I've got a black lab going on 12 yrs. She seems to enjoy her walks and can still run, but in the mornings she seems particularly stiff and can sometimes stumble or walk with a limp. She's having a harder time navigating stairs.

She's developing arthritis, but is otherwise in decent health.

Can this be eased by feeding her specific types of food or should I talk to a vet about pain medications?

  • 2
    Where and on what does she sleep? Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 15:20
  • She usually sleeps up on a couch. But because of her difficulties, we might get her a pet bed and try to get her used to that instead.
    – Fauxcuss
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 19:47
  • My parents had some success with a heated bed for an aging Golden Retriever, for what that's worth. Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 19:49
  • I have an electric blanket. Perhaps that underneath a pet bed would work nicely.
    – Fauxcuss
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 19:52

3 Answers 3


There are several types of arthritis that can affect your dog. Some of these are very treatable, others less so. In either event, I think it is a good idea to get her looked at by a vet.

In terms of general activities/considerations as a lot of the arthritis management truisms for us apply to them1:

  1. Make sure that her weight is ideal. Heavier dogs are going to be harder on their joints than dogs at an ideal weight.

  2. Certain forms of exercise can be really beneficial, notably swimming. Swimming does a couple of things here: relieves pressure on the joints and provides non-impacting exercise.

  3. Keep her exercises less impacting in general. For example, softer surfaces for walks (grass rather than pavement) and reduce leaping around (especially jumps from heights).

In terms of medicating, I think it's best to talk the vet. There are some human medication options that can help, but best for your vet to recommend. If it is a treatable condition, then its almost certain there will be a regimen of medication to treat.

1 Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Canine and Feline (5th Edition): Osteoarthritis, Appropriate Health Care


Arthritis is a common health problem in older dogs. Arthritis comes in many ways, but the most common cause is the simple wear and tear you’re pet’s joints undergo over the years. Some things that can reduce pain for you dog

  • Good nail and foot care : Its important to keep your pet's toenails clipped properly so its normal walking and is not distorted

  • Feeding your pet calcium and antioxidants can also help ease the pain.

Some medication that can ease you dogs pain are Glocosamine, Omega-3 fatty acid, Perna, Creatine. (source)

  • 3
    Glucosamine is usually combined with Chondroitin in these instances. Many senior dog foods have them supplemented in with the feed.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 16:23

There are plenty of things you can do to help easy your dog's arthritis pain related to old age. I have a 14 year old malamute/shepherd mix and recently his hips have started to go down hill pretty fast. I keep him in an ideal weight for his size and feed him special dog food intended for older dogs. While I'm sure there are also supplements on the market for treating arthritis, one thing you can do as an owner is get the dog a harness that will enable you to take some of the burden off of your animal. I have the a rear support harness, which I love because I don't have to break my back bending down to help lift up my dog. And it's not just about lifting them.. you can use it whenever you have the leash on and hold up some of their weight so the joints are under less stress as you walk (and build your bicep at the same time! haha).

If your dog is a lab, she's probably quite big and her own weight is going to put her already arthritic joints under stress. I would look into an option like this if I were you, can't hurt to try different things!


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