5 Things to Know About Arthritis in Pets

woman with elderly beagle

Arthritis affects cats and dogs in numerous ways, but it is preventable and there are treatment options available. Although arthritis mainly affects older pets, it can start developing at a young age. No matter how old your pet is, here are five things you need to know about arthritis. 

  • 1

    Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis.

    There are many different types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is one of the most common. Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. It is a progressive disease that affects your pet’s joints. Over time, the cartilage surrounding the joints deteriorates, causing pain for your pet.

  • 2

    Cats and dogs show pain in different ways.

    Cats and dogs both tend to avoid showing pain, but it may be easier to notice your dog’s discomfort. Dogs could run slower while playing fetch, fall behind on walks, hesitate to jump on furniture, or may whine or whimper.

    Cats can show discomfort differently from dogs. But there are still ways to tell when your cat is in pain. Your cat may ease herself down from high surfaces, instead of jumping. Or, your cat could become irritated when you pet certain spots. Your cat may not be able to groom herself properly, so you may notice matting in her fur.

    Every cat and dog is different, so it is always important to check with your veterinarian if you are concerned.

  • 3

    Your pet may experience one or more symptoms.

    Although arthritis symptoms can differ from cats to dogs, there are some common things you can look out for:
    • Limping
    • Swollen joints
    • Loss of appetite
    • Unusual weight gain
    • Accidents in the house
    • Unwillingness to jump, play, or climb stairs

  • 4

    Prevention is possible and there are a variety of treatments.

    There are ways to prevent arthritis from developing. One of the most effective ways is to maintain a healthy weight and activity level for your pet. Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise with regular walks or play time. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight will reduce the stress put on their joints.

    Supplements and therapeutic diets can help pets with joint problems. Glucosamine and fatty acids are known to treat arthritis. These can reduce inflammation and help your pet feel their best. But it is important to consult a veterinarian before supplementing your pet’s diet. Your veterinarian can help you achieve the right balance for your pet.

    Pain medications are also available. If your pet is experiencing severe discomfort, you can reach out to your veterinarian and explore all possible options.

  • 5

    You can take steps to make your home more comfortable for your pet.

    You can take simple precautions in your home to minimize your pet’s pain. Slippery surfaces pose a potential problem for pets with arthritis. A simple rug can help, or non-slip booties. If your pet is struggling to jump, you could find a ramp or stairs to help him reach the bed. Limiting staircase use can help as well.

While arthritis can’t be completely stopped, it can be slowed down and there are multiple ways to treat it and keep your pet more comfortable. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to a veterinarian today.