As the weather turns cold again, you may notice your cat or dog’s arthritis causing them more discomfort than normal. Although scientific research is limited on the effects of weather on arthritis, many pet owners (and sufferers) dealing with arthritis would agree that the change of season can cause additional stiffness or pain.
There are many different types and causes of arthritis or arthritis-like symptoms, including some diseases, so it’s important to always have a veterinarian do a full exam on your pet, especially at the first sign of symptoms. Your veterinarian can recommend a course of treatment to ease his or her discomfort. If, however, your pet has long been diagnosed with arthritis, it is generally best just to create a comfortable environment for you dog or cat for the cold winter months.
Your dog or cat may be quite a bit stiffer than normal. If their joints become overly achy, they will often have difficulty getting up, moving around, or jumping. Be patient with him or her; often those stiff joints will loosen up as they move around and they will be able to move more freely. Be aware of his or her limits.
Create a warm and cozy place for them to sleep and rest. Just as humans feel achy after sleeping on a hard floor, dogs and cats too will move easier if they sleep on something soft and supportive. Many companies now offer beds made of materials like memory foam, or have a built-in heating pad, that can ease some of your pet’s pain.
The abrupt change between hot and cold weather, or when the climate is very wet and humid, can cause your pet’s joints to become swollen and tender. To help prevent this, it is important to be consistent with the treatment plan, which often includes an anti-inflammatory and/or pain medication. If your pet is experiencing signs above what is normal, consult your veterinarian. Medication given to pets are specifically formulated, and the dosage should never been changed or increased without a doctor’s okay.
If your pet has not been on a prescription but is now experiencing pain, never give him or her human painkillers without consulting your veterinarian’s office. Cats and dogs react very differently to medications, and what may be a low dose for humans can be toxic and lethal to your pet.
Above all else, keep a close eye on your pet. If a change in your pet’s mobility or attitude concerns you, do not hesitate to call our office at 503-648-1643.