How to take care of your dog with joint pain during the cold months

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Cold weather often puts a spring in the step of frisky young dogs. But for older dogs with painful joints, the drop in temperature makes it difficult to move around. Frequently dismissed as a normal part of a dog’s aging process, joint stiffness can be a sign of osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD).

5 Signs Your Dog May Have Joint Paint

Dr. Jeff Weber, DVMcreated a list of 5 questions that might indicate your dog needs to see a vet for chronic joint pain:

  1. Does your dog slow down?
  2. Does your dog have more trouble handling the stairs?
  3. Does your dog jump onto the sofa or bed with less vigor and ease than before?
  4. Would your dog now rather take a 5 minute walk than his usual 20 minute walk?
  5. Does your dog look sore first thing in the morning?

Diagnosing a dog’s joint problems will give you a plan to save mobility and reduce pain, especially in cold weather. DJD destroys the cartilage surrounding the joints, causing joint inflammation and limiting the dog’s range of motion. Small dogs tend to develop DJD in their spine and knees, while large dogs are often affected in their hips or shoulders. The disease is progressive, but with regular exercise and medication, a dog can live relatively comfortably with the effects of arthritis.

Exercising in cold weather

Cold weather makes joints with DJD even stiffer and more painful. Taking walks twice a day helps reduce inflammation in arthritic dogs and is highly recommended by veterinarians. You may not like the idea of ​​a brisk winter walk, but to maintain strength and keep your dog mobile, it’s important to keep the muscles moving.

Your dog may be more comfortable outdoors in a sweater or coat. Start with short walks; prescribed exercise is more about regular activity at least twice a day than distance.

Joint pain treatments

In addition to regular exercise, your veterinarian may recommend canine anti-inflammatory medication, pain reliever, and physical therapy. Your dog may be offered hydrotherapy or laser treatment at the vet, and you may be given gentle massage techniques to use with your dog. at home.

Keeping your dog at optimal weight will help delay the onset of osteoarthritis and DJD. Carrying extra pounds is particularly hard on the joints; maintaining overall health will help your older pup stay happy and active.

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