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Help Your Pets Manage Arthritis in Winter

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

As our weather starts to cool down ❄️ it’s a good time to start thinking about how it can affect 🤔 our pets. Much similar to humans, pets can also experience aggravation of joint pain 😫 when winter starts to creep up.🌨

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a chronic and progressive disease in which the cartilage between the joints degenerates. 🦴 This degeneration causes pain, stiffness and swelling in weight bearing joints like the shoulders, hips, ankles, knees and spine. 🦵🏼

The most common form of arthritis for both pets and humans is osteoarthritis and is most commonly seen in older pets.👵🏻🧓🏼 Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs, it affects 20% of dogs over 1 year of age and is in the top 10 health problems diagnosed in dogs over 7 years of age. 🐶

Why does cold weather affect joints?☃️

There have been no official studies done in humans or pets to tell us exactly why our joints act up during cold weather 😮.

However, it is theorised that bodies conserve heat 🔥 and send more blood 🩸 to the centre of the body where vital organs lie. This in turn makes the blood vessels in extremities constrict and this lack of blood flow makes joints and muscle more stiff. 🐶🐱

The other common theory is that the change/drop in barometric pressure 🌡 can cause an inflammatory response in joints which leads to stiffness and pain.😟

What are some Common Symptoms of Arthritis?

  • Lameness

  • Struggling to get up

  • Yelping when touched

  • Reluctance to walk, play or climb stairs

  • Lagging behind on walks

  • Licking affected joints

  • Reluctance to groom (mostly in cats)

  • Dragging back legs and worn toenails

What steps can I take for my pet?

Mange your pets weight - It is easy in winter to move less 💤 and eat more comfort foods 🍽 so it is incredibly important to keep your pet at their correct weight ⚖️. These extra kg’s put extra pressure on a pets joints which can exacerbate already existing stiffness and pain.

Joint Support Foods - Specialty Veterinary diets 🍽 are available for your pet to help support them as their joints age. Royal Canin Canine Mobility C2P+ 🐶 or Royal Canin Feline Mobility Support 🐱 are both great examples. These diets are formulated to improve mobility, control body weight and reduce joint inflammation. 💪🏼

Keep Your Pet Moving - Regardless of weather your pet still needs to keep moving 🏃🏻‍♀️to keep their joints lubricated. Keeping exercise regular but in small tolerable amounts is essential. 🐾This is also a great way to help keep your pet in shape.💕

A Comfortable Bed - Orthopaedic beds 🛏 are a great idea for older pets and are readily available for purchase online 💻. These specially designed beds are commonly made with memory foam to help support your pets weight and relieve pressure while they rest. 😴

Keep Warm - Coats, jackets and lots of warm blankets 🧤🧥to snuggle up in are also a must during cold weather if your pet will tolerate being dressed.⛄️

Supplements - The most widely used supplements 💊 in pets are Chondroitin and Glucosamine. These two supplements are paired together as they are effective in pain reduction, joint inflammation reduction, joint repair and increased joint mobility. 😺 There are many other joint products available so please contact us if you are struggling to find the best one for your pet. 🐕🐈

Medications - The most common medications prescribed for arthritic support are NSAIDs 💊 (Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs). These are a prescription medication so if you feel your pet needs extra assistance during the cold months give us a call 📞 to chat about treatment options.

Injections - Cartrophen arthritis injections 💉 are another commonly used therapy to help support arthritic dogs. This injection works by preserving joint health, stimulating cartilage production, increased blood supply 🩸 to the joints, inhibitors cartilage degrading enzymes and provides relief from clinical signs of Osteoarthritis. 🥰 The initial schedule is a course of 4 injections given a week apart. If you feel this treatment option may work for your pet please contact us to organise an appointment.

Non-Traditional Therapy - Things like hydrotherapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, and therapeutic massage can offer relief. It is however, incredibly important to consult your veterinarian 👨🏼‍⚕️👩🏻‍⚕️ before seeking these options so they can refer you to qualified and trained professionals.

We all want our fur babies to be comfortable and free from pain 💓 so if you suspect your pet may be suffering from arthritis, speak to our team on 3288 1822 about starting an arthritis management program that best suits your pets’ needs.🐶🐱

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