Helping your Arthritic Dog

Revised: March 23, 2022
Published: December 01, 2009

Many products may be helpful for dogs with weakness, especially rear leg weakness. These products may be available through your local pet supply store, various internet sources, or your regular veterinarian’s office. They may facilitate the lifestyle you and your dog enjoyed prior to arthritic limitations.

Photo courtesy of Depositphotos

If you think your pet might require more intensive aid, visit our page on Paralyzed Dogs: How to Care for Them for more information, including a discussion of carts and “doggie wheelchairs.”

The products discussed here are examples and are not all-inclusive. Many companies make the same type of products for disabled dogs.

We can’t vouch for any of these products or their companies, but if something seems like it may be helpful for your pet, please research it further or contact the company directly and find out for yourself.


Slippery floors are trouble for the weak dog. Many a dog can exhaust himself trying to rise on a hardwood or tile floor. Rubber shoes for dogs have been used to protect the paws of performance and rescue dogs. They also help with negotiating slippery floors. Since the introduction of boots, other products have been introduced to support mobility on slippery floors such as paw friction pads and toe covers that help grip.

Other items useful for slippery floors are rubber bathtub mats and yoga mats. These frequently provide the necessary friction for mobility.

Handles and Special Leashes

Photo courtesy of Depositphotos

Some dogs simply need help getting up and we don’t all have the strength to keep dog-lifting several times a day. Fortunately, special handle-harnesses or slings are available to assist in raising up the back or front of the patient, whichever end needs help.

Raised Bowls

When the food and water bowls are located on the floor, it may be hard for a dog to lean down to reach them. Your dog may not be able to steadily bend his elbows and knees slightly so as to reach the food without becoming weak and having to lie down. And then it may be all the more difficult to stand up again.

Providing raised bowls allows your dog to maintain a standing position and be able to reach the food and water.

Orthopedic Bed

Photo courtesy of Depositphotos

Not all beds are created equal. Look for supportive, orthopedic foam beds rather than just a fluff-filled bed. 

Pet Ramp

Consider getting a ramp for your dog to get in and out of vehicles. This may be more comfortable for you and your dog than trying to lift them in or out when they are no longer able to jump. If your dog spends time with you on the bed or couch, the ramp may be helpful for them as well.

VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email

Information and opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the author and are independent of the VIN News Service. Letters may be edited for style. We do not verify their content for accuracy.