As the winter months drag on, have you started noticing that your dog is less active? Does he have trouble getting up on the furniture or going upstairs? If you’ve noticed any of these changes in your dog, you may be thinking it’s just a doggie version of the winter blues. As your local dog vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, we’d actually suggest that there is probably much more going on.
The symptoms we described above are actually all symptoms of dog arthritis. If your dog has been previously diagnosed with arthritis, chances are, the damp air and dropping temperatures are aggravating his arthritis and worsening his symptoms. If your dog hasn’t been diagnosed with arthritis, it may be time to bring him in for a checkup.
Regardless of whether arthritis is a new diagnosis for your pet or an old one, there are some things you can do to help care for your dog and manage his pain. Below are a few suggestions from your local veterinary experts:
- Help your dog maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can put undue pressure on your dog’s bones and joints. To help avoid this, make sure that your pet sticks to a healthy diet and gets an appropriate amount of exercise so he can maintain a healthy weight.
- Keep your dog warm and dry: Cold temperatures and damp air can aggravate your dog’s arthritis. During the winter months, try to keep your dog in a warm and dry environment as much as possible.
- Consider pain medications: For most dogs, caring for arthritis is largely about managing pain. If your dog seems to be in undue pain due to his arthritis and other treatments aren’t helping to relieve the pain, it may be time to consult your vet about putting your pet on pain management medications.
- Administer supplements and vitamins: Certain vitamins and dietary supplements can help your dog by increasing bone strength and improving joint mobility. However, be sure to consult your vet before adding these supplements to your dog’s care regimen.
- Make your home environment “accessible”: If your dog has a hard time getting up on furniture or going up stairs, try to make your home more accessible for your pet. Invest in step stools for getting up and down from the bed or other furniture.
- Exercise: Regular exercise is a must for managing your pet’s arthritis. Lack of mobility can actually worsen your dog’s symptoms. However, the type and amount of exercise should be determined by you and your vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.
- Get regular checkups: Keeping up with your dog’s regular checkups will help your vet be able to make changes in his care to help manage worsening symptoms or a new onset of arthritis.
If your dog is showing symptoms of arthritis, bring him in to Newkirk Family Veterinarians for a consultation. We’ll be able to diagnose your pet’s arthritis and help you create a care plan that will give you and your pet the best quality of life possible.