago. Lindsey had expected to see Ella jumping up to say hello and was puzzled when she was not met with her kisses. She turned to me and asked what was the matter?
I explained how Ella’s arthritis had got so bad that she now spent her days lying on her bed feeling miserable. Concerned, Lindsey asked if she could see her.
When Ella saw Lindsey she lifted her head and wagged her tail, but other than that, she barely moved. Lindsey then leaned down and felt her joints. Ella didn't yelp this time. She just looked up at her sadly as though she was silently wishing Lindsey could magic the pain away.
Unfortunately, Lindsey didn't have magic powers. And after she left, all I could do was sit and stroke Ella wishing there was some way I could help.
A Strange Bag with Three Bottles
The next day the doorbell rang again. It was Lindsey holding up a bag. She passed it to me saying, “Give Ella one of these every day for the next few months and fingers crossed it will relieve her pain.”
Puzzled, I looked in the bag. Inside were three plastic bottles. They were supplements for joint pain. I'll be honest, any hope I’d felt then vanished.
I've always thought supplements are little better than magic beans. Any benefits they held were all in the mind (although that can be a powerful thing). But having tried everything else, I thought ‘what they heck, it’s worth a shot.’
Last Chance Saloon
I actually forgot to give them to Ella for a couple of days. After Lindsey had left, I shoved them in a kitchen cabinet without even thinking.
However, when I found them again I thought of how upset Lindsey would be if I didn’t at least try. So I unscrewed the bottle and held one out to Ella. She gulped it down and actually seemed to like it, so I started giving them to her with her breakfast.
Now, it took at least six weeks before I noticed any major difference. By this stage, I was halfway through the second bottle and had already given up hope.
But Ella’s condition had started to change.
Gradually, she seemed to be getting more active. She had started walking around the house more, instead of lying in her bed all day.
I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I did start to wonder whether her joints were beginning to heal.
Joints Need Nutrition to Repair Themselves
The big change came when the doorbell rang one day. Ella barked, got up from her bed, and hurried to the door.
It was Lindsey again checking in to see how Ella was doing. Seeing her jumping up to say hello was all the proof she needed that the supplements had worked, but I could tell Ella wanted to show off her new found energy and strength, so off to the park we went!
Lindsey was delighted, but she wasn't surprised. She said that dogs are no different than humans when it comes to their joints. By nourishing their ligaments and cartilage with key nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin they can start to repair themselves.
Lindsey advised me to keep giving her the joint support supplements to help keep her arthritis at bay so her joints could keep repairing themselves.
Give It Time and the Body Will Heal Itself
I haven’t stopped thanking Lindsey for her help ever since.
I hope I can repay the favor someday. In the meantime, I hope this article will help other dog owners know what to do if their beloved pet ever gets arthritis.
Even if your dog is a young pup you definitely will want to consider giving them a puppy formulated joint supplement. In fact, I highly recommend a proactive joint care plan to prevent your dog from experiencing the same pain my Ella had to endure at her age.
Just like with us people, there currently is no cure for canine arthritis, so it’s a good idea to ensure your furry family member is getting the essential nutrients that may be missing from their daily diet.
It just makes sense that if you feed their joints with the right nutrients, like glucosamine and chondroitin, they can repair themselves and heal over time. Just remember, you need to be patient. If your dog has severe arthritis like poor Ella, it may take a couple of months before you notice any major improvement.
The supplements I give Ella are Vets Preferred Advanced Joint Support (the ones Lindsey gave me).
While there are a lot of joint supplements to choose from, Vets Preferred supplements are vet formulated, so you know it has all the nutrients dogs need for healthy joints at any age. These key nutrients include glucosamine, which helps build new cartilage and chondroitin, which blocks destructive enzymes that break down cartilage.
Vets Preferred Advanced Joint Support also includes MSM to help form connective tissue and repair your dog’s joints, tendons, and ligaments (thank Lindsey for explaining the science behind it because I sure didn’t know what all of those things meant).