Cats and Dogs and Arthritis
If you suffer from arthritis, and most of us dodo, who have reached the grand old age of 45 and up, find it hard to believe that our beloved pets either have or will have some form of arthritis.
Case in point: I have two cats, both around 14 or 15. Both are females, both are spayed and so have never had a litter of kittens. Both have lived indoors in the very lap (mine) of luxury. One of them is crippled with arthritis in the spine and hind legs; the other one has a touch of arthritis in a front leg.
Why one is so crippled and the other is only mildly affected is unknown. Dogs, especially large dogs, and dogs that run and hunt, usually come down with arthritis in the lower spine and hind legs. However, my mother had a chihuahua that had severe arthritis in his hindquarters, and this pooch, barely weighing 6 pounds, led a completely pampered life.
Arthritis is a disease that attacks joints, primarily joints that allow people and animals to move in a variety of necessary ways. Arthritis can be extremely painful, and of course, if our pets hurt, we want to fix it.
Relief for Pets with Arthritis
In past years, when our pets became cripped, we had them humanely put down. Now Veterinary medicine has a number of medicines and procedures that can offer relief for our pets. Since cats and dogs are not readily disposed to take medicines in forms we humans normally take them, pharmacists can make up compounds that cats and dogs may take with less fuss.
Most dogs will take pills in a bite of their favorite food, or a liquid in their food. Cats however, are not inclined to be that cooperative. All medicines that my cats take are compounded into a liquid that is chicken or tuna flavored. With a syringe it is fairly easy to flip the dosage into their mouths.
Some of you may be wondering why all the fuss about arthritis–it’s not as bad as your dog or cat coming down with some form of cancer or heart trouble. Arthritis, however affects joints in the body. If it works on the joints in the spine, it can cause extreme pain for the animal in the legs as well.
Walking, trotting, running, jumping, leaping can cause so much pain that your dog will no longer be able to take those early morning runs with you, or leap up for a treat, and your cat will no longer chase after her favorite toy or leap on your bed for a snooze.
For the most part, pets who find it hard to do the things they used to do, will no longer try. Now, I lift my one cat upon the chair that she currently has turned into her bed and I won’t let my other cat in to the closet because she likes to climb her way up to the top shelf but has lost her footing coming down. Another problem with four-legged pets is that often they can no longer hold their stance long enough to take care of nature’s business. Both dogs and cats have trouble lying down and getting up.
One thing that will give your dog a good night’s rest is a dog bed made for sore,achy joints. There are a number of doggy beds on the market that are advertised as being good for your dog’s achy joints.
Beds for Dogs with Achy Joints
Finding the best orthopedic bed for your senior dog will take some searching. There are a lot of dog beds out there in all price ranges. The price doesn’t make the difference. It’s the way the bed is constructed and the materials used to manufacture it.
The first thing to look for is the amount of memory foam and where it is located in the bed.Some manufacturers put memory foam around the sides of the bed. That is not enough –the bed will flatten out after a while and give your dog less and less support. The type and thickness of foam means more.
Check out types of memory foam. Look for more open cell or gel foam with regular memory foam. Another option is an elevated dog bed that will give more evenly distributed pressure for your dog.
Check for a waterproof or water resistant dog bed. Some older dogs have an incontinence problem at night. Your dog may be active all day and that keeps the joints moving. But when they go down for the night, they stiffen up and have trouble getting up, which leaves you with a wet dog bed. Getting a water proof or water resistant bed makes clean up easier.
Check out the kinds of materials in the beds. Your dog’s skin gets dry and thins out just like ours. So look for soft materials that won’t crinkle up when the dog moves around.
You are looking for materials that are soft and gentle, and safe for all skin types. Natural fabrics are usually better than man-made ones.Cotton is a top choice and is safe for most all skin types.
The last thing to consider is affordability. Dog beds can run from $100 to $800 and up. Don’t assume that the most expensive one is the best one. Check on the ones that fall in your price range and then compare product listings.
Most cats would rather sleep in your bed rather than a bed made for them. However, if you have a cat that will sleep in her own bed rather than yours, then most points for getting a dog bed can be used for getting a cat bed as well. Check the size of your cat and get a bed that will give her a close space for making a nest.
Things to do to comfort your arthritic cat or dog.
Quality of life is what Pet Parents should be working toward for their beloved cat or dog. Animals tend to hide pain or discomfort. Some things to notice: Pets affected with arthritic pain will lick or chew painful places. They will play less and sleep more; they may lose weight; their coats may thin out or lose lustre.
Take your dog or cat to the vet to rule out anything other than arthritis.Vets can prescribe medications to give your pets pain relief. Be sure to give your pets their medications. It can sometimes be a struggle, but the medicine will do no good if it doesn’t get inside the animal.
Don’t mix up medicines. Cats cannot usually tolerate dog medications. Doses will be based on the animal’s weight. Never give your pets your medicines.
Good maintenance of lifestyle and medications can give your pet a few more quality years of life.
I’m Barb Nelson and thank you for stopping by.If you would like to comment on this post, I would love to hear from you