As dogs get older, they can develop arthritis or other forms of joint pain. Joint pain in dogs can limit their mobility and make them very uncomfortable, so it's definitely not something to ignore. Luckily, there are specific things you can do to help ease your dog's joint pain and help stop it from becoming worse. Here are six tips for helping your dog when you suspect he is experiencing painful joints:

Start with a Vet Check-Up

While many dog owners notice their dog's joint pain on their own, often when a usually active dog shows reluctance to jump or run, it's very important to receive an official exam and diagnosis from your vet. This will rule out more serious conditions, help identify the exact cause and location of the joint pain, and allow you and your vet to work together on a long-term treatment and pain management plan.

Try Dog Acupuncture

Veterinary acupuncture works similarly to acupuncture for humans, triggering the body to release natural pain relievers and feel good endorphins. Acupuncture has no side effects, is very relaxing, and can relieve your dog's joint pain while also producing an overall feeling of well-being. Sometimes pet acupuncture services are combined with gentle massage for even more pain-relieving and relaxing benefits. Many vet offices are now offering dog acupuncture on-site, but if not your vet should be able to refer you to a veterinary acupuncturist.

Give Your Dog Glucosamine Treats

Glucosamine is a supplement that can help your dog by reducing joint pain and even helping your dog's body produce new cartilage. While you can technically give your dogs human glucosamine that comes in tablets (after consulting your vet about dosage instructions), a better idea is to buy glucosamine in the form of special dog treats. Glucosamine treats come in tasty flavors like venison and peanut butter, so your dog will think they are lucky enough to get an exciting daily treat, instead of a vitamin.

Upgrade Your Dog's Bed

When your dog has joint pain, it's time to upgrade their dog bed to something more comfortable and luxurious. Just like human mattresses, dog beds now come in a wide range of styles, including thick memory foam or gel that comforts their sore joints and muscles. Once your dog has a super comfortable new bed, they may no longer feel as stiff or experience as much pain after a nap.

Manage Your Pup's Weight

Carrying extra weight can make a dog's joint pain worse, so if your dog needs to lose a few pounds now is the time to work on making that happen. While your dog may no longer be up for steep hikes or long runs, a long daily walk is great exercise while still being gentle on joints.

Swimming is another excellent, joint-friendly form of exercise for dogs. Be sure to carefully measure their food and stick to the low end of the recommended serving size for their size. When calculating their daily calorie intake, don't forget to account for the glucosamine treats you're adding to their diet.

Add Dog Ramps as Needed

If your dog likes to jump up your bed or needs to climb up steep stairs to get inside the house, look into adding a dog-sized ramp (which can be purchased at online pet stores) to make it easier for them. Walking up a ramp is much easier on joints than jumping, especially when the movement is frequent and repetitive.

No one wants to see their dog suffer from joint pain, but luckily you can follow these tips to manage and treat their symptoms, ensuring many more comfortable years for your furry best friend.