Many humans notice that the colder weather brings with it more aches and pains than usual, and our pets are no different. Interestingly, it is not actually the temperature that affects arthritic joints but the ambient air pressure. The suggestions below may help your arthritic pet be more cosy, comfy and pain free this chilly season.
Heat makes arthritic joints happy! Keep your pet’s arthritic joints as warm as possible by:
- Ensuring bedding is elevated from the cold floor and away from drafts
- Warming their bedding by using a heat pack or a hot water bottle (Just be sure to supervise when using these or they may end up as chew toys!)
- Add an extra layer with a coat or jumper – particularly if they spend a lot of time outdoors or when going for walk. This especially useful for dogs that are old, thin or short haired.
Medication/Nutritional supplements – Talk to your vet about a four-week course of Cartrophen injections. You could also try commercially available products such as Antinol, Therabis Up and Moving, Rosehip Vital, or try homemade golden paste.
Maintaining a healthy weight – when the wind and rains come in winter, we are less likely to maintain our usual walking/exercise schedules which mean our pups get less exercise too and may be more likely to put on weight. Additional weight can exacerbate arthritic symptoms by placing increased mechanical load on these joints, so maintaining a healthy weight for your pup is especially important.
Strengthening exercises – a pet rehabilitation specialist can help provide appropriate exercises to help strengthen muscles that in turn help to support the arthritic joints.
Massages – Most people love a massage and your pup probably will too! Big joints like your dogs' hips and shoulders are prone to arthritis, so too are their paws. Massaging these areas can help to increase blood flow and decrease pain by relaxing tight muscles.
Mechanical aids – if your pup is having an issue going up/downstairs or jumping up on your (sorry, THEIR) bed, a ramp or set of dog stairs may assist.
Alternative therapies – Laser therapy and acupuncture may be also be helpful for pain management.