According to various scientific studies, 20 percent of middle-aged canines and 90 percent of senior dogs have arthritis in at least one of their joints. Furthermore, approximately 75 to 80 percent of senior cats develop arthritis as well. These statistics can be quite alarming, especially for pet owners whose pets are nearing their senior years. Have you ever heard the story of John Unger and Schoep, his 19-year old dog suffering from arthritic? He took his dog for therapeutic evening swimming sessions in Lake Superior to release the pain in his dog for a moment.
Arthritis in Dogs and Cats: What to Do
Winter can be especially difficult for pets that have arthritis as their joints stiffen even more than usual. Standing and walking often becomes quite painful for them. However, there are some ways that you can help to alleviate the pain your arthritic pet may be experiencing during the winter, and they are described below:
Provide a Warm Bed
First of all, you should provide your arthritic pet with a comfortable, warm bed. This can be in the form of an orthopedic pet bed, a regular extra-cushioned pet bed or a fluffy old blanket inside a plastic dog crate. Be sure to place your pet’s bed in an area that is out of the way and free of drafts.
Invest in a Pet Sweater
Another thing you can do to help make your arthritic dog or cat more comfortable is to invest in a warm pet sweater. There are many colors, designs and sizes you can choose among, and you can find them in most any department store or pet shop. There are also many online sites that sell pet clothing; however, be sure to measure your pet before placing an order.
Cat and Dog Arthritis Treatment
Arthritis Medication for Dogs and Cats
If your dog or cat’s joints are particularly stiff, your veterinarian can prescribe such medication as anti-inflammatory drugs to help make your pet more comfortable. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and never give more than the prescribed dosage. Glucosamine supplements can help to relieve arthritis pain as well.
Maintain an Exercise Regime
While too much exercise can be painful for an arthritic pet, inactivity can make its joints even more stiff. As such, encourage regular activity by playing with your cat at least once a day and taking your dog out for a daily, short walk. When walking your dog, keep in mind that your arthritic pet may move quite a bit slower than younger pets.
Do Not Overfeed Your Pet
When arthritic dogs and cats are obese, the excess weight places additional stress on their already-sore joints. With that said, do not overfeed your pet. Additionally, do not feed table scraps to your dog or cat and limit treats to one per day. If your pet is already overweight, your veterinarian can recommend a good weight-loss diet.
Unfortunately, arthritis in dogs and cats often cannot be avoided as your pet becomes older, and the winter months can be particularly difficult on aching joints. Nevertheless, when you use the tips that are described above, you can help your pet stay comfortable during the cold months of the year.