Maintaining excellent joint health for your cat or dog is essential to ensure they lead a good quality of life. Poor joint mobility can make it hard for them to perform simple tasks, such as bending down to their food bowl, jumping onto furniture, or being able to go on walks.
There are a number of reasons why your pet might be suffering from poor joint health, which includes, old age, being overweight, as well as trauma or injury. Joint stiffness tends to occur more often as you pet ages with dogs being more susceptible. Some large breeds of dog in particular, are more prone to developing joint stiffness.
During the colder months, joint stiffness can appear more pronounced in your pet. They may struggle to bend down to their food bowl or not jump up as much. It is especially important to support joints in senior pets, as they may feel the cold more. If your pet has had any broken bones, this may also mean they are more sensitive to the cold.
There are common signs to look out for with regards to your dog or cat’s joint health, which include:
- Your pet may rest more following exercise and show signs of stiffness and lameness.
- Your cat may sleep more and play or go out less.
- They may have an inability to perform certain tasks, such as jumping into the car or onto a chair.
- Their joints may become swollen or warm.
- Your dog or cat may bite at irritating joints.
- There may also be personality changes or increased aggression and they could become irritable.
- Heat can soothe joints, so your pet might seek out warm spots around the house, such as sunny spots, heat vents or near to radiators.
The mobility of your pet's joints can have a dramatic impact on their quality of life, such as simply having a comfortable night's sleep. Here are some top tips on how to help maintain optimum joint health for your pet:
Manage their weight
Excess weight can put pressure on joints, aim to reduce your cat or dog’s weight and keep them at a healthy weight for their breed and age.
It is important that your pet gets regular exercise to avoid stiffness and muscle wastage. Avoid long or infrequent walks and make sure your dog goes for several, short walks throughout the day. Think little and often to keep the joints mobile.
Feed your pet a good quality diet. Reassess your pet's food and consult a veterinary professional who can recommend the best diet for their needs. Raise water and food bowls if your dog or cat has difficulty bending down to them.
Keep your pet warm and avoid cold and drafty or damp conditions, which can aggravate joints. Provide a cosy warm place to sleep with enough room to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Add extra bedding for senior pets and shorthaired dogs to help pad around their joints. Try to limit stair use and jumping on or off furniture.
Help to groom your cat, when their joints become stiff. They may not be able to groom as they could previously.
Your vet may prescribe medication to reduce the inflammation and provide pain relief. A natural alternative is boswellia extract, which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, and helps to promote mobility and flexibility, as well as supporting joint structure.
Glucosamine HCL and Chondroitin are essential for maintaining healthy joints, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and synovial fluid.
Visit your vet
Regular vet visits ensure your pet’s joints can be monitored frequently and the best up-to-date advice can be given. Ensure you follow your vet's advice.
You could consider other therapies to help your dog or cat, such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. These can help to to increase circulation and mobility in your pet.
If you are concerned about your pet’s joint health you should consult your vet. They are best placed to offer advice and the best solution with regards to your pet’s health needs. Ask your vet about nutraquin+, which is specifically formulated to offer natural joint support to cats and dogs. It contains high quality key nutraient that are essential for maintaining healthy joints.