Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pampering Pets With Arthritis During Colder Weather

(NAPSI)-While people who suffer from arthritis can do a lot to relieve the stiff joints and pain that often accompany colder days, pets may suffer silently.

Fortunately, there are ways that pet owners can spot signs of arthritis in pets and provide some relief.

Signs include lagging behind on walks, limping or appearing stiff after activity, a reluctance to climb steps or jump, rising slowly after resting.

If your pet begins to show these signs, there are several ways you can ease his or her pain:

• Joint supplements may help ease arthritis pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin are widely known for their roles in the support of joint health. These products generally take at least six weeks to begin to heal the cartilage, and most animals need to be maintained on these products for the rest of their lives.

Cosequin is recommended for cats, dogs and horses.

• Weight management is a major factor in joint-disease prevention. Helping pets lose excess weight will ease the pain and stress on their joints. Supplements that help with weight management include Trim Treats, Vetri-Lean and Lean Dog.

• Exercise is the next important step. Exercise that provides a good range of motion while building muscle and that limits wear and tear on joints is best. Walking on a leash, swimming, walking on treadmills, slow jogging and going up and down stairs are excellent low-impact exercises. Swimming is OK for extended periods of time and highly recommended in some cases.

• Dress for the outdoors. Keeping your arthritic pet warm may help him or her be more comfortable.

• Use products that help make your pet more comfortable. Some products such as the Bottom's Up Leash offer a hind leg support harness for dogs with hip dysplasia, arthritis or any other problem that affects the legs or spine.

• Use supplements to improve an older pet's overall health. For example, Proviable-DC is a probiotic that helps normalize intestinal function and strengthens the immune system in pets with gastrointestinal problems. Welactin provides omega-3 fatty acids to help maintain normal health, protect kidney function and help skin and coat. Dermaquin provides some of the same benefits.

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