Helping Older Pets thro’ Winter

Winter can often have a severe effect on an elderly pet. As the temperatures drop, the aches and pains that may have been kept at bay in the warmer weather, will often manifest themselves as the cold creeps in.

Your pet may be reluctant to get off their bed in the morning. It may be difficult for them to get up/down those stairs. And the thought of venturing outside onto frosty grass – well, quite frankly – not interested!

Just like humans, dogs can suffer with age-related ailments.  They start to feel the cold. The limbs become stiff, the pace lessens. The desire to sleep becomes apparent. Even the ‘winter blues’ is not unknown in our beloved friends.

One of the most common conditions to become apparent is Arthritis. Their reluctance to  move, licking of joints, yelping when touched can all be signs the something is up. An X-ray is needed for correct diagnosis.  And there is no magic cure, but it is a manageable disease.

But there are many things that can be done to lessen its crippling impact on your dogs life.  The pain can be relieved, the joints can be encouraged to become mobile, sleeping arrangements can be changed, diet can be altered – all helping make your pets life that more enjoyable.

Diet – Make sure your pet is getting plenty of good oils to help lubricate joints in their diet. Omega  3 & 6 are highly recommended. A tin of sardines 1 or 2 times a week is great (good source of  calcium too). Watch their intake of red meat – can cause aggravation in some pets. A supplement specifically to help with degenerative diseases such as ‘Ezy Bones’ is a must.

Bedding – There are many & varied types of bedding available. The key factor is your dog needs to be warm! Make sure they’re in a draft free area. Well padded bedding will help those stiff joints.  And accessible – jumping on/off the couch could easily lead to irreversible damage if your dogs lands heavily on a weakened joint!

The little things:

  • If your pet is laying down to eat – they may be having trouble reaching down to their food (especially big dogs). Then bring their bowls up to them!
  • And don’t forget about dog coats ……….. a multitude of designs are available. As long as they help keep your pet warm, don’t hinder their movements, and of course, look smart – then the choice is yours!