Just like their human parents, dogs can experience joint pain and arthritis.
Although dogs can’t describe their pain, it’s generally easy to diagnose arthritis in dogs if you pay attention to their behaviour.
Dogs with joint pain will move slower, be less likely to jump up (on people or furniture), and will exhibit these signs of discomfort more during bad weather and wintertime.
What’s causing this pain? And what can you do about it?
Keep reading to find out.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis most often manifests as osteoarthritis. The simplest way to describe it is as “wear and tear” on the body.
It’s characterized by the erosion of cartilage between bones. It occurs most frequently on the weight-bearing joints, such as those in the knees, ankles, pelvis and spine.
Keep in mind that injury can also lead to early-onset arthritis. If your pet broke a bone near one of these joints, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the first signs of arthritis.
Why Is Arthritis Worse During The Winter?
For people as well as pets, arthritis seems to get worse during the winter months. Doctors don’t know exactly why yet.
One theory is that it has to do with the cold contracting surrounding muscles. This puts tension on joints.
It could also be caused by a drop in air pressure. This can cause tissues to swell and the inflammation to increase the pressure in the joint. This leads to higher levels of pain.
In fact, some people claim they can predict the weather based on their arthritic pain levels.
But as for a definitive answer, we don’t know.
How To Ease Your Dog’s Arthritic Pain
To help out you and your pup navigate the pitfalls of arthritis pain, we’ve put together our top three MUSTS for you.
Follow these and your pal will be forever grateful.
1. Keep Your Dog Active
It’s important to keep your dog active. The city has a number of off-leash areas that can help with this.
Before you take your dog there, though, be sure to get a dog tracking microchip for your dog. Even in a fenced-in area, you never know.
Be careful about pushing your dog too quickly if they’ve been languishing too long though. You don’t want them to be in pain the next day (like you would be from a too-strenuous workout).
If you’re out of shape, you don’t start by running a marathon. You ease into physical activity. The same goes for your dog.
Helping your pet to stay active helps the mobility in their joints. If it’s too cold outside, consider getting them set up on your home treadmill to keep them moving in the winter.
Part of the reason for staying active is that you want to be sure they’re getting enough exercise that they don’t become overweight.
Which brings us to our next point.
2. Keep Your Dog At A Healthy Weight
Overweight pets have a higher instance of arthritis. This is because the added weight puts more pressure on their joints. As well, they seem to feel the pain more than dogs who are at a healthy weight.
It’s for this reason that it’s important to keep them active. However, you also want to be sure to be feeding them the best food for their needs.
Speak to your vet about what type of food is the best option for your pet.
You may need to try out several different ones. Although dogs aren’t as finicky as cats, they can still be picky about their food.
Sometimes you can contact the companies directly to have them send you samples. This is a great option until you find the one that’s best for your pet’s preferences and nutritional requirements.
3. Keep Your Dog Warm
Warmth is a wonderful way to ease your pet’s arthritis pain. This is especially true in winter, although sometimes it’s needed all year round.
Consider getting them a nice warm vest or jacket for when you’re taking them for walks.
When they’re at home, invest in a pet-specific heating blanket. That way they have somewhere to go when they need some comfort and respite.
Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital
Have you noticed your pet has started limping? Are they wincing while active? Are they becoming less active in general?
If so, reach out to Bickford Park Animal Hospital.
We’ll help you with a custom strategy to ensure your pet is being well taken care of.
Call now to book your pet’s next appointment with Bickford Park Animal Hospital. Leave your beloved pet’s health in our experienced and friendly hands.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.