The colder weather can bring on more pain and discomfort for arthritic pets. You can help them navigate through the rest of winter with these four tips for soothing stiff joints.
#1: Keep walkways free from ice and snow
Young pets whiz by senior dogs when venturing outdoors in icy conditions, unafraid of slipping and falling, but your older pooch will need help to keep her balance and prevent a painful sprain, so use pet-safe salt on paths where she walks. Also, clear an outdoor area where your dog has plenty of room to safely eliminate without slipping on ice or snow, as posturing to urinate and defecate may already be painful for some arthritic pets.
#2: Provide firm bedding near heat sources
Although soft, fluffy beds look appealing, they provide little support, especially for arthritic joints. As your pet lies on her soft bed, she compresses the layers of fluffy padding, essentially leaving her lying on the floor. Instead, give your older pet a firm, orthopedic bed that provides additional support and cushion. If possible, place multiple beds in varying distances from heat sources, such as vents and space heaters, to let your pet choose how much warmth she desires.
#3: Provide soothing warmth with a heated bed
Take your pet’s bedding comfort one step further with a heated bed, or add a heating pad to her favorite resting area. Check the heating element carefully to prevent burns, electrical problems, or fires. If your pet has difficulty moving, monitor her temperature and comfort to ensure she doesn’t become too warm because she can’t move off the heating pad.
#4: Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian
Senior pets can’t simply pop a Tylenol—it can kill them—when they’re feeling the aches and pains of osteoarthritis, so schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the best options for pain relief.