Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us when they’re in pain or uncomfortable, but it would be useful if they could. I'm feeling bloated Claire , do you have something I can take? ESo, while we wait for them to learn how to communicate like the incredible Bunny the conversationalist, we must be attentive to any noticeable signals and changes in their behaviour.
In winter, especially when the humidity hits, dogs can suffer from joint problems. You’ll notice that they’re less flexible, that they have more difficulty climbing on the couch or on the bed, that they limp from time to time or that they seem to experience stiffness after a long period of rest. Like 20% of dogs, it’s possible that they have osteoarthritis.
This chronic degenerative disease is progressive, so symptoms may go unnoticed or be interpreted as a normal sign of aging. When a dog is in pain, it moves less, loses muscle mass, and its health and quality of life pay the cost.
There are solutions to prevent the disease or to alleviate the pain to avoid reaching a critical stage requiring medication that may cause side effects. The important thing is to adopt a holistic approach that combines several elements, such as:
Watch their weight
Keep your dog at a healthy weight. Being overweight puts extra pressure on the joints, which in turn wears out more quickly.
Modify their diet
Opt for joint foods or add food supplements rich in omega-3 to their daily portion of food. Omega-3s are natural anti-inflammatory drugs that strengthen the structure of the joints. On a preventive basis and under a veterinarian’s recommendation, you can also give them glucosamine, which will stimulate the cartilage cells.
Get them moving
Physical activity has a direct impact on animal health, especially on muscle mass and tone, which have a stabilizing effect on the joints. Daily walks are therefore vital, even for dogs with osteoarthritis.
Make them comfortable
To limit your arthritic dog’s suffering, give them a soft cushion and a dry, warm environment. You can also put a little coat on them when you go for walks—they love looking great!