As our pets age they feel many of the same aches and pains that people do. Arthritis affects 45% of dogs between ages 8 and 12 and 90% of cats over the age of 12! As pet owners, there are changes that we can make to make life easier for our arthritic pets. Signs and symptoms of arthritis may include hesitation to climb stairs or jump, limping or lameness, licking, chewing or biting at joints, hesitation on slippery floors and behavioral changes.
Simple things such as having water available on every floor, using a rubber bath mat and a little extra padding on their beds. These simple changes can make a world of difference for our sore fur babies! If your pet continues to do stairs a barrier such as a baby gate may be necessary. A warm water bottle or wheat bag can also go a long way! Please make sure it is warm, not too hot and stay away from electric blankets! We can add supplements such as fish oils and glucosamine manufactured for pets. The formations are different from those for people! And in more severe cases prescriptions such as NSAID’s may be warranted.
Another great service that we can provide our pets is more touch! Just as many people enjoy and enjoy a good massage, so can our pets. Massage techniques are like those used in people.
- Including effleurage (long, slow strokes)
- Friction (stationary pressure)
- Percussion (drumming with the fingers or hands)
- Petrissage (kneading)
Benefits include increased circulation, decreased muscle pain, increased flexibility, decreased stress and bonding time with your pet.
While your pet is laying down (a soft but firm surface is ideal) start by making soft, slow strokes from head to tail. Including some scratches behind the ears, on the cheeks and between the eyes. Use your fingers and thumb to rub up and down the legs (don’t forget the paws if your pet is comfortable with this!). Walk your fingers down the muscles on each side of the spine with gentle squeezing down the tail. When your pet is ready for it to be over, he or she will let you know! End your massage the way you began, with soft, slow strokes.
Together we can make your pet’s aging experience a comfortable one!