Arthritis is a common and painful condition that can affect cats and dogs of all ages and breeds. As a pet parent, you play a vital role in spotting the signs of arthritis in your best buddy and slowing its progression. By understanding the early signs and taking steps to manage your pet’s joint health, you can help your furry friend live a happier, more comfortable life.
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SIGNS OF ARTHRITIS
Our pets aren’t always great at telling us when they are in pain, so keep an eye out for the subtle signs of arthritis!
- Difficulty getting up from laying down
- Difficulty using stairs or jumping
- Difficulty walking long distances
- Limping after exercise
- Deterioration of hind muscles
- Reluctance to play
- Hesitant to jump to favorite spots
- Napping or resting more frequently
SLOWING ARTHRITIS PROGRESSION
Weight management is one of the most important factors when it comes to managing arthritis in our pets. Cats and Dogs of an ideal weight are healthier and live longer, so make sure the food bowl isn’t overflowing!
Proper Exercise. Exercise is very important, but we need to make sure that it’s the right kind of exercise. High-impact activities, such as running on hard surfaces or leaping high into the air, can cause issues if done too often or too young. For many of us, this is the main way our pets expel their energy and have fun, but moderation is key.
Environmental Support. Make changes around the home to help your pet deal with arthritis. Move their litter box so they no longer need to go up and down stairs, Create ramps so they no longer need to jump to get on the couch or bed, and raise food and water bowls so they are at eye level.
Check in with your vet. Regular visits to the vet can help diagnose common issues that lead to arthritis.
Joint Supplements. Supplements help with joint strength and pain and can also act as an anti-inflammatory. As always, contact your veterinarian before giving your pet any medication or supplements.
Pain Medications are commonly used to treat more severe cases of arthritis. However, it is very important to only use pain medications as prescribed by your veterinarian, as many have side effects that can be very serious.
Proper Bedding and Assistance Moving. If your pet is suffering from arthritis, keep their bed on the floor so they don’t need to jump up and down when it’s time to lay down or get up. Another option is a ‘mini staircase’ to assist them when they want to get on a higher surface, such as a couch.
A huge thank you to Virbac and Pet Honesty for donating supplements to ACC's Surrender Prevention Program!