While winter can be very enjoyable, it can also exacerbate arthritis pain for some people. Regretfully, our dogs are in the same boat. To help your dog arthritis pain during the winter, learn some helpful tips.
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Dog arthritis, commonly referred to as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, typically takes years to manifest. The cartilage in your dog’s joints deteriorates with age, causing the bones to rub against one another unevenly. Pain, inflammation, and swelling are brought on by changes in the joint.
Unfortunately, dog arthritis worsens over time due to its progressive nature. Although many pet owners believe that dog arthritis only affects older dogs, it can also manifest in younger animals following an injury, such as a torn knee ligament, or a developmental disorder, such as hip dysplasia.
Does a Dog’s Joint Damage Increase in the Winter?
The precise causes of the effects of cold weather on arthritic joints are unknown, although many people have experienced them. Winter joint pain is thought to be exacerbated by a few factors.
- thickening of joint fluid: The synovial fluid reduces the impact of movement shock. This fluid thickens and becomes less able to flow in colder temperatures, which can cause stiffness in the joints.
- Variations in atmospheric pressure, or barometric pressure. Wintertime results in lower barometric pressure. Joint tissues enlarge as a result. This most likely contributes to the pain in arthritic joints.
- A reduction in activity: Wintertime activity levels are lower in both humans and animals, which contributes to joint stiffness and pain. When the temperature drops below freezing, you might want to postpone your regular walks with your dog. In extremely cold weather, you probably won’t let your dog play outside for several hours.
- It’s crucial to remember that not everyone believes that wintertime brings on an increase in joint pain. You should keep an eye out for any changes in your dog arthritis rather than assuming it’s worse because it’s winter.
Arthritis that is getting worse includes:
Are you unwilling to exercise or play?
- Stiffness in movement, particularly when getting up from a sitting or lying down position (or vice versa)
- Walking with limping or gait
- Modifications to the way your pet sits, like leaving a leg outstretched
- Handling Your Dog Arthritis During the Winter
- You can use many of these tips for treating your dog arthritis throughout the year. Winter, however, brings some additional significant factors.
Your dog’s joints are under more pressure when they are obese. Maintaining a healthy weight can ease the burden on your dog’s joints, minimizing discomfort and delaying the onset of dog arthritis.
In the US, more than half of dogs are categorized as overweight or obese. It can be difficult for pet parents to determine whether their animals are overweight, so you should consult a veterinarian to find out if your dog is a healthy weight. If necessary, your veterinarian can assist you in creating a safe weight-loss strategy for your dog.
It’s possible that some dogs are more likely to put on weight in the winter. Winter weight gain may be caused by two things: eating more table scraps or holiday treats, and decreased activity levels.
Exercise keeps your dog from gaining weight during the winter and gives them something to think about while they’re spending more time inside. You can engage in a variety of indoor activities with your pet. Some instances are:
- Seek and hide: Playing this game with you makes a lot of dogs happy! While you go hide in another room, have them sit in one. After that, give your dog a call and let them find you.
- Puzzle games: Dogs can exercise their minds and receive rewards by working on a variety of indoor puzzles. Treats can also be thrown all over the house, where your dog can sniff and look for hidden goodies. Just be sure to use training treats that are low in calories.
- Stay away: You can toss a desirable object back and forth while your dog tries to catch it if you have another person in your house. Be careful not to always give up!
- Fetch: You can still play fetch in the winter if your house has a long hallway.
- Visit with friends: If your dog is amiable and likes to play with other dogs, you might want to take them out. Playing with other dogs can provide your dog with a great deal of exercise and social interaction. Dog daycare or play dates are other options.
You shouldn’t exert too much pressure on an elderly pet or a dog with restricted mobility. You can engage your older or less mobile dog in activities such as teaching them new tricks, having gentle tug-of-war play sessions, or practicing commands.
You can also search for a dog physical rehabilitation facility if your dog suffers from dog arthritis. Your dog will enjoy excellent indoor exercise at these facilities. Some even have treadmills submerged in water.
The following are just a few of the numerous arthritis treatments available for pets:
UNIFORMED MEALS AND NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS:
Certain prescription diets for pets are designed with the express purpose of promoting healthy joint function and lowering inflammation. To help achieve the same goal, you can also add supplements to the food that an animal eats. Nonetheless, because the diets are specifically designed with the right ingredients in the right amounts to produce the desired results, they frequently have greater success.
In more severe or advanced cases of dog arthritis, special diets and dietary supplements are unlikely to be sufficient as the only course of treatment. The earlier in the process they are started, the better, as they can be a great supplement to other treatments and even help to slow down the degenerative process in inflammatory joints. It is safe to combine this management option with the majority of other treatments.
INJECTIONS OF PENTOSAN POLYSULFATE SODIUM (OR OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS):
This product has anti-inflammatory qualities in addition to protecting and aiding in cartilage repair. Your pet will receive a series of injections as part of this treatment from your veterinarian. Combining it with the majority of other treatments is safe.
Acupuncture has been demonstrated to alleviate pain and boost endorphin release in pets with arthritis, and the majority of animals tolerate it quite well. When it comes to animals with medical conditions that make the prescription medications used to treat arthritis unsafe for them, acupuncture may help reduce or eliminate the need to use those medications. One can use acupuncture in addition to other forms of treatment.
Your dog arthritis pain and inflammation worsen if they are overweight. dog arthritis benefit greatly from low-impact exercise, such as walking or swimming (for those animals that enjoy the water!), along with a healthy diet. dog arthritis who is overweight may find it much easier to manage their condition if you can help them get to their ideal weight.
MEDICATIONS ON Prescription:
While there are alternative treatments for dog arthritis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are most frequently used. These are very powerful drugs, but keep in mind that NSAIDs have side effects just like any other drug. Particularly vulnerable animals are those with liver or kidney issues, so your veterinarian should assess your pet’s liver and kidney condition before beginning treatment and continue to do so on a regular basis while they are taking medication.
This will probably entail routine check-ups as well as blood and urine testing. Never give over-the-counter human medication to your pet! Many of the ones that are safe for people pose a serious risk to our pets. Consult your veterinarian about the best options for your pet, but if at all possible, try to minimize your pet’s need for prescription medications by using alternative methods.
- ENSURE YOUR PET IS Kept Dry and Warm, Especially in the Winter:
To keep your pet warm, coats and jackets are available, as well as cozy and even specially designed heated pet beds. Request advice from your veterinarian because not all products are safe and you don’t want to accidentally burn your pet.
- LUXURIOUS AND PADDLED RESTING AREAS: Beds (or multiple beds!) with ample padding to relieve achy joints and thermal insulation will provide greater comfort for dog arthritis. This ought to be off the ground and out of the way of any drafts, without being too high to reach.
- USE CAUTION WHEN ACTIVING YOUR PET: Older and arthritic animals may find it harder to walk on slick surfaces like ice, snow, or damp ground. They might be more likely to trip and fall. So be careful, walk slowly, and steer clear of slick spots when you walk your pet.
- MAKE GOING AROUND EASY: Most elderly and arthritic animals will find it difficult to climb stairs or descend from higher areas (like the car and onto the bed). Consequently, giving your pet a ramp or another safe and easy way to access locations they find challenging to access can be very beneficial.
There are various ways to manage dog arthritis, and combining several of the above management recommendations typically yields the best results.
The good news is that you can do a lot to enhance the quality of life for your arthritic pet with the assistance of your veterinarian!