Let’s talk arthritis, it is heartbreaking to watch your fur baby struggle to get up in the morning or resist jumping in the car for their daily outing. keep scrolling to see my 5 Ways to help your arthritic pet.
After spending 5 years in the physiotherapy and rehabilitation for small animals I’m here to give you some tips on how to help your best friend with their sore joints.
So first of all let’s talk about arthritis what is it? What causes it? How does it present itself in my pet? And lastly, how can I help them?
Arthritis is a disease-causing painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints.
Arthritis simply means ‘inflammation of the joints‘ and is a common problem for many dogs. … In dogs with arthritis, the cartilage within the joint undergoes change or damage, becoming less smooth and resulting in the bone surfaces rubbing together. This causes discomfort to your dog, as well as further damage to the cartilage.
5 Ways to help your arthritic pet.
Possible causes may include:
Injury, leading to degenerative arthritis
Abnormal metabolism, leading to gout and pseudogout
inheritance, such as in osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD)
immune system dysfunction
Signs of Arthritis
Pain, swelling and stiffness in one or multiple joints
Morning stiffness in and around the affected joints lasting at least one hour.Reduced range of motion
Licking of the joint area
Slow to rise up from a resting position
Unwillingness to walk, jump, or climb stairs
Accidents in the house
Whining, panting, or whimpering
Depression or irritation
Now that we’ve determined the how, why and how it presents itself. How can you help your pet with their arthritis?
Ways your vet can help
1. If your pet is struggling with arthritis your Vet can help by Prescribing medications to help decrease the inflammation in the joint and control the pain. Please if you suspect your animal is struggling or showing signs of Arthritis make them an appointment.
2. Dietary management, if your dog is overweight getting that weight off will help. Talk to your vet clinic staff about the diet options available, there are many options for tailored pet foods to make losing weight easy.
See my post on overfeeding in animals to get more information:
3. Nutritional supplements proven to help lubricate the joint and help rebuild joint cartilage. Your vet can advise you which supplements are best for your pet.
4. Referral to a certified animal physio/rehabilitation clinic.
5. Surgery for the various dysplasias, as outlined earlier.
Ways you can help your pet at home.
1. Book an appointment with your vet first, please if your animal is struggling pain management is of the utmost importance first.
2. Swimming! This is especially effective for dogs. It allows the animal to exercise without putting force through their sore joints. This means they can maintain muscle mass and even gain some overtime.
You can choose to take your pet to a pool facility or swim them locally.
However, avoid the beach as soft sand and gravel is hard for them to walk on and can cause more harm than good.
3. Heat – keeping your pet warm at night especially in the winter can make a big difference. You can buy specially designed heat discs, blankets and beds to help.
However, just making sure they have a comfy bed inside with a nice blanket makes a difference.
Use wheat packs over a sore joint, we do it for ourselves when we are uncomfortable and stiff, so why not your fur baby too.
4. Short walks rather than long – If swimming isn’t an option then short more frequent walks are better than long.
5. Massage – The same as we all enjoy a nice rub for our aches and pains it works for animals too. If your animal is particularly sore of has had a big swim that day consider giving them a heat treatment (with a wheat pack) followed by and nice massage on their sore limbs.
See my post on how to massage your dog:
That concludes ‘5 Ways to help your arthritic pet’.
As always Thanks for reading.
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