How can I help my aging pet?
We’ve all been there – your dog or cat is aging, and you don’t know what to do, or where to start for help. You’ve noticed that she gets up a little slower these days, seems a little weaker in the back end, or he walks with a slight limp every once in a while. Did you know that there are MANY ways to help our pets with arthritis pain due to aching muscles and bones? Many people would think that it’s just a part of life; people get arthritis, too! It seems as though a lot of pet owners aren’t aware of all of the things we can do to help our pets have a better quality of life. Here are some things that you can do to give your pet the best, most comfortable life possible:
- Joint diets. One of the easiest ways to offset the symptoms of arthritis in your pet is to feed a senior or joint diet. These are made specifically to provide essential supplements like: Omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamines, and Chondroitin. Omega 3, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin are used in the body to help lubricate the joints and to help decrease inflammation in the body. They’re also great for your pet’s skin and haircoat! You can even start feeding your pet a joint diet during younger adulthood, as the supplements are great for keeping everything moving well. These diets can also help delay some of the arthritis process. Examples of great veterinary joint diets are: Royal Canin Joint Management, Hill’s J/D diet, and Purina JM diet.
- Supplements. If the food you’re feeding doesn’t have the needed Omega 3, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin; there’s always the option of a good quality supplement. Most of them are made in treat form and have similar effects as using the joint diets: lubricating joints, and reducing inflammation, while making the skin and coat healthy and shiny. Examples of good veterinary supplements are Phycox, Flexadin, Cosequin, or Dasuquin.
- NSAIDs. Veterinary-specific Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are made to do just exactly what the name says - make inflammation hit the road; less inflammation equals less pain! There are a few different types of medications that your vet can prescribe that can help tremendously with pain caused by inflammation in the joints and muscles. These medications do require a prescription, as well as regular monitoring of bloodwork to make sure that your pet’s body is handling the medication safely. Examples of veterinary-specific NSAIDs are Rimadyl (Novox), or Metacam (Meloxicam). Note: we do not recommend any over-the-counter medications for any pet, as many have serious side effects. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any medication that is not specifically prescribed for him or her.
- Pain medication. If NSAIDs are not enough to help your pet, or if your pet does not tolerate NSAIDs, there is always the option of pain medication. These medications help with pain, but do not normally help with inflammation, which we know can be a main cause of joint pain. We can add these to your pet’s arthritis treatment routine safely along with NSAIDs, or alone. Many times, it’s recommended to have your pet on NSAIDs as well as pain medication so that we’re taking care of inflammation that’s causing some of the problem. Again, we do not recommend giving your pet any medication that is not specifically prescribed for him or her.
- Arthritis-specific medication. Some medications are very specialized; not as generalized as an NSAID, but still working on the issue of arthritis. Galliprant is a good example of an arthritis-specific medication. Many times, because arthritis is not usually the ONLY cause for pain in older pets, we will start with an NSAID to take care of all general inflammation. If that doesn’t seem to do the job as well as we would like, it’s always an option to try one of these medications.
- Therapy laser. Our Companion Animal Therapy Laser is specially made to decrease inflammation and pain, as well as increase healing. The laser therapy sessions are calm and relaxing, and your pet may feel a nice warm sensation when receiving the treatment. The treatments are quick; taking usually less than 10 minutes, are noninvasive and painless, and have no serious side effects. The laser therapy has anti-inflammatory effects, helps repair connective and other tissues, and releases pain-relieving endorphins.
Click HERE for a link to our online store's joint supplement department. Many supplements are available without a prescription
There are many options for helping your pet live a long, healthy, comfortable life. Arthritis is not the end of the road! We are here to help you on that journey and continue to research new ways to increase quality of life in our pet friends. If you would like more information, feel free to call or email the office of your choice, and we will do everything we can to get your pet feeling better.
Veterinary Wellness Partners