Pet health: Ease those creaky joints!

Pet health: Ease those creaky joints!

There is nothing better at the end of a winter’s day than sliding on our fluffy slippers and thick dressing gowns and snuggling up for a night in. But, what about our four legged friends?

At every age, cold weather and dampness can make a dog more prone to illness, more affected by joint pain and unsettled from not being able to relax into a cosy corner.  

Even with their fur coats, dogs feel the cold and this is especially true for those with short hair. Joint pain and arthritis become more painful for older dogs in cooler weather.  

These conditions are difficult to identify in animals as they develop slowly; dogs tend not to complain or show symptoms until the condition is advanced. Limping and difficulty in jumping or using stairs is an obvious indicator of arthritis as is a reduced willingness to move  and obvious pain after exercise. 

Helping your dog enjoy comfortable senior years can be approached on a number of different fronts. 

Around the house: Whether small or large, take a look at where the pet’s bed is placed. For extra comfort, ensure that the bed is raised off the ground as this will prevent cold concrete, timber or tiles from making the bottom of the bed cold as well. Outdoor kennels should also be raised off the ground even if only bricks underneath and ensure that the timber is not damp and that the roof and walls are waterproof. Microwavable disks or snuggle pads are safe to use overnight in outdoors kennels. Small dogs may also enjoy an igloo-style bed with a heated snuggle pad or will also appreciate an extra blanket in the bed. Outside, your dog may find a gently sloped ramp easier to negotiate than steps.

Body work: Many arthritic dogs appreciate muscle massages, which stimulate blood flow to atrophying muscles. Certified canine massage therapists are available in most areas of the country Warm compresses over sore joints can be soothing, but care must be used to avoid injury from excess heat.

Exercise: Maintaining mobility through reasonable exercise is important regardless of a dog’s age and the extent of her arthritis.

Complementary therapy: Many arthritic dogs can be made more comfortable and more mobile by acupuncture. Alternative veterinary practitioners sometimes prescribe formulations of Chinese herbs to support the benefits of acupuncture.

Laser: Class IV therapeutic laser is a newer form of treatment that stimulates blood flow to tissues and can greatly improve arthritic conditions. Here’s to long, happy and comfortable lives for all our dogs!Original article published in RCA Villages' Evolve Autumn 2018 magazine.

Photo by Aaron Andary on Unsplash

This article was originally published in RCA Villages' Evolve Winter 2018 magazine publication.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of a move to a modern retirement village around Melbourne. Booking a tour at one of the RCA Villages around Melbourne can be a great place to start. Visit the website of the village in the region you would like to visit for contact details.

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FAQs: As a resident, do I have any say in setting retirement village service and maintenance fees?

FAQs: As a resident, do I have any say in setting retirement village service and maintenance fees?

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FAQs: As a resident, do I have a say in how the retirement village is managed?