pet arthritis treatments for cats and dogs
How do I know if my pet has arthritis?
Owners are often confused that mobility problems seem to come on quickly, sometimes almost overnight. Other times we hear from owners that don’t feel their pets are in pain at all.
We know all pets (just as all people) develop some degree of joint pain as they age.
In reality, the animal can’t tell us about their aching joints. They just keep doing their normal thing without complaint. It's only when the pain becomes severe enough that they can no longer hide or compensate that we notice there is a problem. The longer this pain has been in place, the harder it is for our medications to be effective. Early intervention is the best bet for long-term mobility and minimizing pain.
Common Symptoms of Arthritis in Pets
Symptoms associated with early mobility issues are often missed or written off as just normal aging signs. Things to watch for include:
- Slower Movement
- Sleeping more (pain avoidance)
- Decreased willingness to go up or down stairs
- Having to work harder to get onto the furniture
- Difficulty getting up or down into a seated position
- Rear legs beginning to slip out from under them
- Leaning to one side or the other to protect a sore joint
- Leaning forward more to get weight off the rear legs
How do we treat mobility issues in Pets?
There are a few very important ways to help treat arthritis in pets. We use exercise, medications and other alternative treatments.
Exercise may have to be modified, but keeping them moving is important.
Owners often wonder if Exercise is the right thing to do if their pet has arthritis. Absolutely! Strong muscles are necessary to help support the joints.
Just remember to avoid the heat, take it slow, and pay attention to your dog’s energy level. Slow gentle walks are great. A dog should always walk out in front of you or next to you. If they are falling behind, it’s time to rest and then head home.
Side note… exercise is great but part of any dog’s health is exploring the world through their nose. A leisurely walk to let them stop and sniff whenever they want is perfect.
If you need additional exercise that your dog is not capable of doing, then go out on your own first and come back for your pet’s walk afterward. It can provide you with a great cool down session that allows your dog more freedom to explore his environment at a slower pace.
You can keep cats moving, too. Remember that spreading out their food, water, and litter box can promote more physical activity.
Take their normal amount of kibble and hide it throughout the house instead of allowing them to just walk up to the food bowl. This is great for their body and their minds as it forces them to “hunt” for their food!
Medications are our primary form of treatment of arthritis in animals.
Pain medications and anti-inflammatories are the most common and effective. Joint supplements and other herbs can be very helpful as well.
Additional options include, Laser Therapy, Herbal Therapy, and Acupuncture. Please contact us for additional information!