January Is Walk Your Pet Month
Walking your pet is a great way to keep them moving and to increase your bond with one another. It is also an excellent way to monitor their movement. This is especially important as your pet grows older since geriatric conditions such as arthritis are becoming more common.
Arthritis is a general term for joint abnormalities, particularly when the cartilage between the joints progressively wears away. The cartilage is a cushion that protects the joints during movement. Over time, this degeneration causes discomfort and pain. That pain can impact mobility and lead to lameness when left untreated.
While older pets are more likely to have arthritis than young pets, it is often caused by joint damage from a previous injury. Over time, told injuries are aggravated by inflammation. This, along with progressive degeneration of the joint, results in pain. Arthritis can affect one joint or multiple joints.
Arthritis Is a Common Ailment
Arthritis impacts both cats and dogs. 45% of all cats and 90% of cats over age ten are affected by arthritis in some way. One in five dogs will experience arthritis in their lifetime. As with cats, arthritis is much more likely to occur in dogs over 10.
Among dogs, arthritis primarily affects the hips, elbows, shoulders, knees, wrists, ankles, and spine. Cats with arthritis are usually involved in the shoulders, hips, elbows, knees, and ankles.
If your pet is gradually slowing down or moving awkwardly, it may be an indicator of arthritis, especially if your pet is in its senior years or has experienced an injury at some point in its life.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
Common symptoms of arthritis in dogs and cats include:
- Limping or favoring one leg
- Difficulty moving
- Disinterest in play
- Failure to use the litterbox
- Aversion to handling
- Muscle atrophy
- Joint swelling
- Licking or biting the affected joint
- Irritability or aggression
- Seeming to be in pain
Arthritis can be painful and debilitating, and as the condition progresses, the pain will increase. Be sure to follow up with your veterinarian or specialist if you notice any changes in how your pet behaves or moves.
The Effects of Pain on Your Pet
Pain can compromise the quality of your pet’s life. They may need help to do certain activities. This can be frustrating for them and even lead to changes in their personality. It may be difficult for your pet to be with other animals in the home because they can’t keep up with them. Your gentle, arthritic pet may even become aggressive.
Because moving is painful, they no longer get the same amount of activity and often become obese. This increases their risk of heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes. And the extra weight puts added stress on your pet’s joints.
Caring for Your Arthritic Dog or Cat
Arthritis is not curable, but it is manageable. You can do several things to improve your pet’s quality of life, including pain management with medication and lifestyle changes. If your pet is overweight, shedding some pounds can reduce the impact on unstable and painful joints.
In addition, there are things you can do to make your arthritic dog or cat more comfortable and reduce the effects of arthritis pain.
- Purchase an orthopedic pet bed.
- Provide additional blankets or padding to your pet’s bed to add more support.
- Keep your pet’s daily needs (food, water, litter box) on your home’s first floor for easy access, away from drafts.
- If you have a large dog, raise its food and water bowls to be more accessible.
- Offer your pet a therapeutic massage.
- Help your pet gain or maintain a healthy weight through diet and low-impact exercise.
- Provide ramps to help your pet get up steps or onto a favorite couch or chair.
- Keep your pet’s nails trimmed.
- Place non-stick rugs or carpets over slippery tile or wood floors.
Supplement Your Pet’s Therapy with EVA
Along with these ways of helping your pet, some supplements can help. Elk Velvet Antler has made a tremendous difference in the lives of cats and dogs like yours. EVA is the only source that has naturally occurring glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid known for supporting joint and bone health. Learn more about some products that may help your pet’s mobility.
Elk Velvet Antler Mobility Supplement For Dogs is Wapiti Labs’ natural blend of Elk Velvet Antler (EVA) and traditional herbs. It is formulated to support positive joint function and help maintain joint mobility for dogs.
Elk Velvet Antler Vital Supplement for Cats is Wapiti Labs’ natural blend of Elk Velvet Antler and traditional herbs. It is formulated to support cats’ liver and kidney function, joint flexibility, and mobility. It also supports connective tissue health.