The cold weather can be problematic for any pet suffering from arthritis, as pain and stiffness can intensify in winter which can be an excruciating burden to deal with on a daily basis.
When cartilage between your dog’s joints degrades, this can cause painful swelling and stiffness. The simple act of moving often becomes an unbearable chore. Arthritis is more common in senior dogs, but it can affect dogs of all breeds and ages. So to reduce pain and help your dog feel more comfortable, here are a few steps you can take as those temperatures drop.
Keep your dog warm
Providing warmth is one of the most important things you can do for your dog inside and outside the home. Ensure your dog has a warm bed with extra blankets they can snuggle up under. It may also help to move their bed next to the radiator, but not too close that they’ll burn themselves. You can manage your dog’s joint pain on walks by providing a warm doggy jacket.
Another alternative is to consider a Heat Pad, like this one from Pet Remedy.
Keep your dog active
Joints and muscles can become stiff and painful without regular exercise. Keep your dog’s joints moving with short bursts of low-impact exercise throughout the day. Slippery ice, snow and extreme cold can be particularly bothersome for arthritic dogs. If walking outside is off the cards, consider booking an indoor dog activity centre or simply walk your dog around your home.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess weight puts extra pressure on joints and can affect how much pain your dog feels. Also being a healthy weight have an easier time getting around. Ideally feed your dog a species specific diet and when it comes to weight loss the ratio of carbohydrates to fats and protein matters more than calories. Ensure that your dog's food is accurately measured as it is very easy to feed too much. Ideally feed a high-protein diet to help build lean muscle, low in carbohydrates and moderate fat to ensure the appetite is satisfied. Another option is to reduce your dog's food portions (by about 5%) for a couple of weeks and see if there has been any weight loss.
Support with Supplements and lotions
There are also Supplements available which can help to reduce pain and soothe stiff joints, slow down the degeneration process of cartilage and promote the production of new cartilage.
Our Healthful Pets Joint Support tablets have been developed and approved by vets with natural ingredients to help maintain joint function but there are lots of other supplements available in tablet and powder form.
True Hemp Dog Treats are tasty chicken bites packed with natural joint supportive ingredients – a great choice to support and maintain healthy joints in a treat format.
Supplements can also be used in combination with gels and lotions such as Hilton Herb's TLC Tendon and Ligament Care to support healthy tendons and ligament and Muscle Magic to relax sore muscles or Diet'Dogs First Aid Gel or Ready Steady Go which has been specially designed to soothe and cool muscle soreness and stiffness due to minor injuries and damage or ageing joints, ligaments or muscles.
You can give your dog supplements as part of their daily routine alongside other alternative treatments and medications.
Try alternative therapies
Heat therapy, water therapy and acupuncture have been known to significantly reduce joint pain in dogs. Even to the point where they need no more additional medications. Practitioners suggest trying heated dog beds, heated coats or heated pads that can be strapped directly onto the hips. Water therapy offers low-impact exercise to help keep joints and muscles supple, while acupuncture (the same needle therapy used on us) has proven to deliver impressive results in some dogs.
Hopefully using a combination of these treatments can go a long way towards helping your dog feel more comfortable and in less pain this winter.