Our pets hold a special place in our hearts and our lives. For many of us, our pets are part of the family. They provide companionship and comfort — and endless entertainment with their antics. Which is why it’s hard when we see them slowing down and losing their zest for life.
If your dog isn’t enjoying life as much as she used to, it could be an early sign of joint or muscle problems. Unlike humans, pets don’t vocalize about the pain that comes with joint deterioration until it’s quite advanced. Instead, they avoid activities they once loved, or approach them with trepidation.
The dog who used to run downstairs to greet you when you walked in the door may stand at the top of the stairs, tail wagging, hesitant to make the trek.
Over time, avoidance of activities gives way to more overt signs of pain. That may include keeping weight off one limb, walking with a limp, or even being unable to stand.
To start, it’s a good idea to visit your vet to see if your pet has an acute condition that’s causing pain. If that’s the case, you may need expert intervention. But if it turns out that the pain is simply a result of aging or overuse, there’s plenty you can do at home to help alleviate your pet’s joint and muscle pain.
Chronic inflammation is to blame for countless ailments, and joint degeneration is no exception. To help protect your pet’s joints and control pain, it’s essential to keep inflammation in check. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs may sound like the answer, but the truth is they can worsen joint and tissue problems.
Try instead to quell inflammation by promoting gut health, reducing exposure to toxins, optimal nutrition, and supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids.
And of course, homeopathy helps to decrease symptoms and promote healing.
Fitness for Fido
Another important thing you can do to help your pet prevent and recover from joint pain is to help him stay in shape, and at a healthy weight. Extra weight means extra strain on the muscles and joints. Plus, excess fat contributes to inflammation, and as we know that’s a big factor in pain and discomfort.
Just like for us two-leggers, animals stay in shape when they’re eating right and moving their bodies. Make sure you’re feeding your pet high-quality food (which will also help with the inflammation issue), and not too much of it. When it comes to treats, less is more. Remember that you’re doing Rover a bigger favor by helping him keep extra weight off his joints than you are by giving him the momentary pleasure of another biscuit.
If your vet gives you the all-clear for exercise, it’s important to keep your animal moving – not just for weight control, but also to build strength. Well-toned muscles protect the joints and overall physical function. Physical therapy, such aquatic therapy, can also be very helpful for animals with joint pain since it can help build muscle in a low-impact environment.
Natural Joint Relief
The go-to joint supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin, are popping up everywhere – even in “senior” dog food. And with good reason. Research suggests that this combination of nutrients may slow the progression of joint deterioration in animals.
In addition, homeopathy provides welcome relief. Dr. King’s Natural Pet Dog: Muscle, Joint & Arthritis may be useful for relieving symptoms of hip, joint, and back pain; inflammation; stiffness and swelling associated with injuries or arthritis pain; lameness; difficulty rising or climbing stairs; limping or holding foot up; or weak hind legs.
No one wants to see their beloved pets suffering. Thankfully, we have at our disposal a number of ways to help our pets get in better shape, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain and discomfort. Nothing feels better than seeing a once-suffering animal regain some of the vim and vigor she used to have.