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Joint Pain - How Can You Help Your Pets?

It can be heartbreaking to see our beloved pets become plagued with joint pain. It's a common problem that affects millions of pets in homes all around the world.

The colder months of the year is when joint pain occurs and makes winter an extremely uncomfortable time for many animals.

Knowing more about joint pain in pets and how to spot the signs will save your pet a lot of discomfort. The sooner you act to help your pet the faster the pain can be greatly reduced. Dr Carl explains how to stop your pet from suffering from joint pain once and for all this winter.

dog-on-couch


What is joint pain?

The general term used “arthritis” means inflammation of the joint.

There are three main forms of arthritis:

  • Septic Arthritis - caused by an infection
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis - caused by a malfunction in the immune system
  • Osteo-arthritis - degenerative, 'wear and tear' injury that develops over time.

Other joint related pain can come from knee ligament injuries, canine hip dysplasia, dislocated knee caps, and elbow dysplasia.

The causes of joint pain

Osteo-arthitis is a very common problem in animals. It is the most common type of skeletal disease affecting dogs and is mainly developed as they get older.

Dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease and diabetes are also more susceptible to arthritis. In addition, dogs that have experienced injury or trauma, including elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia, are more likely to develop Osteo-arthritis.

Cats are also affected by the arthritis with approximately 20% of cats developing the disease. Obese animals are also much more prone to developing arthritis as well as those that have improper nutrition.

Signs your pet is suffering

Observe your pet for signs of suffering from joint pain. Joint pain may cause your pet to become irritable or depressed. They may find it harder to perform physical movements such as climbing stairs, getting up, squatting, and getting into the car. Severe pain will greatly reduce the overall mobility of your beloved pet, and they may move slower and more carefully than normal.

Sad Dog

Simple ways you can help 

Ease to your pets joint pain by firstly making sure they are kept warm at all times. Cold or damp weather conditions may appear to make symptoms much worse.

Provide a warm bed and blanket for them to rest and if needed purchase a dog coat to ensure they are cosy at all times.

Keep their nutrition up to scratch. There are foods on the market that promote healthy bones so keep an eye out for these when shopping for your pet food.

You can also encourage your dog to get exercise in moderation. Definitely do not let them exert themselves, but getting them moving a little can help improve their condition.

Dog Resting on Bed 


Supplements 

Luckily, a few supplements added to your pet’s diet can help them find some much needed relief and are proven to support and maintain joint health and help in cases of Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Dr Carl recommends the following supplements:

How Do Supplements Work?

Supplements work to help your pet’s joints heal and to reduce inflammation.

Products containing chondroitin and glucosamine are ideal. The supplements also let your pet’s body become healthier rather than simply masking the symptoms and due to their natural ingredients, they are safe to use over a long period of time.

Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to relieve pain and stiffness.

MSM is helpful in decreasing pain and inflammation and also helps destroy free radicals that cause damage to the cartilage.

Another suggestion is to maintain a balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in your dog’s diet providing them with fish oil supplements.

Dog Looking Up at Person


Joint relief is definitely a case of it won't happen overnight but it will happen. The effects and visible improvements of joint supplements to the dog’s health usually take a couple of weeks to show up, but then symptoms usually continue to improve for a further 6 to 8 weeks until the maximum beneficial effect is achieved.

Some animals will require further medications such as anti-inflammatories to alleviate joint pain. If your pet requires anti-inflammatories you should visit your vet for more information.

So make sure you keep an eye on your pet this winter to make sure they are not suffering from any joint pain. If you notice they are showing signs then act immediately and do your best efforts to ensure they have the most comfortable winter possible.

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