As our pets grow older, many experience issues common to the aging process, including degenerative joint disease or arthritis. When a pet suffers from these diseases, mobility is often impacted, leaving an otherwise healthy, alert senior pet with a diminished quality of life. Thankfully, there are now several options for treating and managing the pain of pet arthritis.
Recognizing Pet Arthritis
Arthritis is caused by the breaking down of cartilage that protects the joints. As the cartilage wears away, the exposed bones rub against each other. As the damage continues to worsen, this condition can cause tremendous pain and discomfort for your pet.
Some signs that your cat or dog is experiencing joint degeneration and arthritic inflammation include:
- Stiff gait or limp when walking
- Pain when touched
- Avoids jumping or leaping up
- Makes several attempts to get comfortable when lying down
- Loss of muscle mass
Relieving the Pain
Arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting cats and dogs in mid-life through their senior years. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many ways to relieve pain while encouraging better mobility and wellbeing. And, since our pets are living longer lives, veterinary medicine has made extensive progress in the field of pain management and senior pet wellness.
Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center takes a comprehensive, multi-modal approach to treating degenerative joint conditions. Along with medications, we focus on nutritional support, supplements, and complementary modalities for encouraging the best possible golden years for your best friend.
Gentle Exercises and At Home Care
In addition to seeking professional veterinary care, there are things you can do at home to help increase your pet’s mobility, lessen their pain, and increase their quality of life.
Here are some effective strategies to help your pet with their arthritic condition at home:
- Soft spots – If you currently have tile or hardwood floors, consider adding carpeting or rugs to your home, since it is harder for your pet to gain traction and stability. Create a “cloud” of cozy bedding with plenty of cushioning to help your pet sleep more comfortably.
- Climate control – Older pets are sensitive to heat and cold – consider keeping your pet’s sleeping area in a room free from drafts, moisture, or excessive sun and heat.
- Mobility assistance – If your home has steps or stairways, ramps can be a great addition for pets who require mobility assistance. Many are collapsible when not in use, so no need for building or installation.
- Appropriate exercise – Some exercises are fine for dogs in the beginning stages of arthritis, such as shorter, easy walks around the block. As your pet’s condition progresses, there are still some possible forms of exercise that will keep him or her moving, like swimming in a shallow pool (supervised and with assistance).
Even though the aging process can present some new challenges and changes in your pet’s routine, you can still keep your pet healthy and happy! Through pain management and senior pet care, pain doesn’t need to plague your pet.
If you would like to learn more about senior pet wellness or pain management options, please schedule an appointment. We look forward to making your furry friend’s golden years their best yet!