Tips for Managing Arthritis and Joint Pain in Aging Pets

Furlicks . @ 2023-10-11 00:42:15 +0530

Aging isn’t easy, neither for us nor for our fluffy pets. It brings with it a host of problems, from digestive issues to poor bone health. A prevalent disease among senior pets is arthritis. It is an inflammatory disease that is caused by loss of cartilage, excess weight, wear and tear on joints, and aging. Impaired joint movement can hinder their peaceful lives and cause agonizing pain with every step. The worst part is that arthritis is irreversible and incurable. The only option left for us is to manage the symptoms of arthritis in the best way possible. For all pet parents with senior dogs, here’s a quick guide filled with tips and remedies to manage arthritis in pets.

How do you identify if your pet has arthritis? 

The pain caused by arthritis is uncontrollable, so it’s not difficult for pet owners to notice that their pet isn’t doing well. Some common signs that you need to look out for if you have a senior pet are: 

  • They might not allow you to touch them because it hurts.
  • If your pet no longer loves long walks.
  • You might find your pet exhausted and weak throughout the day.
  • They might refuse to stand for long periods.
  • They might find it difficult to leap on your couch or their bed.

Please take your pet to the veterinarian for a diagnosis if you detect any of these behaviors. 

Tips to manage arthritis in pets

After examination, if it turns out that your pet has inflammation near the joints, you can be sure that they have arthritis. Most vets will prescribe a dose of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which are anti-inflammatory drugs that help reduce inflammation and the pain caused by it. Although this method is effective, it has been observed that these drugs can lead to side effects like irregular bowel movements, changes in appetite, lethargy, and even ulcers in the intestine in some pets. 

  1. Start giving them supplements.

Regular pet food might lack certain nutrients that are crucial for pet joint health. This is why joint health supplements are a good alternative. When buying supplements, look for natural supplements that are more compatible with the pet’s body and are less likely to cause any side effects. 

Some ingredients that your supplement for arthritis in dogs & cats should have are:

MSM: Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for dogs and cats is a naturally occurring supplement used to support joint health and alleviate conditions like arthritis. It's believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping to manage discomfort and promote mobility in pets.

Collagen: As pets age, their natural collagen production decreases, increasing their vulnerability to joint-related problems like arthritis. Supplementation with collagen can furnish the essential components needed to support joint health, potentially postponing the emergence of arthritis symptoms. Collagen also contributes to synovial fluid production, which lubricates joints for smoother movement and reduces friction between bones, potentially preventing arthritis. Additionally, collagen's potential to sustain cartilage health could diminish the risk of cartilage deterioration, which also helps delay the onset of arthritis. 

Boswellia Serrata: Also known as Indian frankincense, Boswellia Serrata is a popular Ayurvedic medicine known to treat inflammation. It works in a similar way for pets. It reduces inflammation in muscles and also helps regenerate cartilage, thus elevating the symptoms of arthritis. 

Chondroitin sulfate: Since chondroitin is a component of animal cartilage, consuming it can help you stop cartilage deterioration. Besides, it can also help your pooch get rid of that excruciating pain. 

  1. Try massage therapy 

We all love a good massage that relaxes our muscles and stimulates blood flow. Massage therapy can also be used for dogs and cats to relieve joint pain. Once a day, you could give them a decent massage and help with stretching their body. This should help them move around with ease over time. If you don’t know how to massage your pet, you can get help from professionals in the beginning and then continue to do it yourself. 

  1. Weight loss regimen

Excess weight is one of the major causes of osteoarthritis in dogs and cats. You can start a weight management program for your pet by consulting a professional. Since movement is restricted, 10-15 minutes of walking three times a day should be more than enough. 

  1. A certified physical rehabilitation program

A rehabilitation program for dogs involves a lot of exercises and activities that can help your dog restore its flexibility and mobility and also help reduce pain. It might also include alternative therapies like massage and acupressure. If you are considering this, please make sure you reach out to a professional about this program. 

  1. Exercise 

Exercise is a must to lower the pain associated with arthritis. It helps induce flexibility in stiff muscles and also helps your pooch lose some of those extra pounds. For seniors, low-impact exercises like walking and swimming are recommended. 

  1. Use orthopedic beds

Orthopedic beds are specially designed beds that give support to the bones and joints of your pet. Although a bit expensive, these beds really help your dog or cat have a good night’s sleep without being accompanied by constant pain. 

  1. Support their daily activities.

Joint pain can hinder all your pet's basic daily activities. They may not be able to climb onto their bed or bend down enough to eat from the food bowl. Support their daily activities until they are able to walk and run freely using their own four limbs. For example, you could attach small stairs that lead to the bed and even use an elevated food bowl. 

Wrapping Up

Aging is a part of all our lives that is hard to escape. You’ll most likely be dealing with arthritis in your pet sooner or later. You can make use of these tips even if your senior pet has not yet been diagnosed with arthritis. Things like bone health supplementation, massage, and exercise can help you delay the onset of arthritis.