There are several things you can do to help your older Maltese in terms of mobility and comfort.
Steps and ramps.
Place pet steps and/or ramps up against sofas, chairs, and other furniture that your dog likes to rest on.
Provide a proper orthopedic (memory foam) canine bed.
Dogs with arthritis require proper support for sore joints, and since older dogs will rest and sleep in increasing amounts as they age, a good bed is a must for preventing pressure-sores. One like the PetFusion Ultimate Solid Memory Foam Bed for Small Dogs
is a superior, quality memory foam bed that is ideal sized for Maltese. It's washable, as well, which is a big plus.
3. Check for drafts. Ensure that your dog does not rest or sleep near cool drafts.
Prevent slipping, by placing skid-free rugs on hardwood floors and routinely applying a quality paw wax like Musher's Secret
for help with traction.
Keep up with exercise.
When a dog is feeling stiff from arthritis, staying house-bound can exacerbate the problem. With your vet’s ‘okay’ one or two ‘easy’ walks per day can help loosen up joints and improve mobility.
This may include massage (a certified canine massage therapist can show you the technique to perform at home), and/or gentle placement of warm compresses to the affected areas.
Offer daily supplements.
While supplements cannot reverse structural damage to bones, glucosamine and chondroitin with MSM and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can help the body repair cartilage, attract proper levels of fluid into tissue around the joints for healthy shock absorption and lubrication and also supply nutrients to the cartilage, maintain proper function of blood vessels, and reduce pain and inflammation.
For this, Doggie Dailies Advanced Joint Supplement
is an excellent choice. This is made in the USA with quality ingredients, has additional omega-3 and 6 for skin and coat health (always a concern with older Maltese), and is formulated into tasty little chews.
In addition, Omega-3 fatty fish oil (DHA and EPA) can help with pain and inflammation. Several types of oils contain omegas including flaxseed, canola, walnut, and soybean. These only provide omega-3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). However, you will want to offer omega-3 EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are the most effective types for arthritis-related discomfort.
Omega-3 EPA and DHA is derived from fish. Preferably, you’ll want this to be from wild fish and a liquid formula is one of the easiest to offer as it can be mixed into meals. Most dogs find the scent and flavor exceptionally appealing. We recommend Zesty Paw's Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, which comes with a pump, making it very easy dispense.
There are medications and other alternative treatments, so be sure to discuss all of these with the veterinarian:
• Adequan injections. Adequan is an FDA approved injectable disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) for canines that helps repair cartilage. It can be expensive, and typically needs to be injected twice per week, for up to 4 weeks. However, many owners report improvement with few side effects.
(non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Rimadyl) can help with pain and inflammation. This will need to be overseen by the veterinarian for proper dosing and careful monitoring of potential side effects, including but not limited to organ damage.
such as prednisone may be given; this can only be given short-term without risk of severe side effects. Even short-term, there may be changes in thirst or appetite, and risk of susceptibility to infections. A dog will need to be carefully monitored.
such as tramadol (a synthetic opioid); this is typically reserved for instances of severe pain and after other treatments and medications have proven ineffective. Gabapentin (a medication for nerve pain) can help as well.
• Class IV therapeutic laser,
is an alternative treatment that works to stimulate blood flow to tissues.
- This may help with pain management and is a widely accepted alternative treatment. Many canine acupuncturists will use scented oils and soft lighting to help a dog relax. Then, tiny needles are inserted just barely below the skin into key points of the body; most dogs tolerate this well. A session can last from 5 to 20 minutes.
involves regular injections of dextrose (sometimes with lidocaine and/or vitamin B 12), meant to stimulate cell growth and strengthen joint tissue.
A Final Word
If your Maltese is an older adult, yet not quite a senior (6 to nearing 8-years-old), it is time to start taking steps to prevent issues that are very commonly seen among senior dogs. If your Maltese already a senior, it's vital to never accept arthritis as something that must be tolerated; there are many steps you can take to dramatically reduce discomfort and improve mobility, so that your Maltese can enjoy his/her later years, as is quite deserved.