Just as winter makes our bones and joints ache, so too does the weather impact our four-legged family members’ joints. For big dogs, such as Great Danes, German Shepherds or Mastiffs who are prone to joint health issues, the cold can add an additional layer of “ache” onto their bones. How can you help your pet lead a healthier, less pain filled winter? First you need to know the signs of arthritis. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your veterinarian for advice and for a check up for your pet.
Arthritis is at its most basic, an inflammation of the joint. The reason for the inflammation can range from a degenerative disease, an injury or trauma to the area, an infection or a congenital predisposition to the disease.
Some of the symptoms of arthritis include:
- Discomfort getting up or down
- Difficulty going up and down stairs
Be aware though that our pets will likely hide their aches and pains from us and it can be difficult to notice if something is wrong unless you’re truly paying attention. If your vet diagnoses arthritis in your pet there are many ways in which you can help alleviate some of the pain he is feeling. One of the quickest and easiest ways to alleviate joint pain is by offering your pet a Big Barker bed that is proven to provide relief to aching muscles and joints.
Here are some treatment options available to big dog or even small dogs who are arthritic:
- Provide heat therapy. You can do this by putting a sweater on your dog before you take her outside. Look for a pet-specific heating pad that you can use with your big dog bed.
- Your veterinarian may prescribe medications to take away the inflammation and pain. In many cases, the arthritis medications can allow your dog to get back to his active self, even if the snow is flying.
- Glucosomine is a medication that supports joint health and function and reduces inflammation. Ask your vet whether this is right for your pet.
- In serious cases, your vet may recommend injections in conjunction with other treatments.
- Holistic therapies such as acupuncture or massage are being sought by pet parents who don’t want to have their pets rely on medications or they use these alternative therapies in addition to medications.
- If your pet is overweight, one of the best things for his joint health is to get back into a healthy weight. Cut back on table snacks or additional treats throughout the day. If you find you can’t stop yourself from wanting to treat your pet, offer him fruits and vegetables as a healthy alternative to dog treats.
One of the best ways to keep your big dog safe and healthy this winter is to make certain he isn’t left out in the cold and snow. Even if he has a shelter if he is already suffering joint pain the cold will seep into his bones. Bring him in with the family to while away the hours in warm comfort.
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