Sunday, February 25, 2018

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Born to Move: Five Tips to Follow for Arthritic Pets

Written by  OurHealth Magazine

The cold nose, the loving eyes, and the faithful return all describe man’s best friend. It’s no wonder we seek to offer our canine friends the best care. Many pets, especially large-breed dogs, are prone to developing arthritis. The larger the breed, the more debilitating arthritis can be. 

The climate in Charlottesville can make getting outdoors in the summer months particularly challenging, due to heat and humidity. There are a few ways to help recognize your dog(s) arthritis and creatively help him or her move more comfortably.

The most obvious sign of arthritis (in both dogs and cats) is limping. Your pet may also begin to move more slowly up steps or down hills. Usually, pets rise tenderly from laying down.

Five tips for managing your pet’s arthritis:

  1. Prevention – the best way to keep your pets from suffering from arthritis is to keep them at a healthy weight in the first place.
  2. Reduce the pounds – helping your pet lose weight reduces stress on his entire body. This may include utilizing a special type of food, removing a “free will” food options, skipping excess treats, and/or increasing exercise.
  3. Go easy – as with humans, exercise must be entered into gradually. Choose low-impact activity, with a 5-10 minute warm-up. Swimming is ideal for dogs, as are leisure walks. Avoid rough play or excessive jumping and running, which can lead to significant pain the next day, defeating the purpose.
  4. Pay attention – allow your pet to exercise in the cool of the morning or evening and keep a close watch signs of dehydration and unusual fatigue. An adequate cool down helps to reduce the heart rate and stiffness later. A good massage may also be beneficial for sore muscles, not to mention enjoyable for both you and your pooch.
  5. At last – if all natural attempts fail to alleviate your pet’s discomfort, ask your veterinarian about an anti-inflammatory medication, such as LTCI (Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator) or other safe alternatives.

For the most accurate diagnosis of symptoms and solutions, contact your regular veterinarian who is familiar with your pet’s habits and tendencies.