Dogs and cats of all shapes and sizes can become victim to the painful effects of arthritis, but there are things you can do that will help ease their discomfort. Not every animal should be given medication and if that’s the case with your pet, what other options do you have? Fortunately there are holistic, or natural, ways of combating the pain associated with arthritis.
Dogs with degenerative arthritis may experience varying degrees of lameness, stiffness, and joint pain, which is more apparent in the morning and after getting up from a nap. Some dogs may even become irritable and exhibit behavioral changes. Cold and damp surroundings tend to increase the pain and stiffness.
Things that can reduce the need for arthritis medication are acupuncture, rehabilitative therapy, and chiropractic medicine to name a few. One of the first factors pet owners need to take into consideration when trying to relieve the pain of arthritis is the cat’s or dog’s weight. Excessive pounds only add to the problem and the discomfort your pet feels when moving around. “The more fat you have, the more inflammation you have,” says Evelyn Orenbuch, president of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians. “If you’ve got a joint that’s inflamed, even more of the inflammation and inflammatory factors tend to find their way there.” Here are few steps you can take to help your pets lose weight.
Other solutions to relieving the pain of arthritis are laser therapy, massages, and changes in diet (always consult with your pets veterinarian before you change their diet). The introduction of herbs, glucosamine, sardines, fish oil or other items associated with joint health can also have a significant impact on helping your pets flexibility and pain level. “When you start to talk about sardines or fish oil, you may be increasing fat in an older dog, which can be a problem,” says Susan Wynn, a nutritionist with Georgia Veterinary Specialists . “Talk to the vet if you are changing diet at all. No one has reported severe side effects with glucosamine, but talk to the vet about dosages.”