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Tips For Supporting Your Senior Pet's Joint Health

Tips For Supporting Your Senior Pet's Joint Health

As our pets age, they might experience joint issues that affect their mobility and overall quality of life. Like us, pets can develop arthritis and other joint-related conditions that require attention and care. There are lots of steps pet owners can take to support their senior pet’s joint health and ensure they live comfortable and active lives.  

Understanding joint health in our pets 

It’s important to recognise the signs of joint problems in senior pets. Common symptoms include stiffness, limping, difficulty getting up or lying down, reluctance to jump or climb up stairs, and a noticeable decrease in activity levels. If you see any of these signs in your pet, have a chat with your veterinarian for a thorough examination and diagnosis and they will be able to help find the best treatment plan for your pet.  

Tips to support joint health in pets: 

1. What food can help with joint mobility in pets: 

A nutritious and well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining overall health, including joint health. Consider feeding your senior pet a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce joint inflammation. Look for pet food that is formulated for joint health, these formulations can help with joint and cartilage health.  
Food such as Hill’s Metabolic+ Mobility  contains high levels of omega 3 fatty acids to help with senior joints and mobility and your pet could also benefit from an added supplement in their meals such as 4Cyte or Antinol Plus.  

2. Maintain a healthy weight for your pet:

Excess weight can put additional strain on joints, which can exacerbate arthritis and other joint conditions in our pets. If you have a senior pet, make sure to maintain a healthy weight through portion control and regular exercise. If you have any concerns or need advice on products you can consult your veterinarian for guidance on a suitable diet plan tailored to your pet’s age, size and health conditions. We also have a Ask Our Experts service where you can ask one of our qualified vet experts a question about any products or concerns you may have about your pet.   

3.Regular exercise for your pet with joint issues:

While senior pets may not be as active as their younger counterparts, regular, gentle exercise is crucial for maintaining joint flexibility and muscle strength. Low-impact activities such as short walks, swimming, and controlled play sessions can help keep joints moving without causing excessive stress. 

4. Provide comfortable sleeping arrangements for your pet:

A soft and supportive bed can make a significant difference especially in your senior pet's joint health. Look for orthopedic pet beds designed to cushion achy joints and provide support. Consider placing the bed in a warm and quiet area where your pet feels safe and comfortable. 

5. The best joint supplements for your pet:

Discuss with your veterinarian the potential benefits of joint supplements for your senior pet. Glucosamine, green lipped muscle, chondroitin sulfate, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), and omega-3 fatty acids are commonly recommended to support joint health and reduce inflammation. These supplements can be administered as treats, chews, or even added to your pet's food in a liquid form depending on the brand. 

6. Regular veterinary checkups for your pet:

Scheduling an annual health checkup for your pet with your veterinarian is a great way to ensure your pet is healthy and to catch any issues early before they become a problem. Senior pets may benefit from 6 monthly checkups depending on their overall health and any medication they may be taking. Early detection of joint problems allows for prompt intervention and management, potentially slowing down the progression of arthritis and improving your pet’s comfort. 

7. Provide pain management for your pet if needed:

If your pet is diagnosed with arthritis or another joint condition, your veterinarian may prescribe pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate discomfort and help manage pain.   

8. Physical therapy and alternative therapies for your pet:

 Physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy can be beneficial for our pets with joint issues. These therapies can help improve joint mobility, reduce pain, and enhance overall wellbeing. Discuss these options with your veterinarian to determine the best approach for your pet. 

9. Modify the environment for your pet:

You might consider adjusting your home environment to accommodate your pet’s mobility issues or help with joint discomfort. You can provide ramps or steps to help them have access to their favourite spots, such as the couch or other places where they need to jump up to access.   

10. Maintain mental stimulation for your pet:

 If your pet is suffering from joint issues that prevent them from doing a lot of exercise, but they are still a highly active breed you may consider trying some mentally stimulating activities. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders such as Kongs  and short training sessions can provide mental enrichment without putting stress on their joints. 

Caring for a pet with joint issues requires patience, compassion and proactive management. By incorporating these tips into your pet care routine, you can help support their joint health and ensure they enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling life as they age. Each pet is unique so make sure to consult with your veterinarian to tailor a plan that meets your senior pet’s specific needs and enhances their overall wellbeing.  With proper care and attention, you can make a meaningful difference in your senior pet’s joint health and quality of life. 

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