Our older fur babies often suffer from arthritis and it can be very painful for us to see. There is nothing worse than seeing our much loved family member suffering. Signs that your baby is experiencing this terrible condition include difficulty rising, limping while walking or walking very slowly, or a reluctance to walk/come, jump or climb stairs. Arthritis is usually much worse during winter, but there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the pain and support them.
Keeping their weight at a healthy level is a must. Overweight dogs and cats put a lot of excess strain on their joints, which exacerbates the condition. Ensure you are feeding your animal a species appropriate diet that is the correct amount of food for their age and activity level. If your dog or cat is overweight reduce their portion size. Raw meat and offal with a little cooked or pureed fruit and vegetables are a very good choice for dogs, with some raw bone added such as chicken necks and wings or whole carcasses. If at all possible it is of major benefit to have the food be organic and grass fed. There is some debate between 'prey model philosophy' feeders and 'BARF philosophy' feeders regarding whether to feed dogs any plant based material or not. That choice is up to you...there is an interesting article here if you would like some more reading on this.
Adding some joint support supplements can help ease your critter's pain levels. Green lipped mussel, fish oil, tumeric paste and glucosamine/chondroitin added to your baby's food can benefit them immensely.
Massage is a great way to increase circulation, which in turn helps mobilise a stiff area. It also increases your connection with your fur baby which makes you both feel good. Stroke the sore area gently while using your thumb to apply light pressure around the affected joint. Do not apply pressure directly to the joint itself.
A lot of animals who have sore joints don't want to move much, however it is important for them to maintain movement to increase their circulation and maintain muscle tone around the joint. Hydrotherapy is an excellent exercise treatment for dogs with arthritis. Active Pet Rehabilitation offers this treatment here in Perth, link here for more information on this.
With some special care for your arthritic four legged companion it is possible to ease their suffering throughout these cold winter months. Much love to you and your beautiful being!