Have You Heard People Complain More Of Arthritis Pain On Cold Wet Days And Less On Warm Dry Days I Suspect Like Me You Have Well Could This Also Be True For Our Four
Ive always been a bit skeptical but, over the years, a significant number of pet owners have related this observation to me unprompted and so I have developed a more open mind. In fact, I have started to think there may well be something in it. Well, probably the first place to start is to look for objective evidence that weather can affect our own arthritis symptoms.
The Benefits Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles, as well as your immune system. You get most of your vitamin D from direct sunlight when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays.
According to Cancer Research UK, the length of time you need in the sun to make enough vitamin D depends on skin type, time of day or year, and where you are in the world.
There are no set guidelines on how much time is needed in the sun, but those with lighter skins may need just 10 minutes of sunlight every day in the UK, while those with darker skin may need around 25 minutes.
There are guidelines on vitamin D supplementation for everyone in the UK, says Professor Walker-Bone. But if youre worried about your vitamin D levels and joint pain, its important to get advice from your GP or rheumatology team. They can check your vitamin D levels, ideally in the winter months when they are likely to be lower.
Some people find their psoriasis gets better when theyre out in the sun, but more research is needed to see if sunlight helps psoriatic arthritis.
Natural sunlight can help skin psoriasis, but doesnt seem to help joint symptoms, says Professor WalkerBone. Many people with psoriatic arthritis dont have very bad skin, so PUVA treatment cant help.
Can Dogs Be Allergic To Cats
It is a well-known fact that some people are allergic to dog dander or cat dander, which is composed of tiny particles of shed hair and skin.
What is less well known is that dogs can also be allergic to catsand to people! Symptoms of a cat allergy in dogs are usually inflamed or itchy skin, sneezing, or a runny nose.
Veterinarians can test for an allergy to cat dander, and treat it in the same way they treat other environmental allergies.
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Take Care Of Your Arthritic Dog This Winter
No matter the season, arthritis has a significant impact on any dogs quality of life. Winter tends to take a harder toll on arthritic canines, but you can make a difference for your pup. By carefully observing your dog, speaking with your veterinarian, and adopting the right approaches, you can ensure that your dog doesnt suffer as much from arthritis this winter.References:
Does Cold Weather Affect Your Dogs Joints
As your dog ages, they become more and more susceptible to joint stiffness. This is typically caused by everyday wear and tear or sometimes genetics and can cause severe discomfort and immobility.
Whats worse, when winter comes around, your dogs joints weaken. Read on to find out why the cold weather worsens joints, and how to keep your pup happy, healthy and active, even when its chilly outside
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Pain Relief For Dogs With Arthritis
The last thing we ever want is for our senior pups to suffer, so lets take a look at some options for arthritis pain relief for dogs.
Were going to be discussing medication in this article, but if you prefer a more natural approach my article How to Treat Arthritis Pain in Dogs Naturally will be of interest. It doesnt necessarily have to be one or the other, as often a combination of the two may yield the best results.
Allergy Medicine For Dogs
Other allergy medications for dogs include Chlortrimeton and Atarax , both of which are antihistamines.
Another popular way to treat dog allergies is to give supplements of EPA , which is an Omega-3 Fatty Acid and can work in synergy with an antihistamine to reduce allergic reaction symptoms in dogs.
Atopica for dogs is definitely well worth asking your vet about!
It takes on the most chronic of allergies!
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Manage Your Dogs Weight
People and their furry best friends tend to move a little less and eat a little more in winter. Its never a good idea to let your dogs weight creep higher, but its especially important to keep him at a healthy weight if he is arthritic. Joint pain and stiffness are worse when carrying extra pounds. Talk to your veterinarian about helping your dog reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Symptoms Of Canine Arthritis: Dogs’ Legs And Hips
Arthritis in dogs typically occurs when the dog isolder and can be a very painful condition. Typically, the joints getswollen in the leg and hip area. The symptoms of arthritis developgradually and you will notice some changes in your pets behavior androutine. Detecting arthritis in a timely manner can ease the pain andgive a more qualitative life to your dog.
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Medications To Treat Arthritis In Dogs
Your veterinarian may decide to perform a blood test to determine if your dog is eligible for prescription medication, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , to help manage arthritis pain. If your dog is suitable, your veterinarian will work with you on the specifics of dosage and administering the medication. Remember that human NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen, are toxic medications to dogs and should never be given to them for pain relief.
How Is It Diagnosed
Because arthritis is progressive it will typically worsen with time. Pets with arthritis may become less keen to play or exercise. They may change their activities to avoid discomfort, for example avoiding jumping out of the car or onto furniture. Many dogs with arthritis may be lame. However, if joints in multiple limbs are affected, stiffness rather than lameness may be noted.
If you are concerned that your dog is exhibiting signs of arthritis, ask your vet for advice. They will assess your dogs joints for stiffness and discomfort and assess their muscle mass. Further testing including x-rays may be used to confirm signs are due to arthritis and exclude any other conditions that can cause similar clinical signs.
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Avoidance Of Aggravating Factors
Trying to reduce activity or exercise that impacts the joints will reduce the chance of them being aggravated. Dogs are really poor at self limiting they will keep running even if the joints are sore.
Walking and trotting on the leash are typically quite safe exercises but if your dog likes to run madly around off leash chasing the ball or other dogs, then the repeated twisting, turning and sudden stopping and starting may make the joints sore and inflamed. But if you think your dog would really miss out if you took away the ball chasing or socialising with others, then at least cut these activities significantly down.
It really is a balance of activity they really love, versus crippling pain of arthritis that limits their quality of life. Some modification will prolong longevity and quality of life.
Exercising in the sand can also be quite stressful for arthritic joints. If you, as the owner, have a sore knee or ankle, or even a sore back, trying walking in the soft sand and you will soon see how difficult it is and how painful your joints can become. Walk on the firmer sand if possible if you live near the beach and this is where you walk your dog, and if the sand is always soft, swap some of your dogs walks to the path or grass to give the joints a rest.
If the hind limbs joints are affected its the reverse: try to avoid the jumping up on the furniture or into the car, and racing up a staircase.
Why Does The Cold Affect Dog Arthritis
According to Dr. Ahn, cold weather can reduce a dog’s ability to move around her joints leading to a flare-up in symptoms associated with arthritis.
Some of these signs include:
- Slowness when getting up from a sitting or lying position
- Reluctance to walk up or down stairs
- No motivation to play
- Limping or hopping
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Arthritis Pain Relief For Dogs Conclusion
Youve read about alternative treatments and the various drugs available. Dont dismiss either option outright, but have a conversation with your vet about the best course of action for your dog.
Allowing our dogs to suffer is never an option, but sadly arthritis is a painful condition. I hope you are encouraged knowing just how many treatment choices there are.
Does your dog have arthritis? What treatment has your vet recommended? Have you noticed a difference? Sharing helps others so please leave your comments below.
Baby Benadrylan Easy Way To Treat A Dog Bee Sting
Benadryl for dogs? Baby Benadryl is a milder form of the popular over-the-counter antihistamine medication, and many vets recommend it for a dog with allergies, or when a bee stings a dog.
Usually, the recommended dosage for dogs is 1mg per pound of body weight, 2 to 3 times daily. Baby Benadryl is 12.5mg per chewable tablet, so a 25-pound dog, two tablets would be enough. Always consult a veterinarian before giving your dog Benadryl or any other medication.
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Diet And Supplements To Treat Arthritis In Dogs
Your dogs diet is always of the utmost importance and even more so if your dog has arthritis. Dr. Klein says, weight management is prime, for arthritic dogs. Excessive weight causes extra strain on your dogs body and joints. Although exercise may be difficult, especially if the arthritis is severe, you can work with your veterinarian to find appropriate activities. Additionally, you can pay close attention to his diet.
Make sure you have the right food for your dog and that it meets his nutritional needs. Prescription foods sold by veterinarians might be particularly useful in helping your dogs arthritis. These foods often contain natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, or Omega fatty acids.
Furthermore, you might want to consider a food containing glucosamine or giving glucosamine or chondroitin as supplements. These sulfates are the building blocks of healthy cartilage and appear to stimulate the body to make more cartilage. Dr. Klein says that studies on glucosamine and chondroitin are conflicting. However, some demonstrate a beneficial effect on arthritis pain.
Summer Humidity & Arthritis Pain
Similarly, many arthritis sufferers report feeling more arthritis pain when the air is filled with humidity. This could be because the bodys tendons, ligaments, and muscles expand when humidity rises and barometric pressure drops.4
Some studies also show that high humidity levels can cause sweating and dehydration which can make the blood thicker, which increases blood pressure in the blood vessels and makes the body work more to pump blood through the body.5,6 Humid days can also cause the body to become dehydrated, which can decrease the concentration of fluid around the joints and create more joint pain.6
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Dog Food Allergiesfrom Chicken To Grains
Just like people can be sensitive or allergic to certain foods, so can dogs. Food allergies in dogs can manifest in a number of ways, not just through an upset stomach.
Skin problems and breathing problems can also indicate a dog food allergy, as can an ear infection. Scooting can also often be a sign of a food allergy in dogs.
What Does Past Research Say About Weather And Arthritis Pain
The question of whether theres a link between weather and aches and pains has been studied extensively. While a definitive answer is nearly impossible to provide because its hard to prove a negative researchers have been unable to make a strong case for a strong connection.
For example, a 2014 study in Australia found no link between back pain and rain, temperature, humidity, or air pressure. This study collected data regarding features of the weather at the time of first symptoms, and compared it to the weather a week and a month before. But, an earlier study found that among 200 patients followed for three months, knee pain increased modestly when temperature fell or barometric pressure rose.
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Get A Joint Supplement
By providing your dog with joint supplements that contain chondroitin, glucosamine and MSM , you can help to support joint health year-round, but especially during the tougher winter months when joints can become stiffer, Dr. Ahn told The Dodo.
Additionally, by using a muscle health supplement with an ingredient such as Fortetropin, you can help your dog maintain and build stronger muscles, which in turn will help to support aging, creaky joints and potentially help your pup to walk with more ease during the colder winter months, Dr. Ahn said.
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Rain May Cause Dogs To Become Couch Potatoes
Let’s face it, if it’s just drizzling, you may still take your dog for a brief walk, but when it’s pouring you are likely to skip the walk and sit back and relax watching the rain from your cozy couch as you sip some tea.
Your dog will likely get lazy too. After all, it’s likely in their DNA. When it rains, most animals will seek shelter and relax so it doesn’t make sense for a predator to go out and hunt when all the fuzzy and feathery critters are hidden and in a dry, sheltered place.
Sure some active dogs, may get frustrated by the missed “walkies” but after some entertainment, they might as well, throw the sponge and sit back and relax.
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Other Ways To Battle The Cold
During the winter months, youll probably spot your senior dog struggling more than usual this is especially true right after they wake up on those frosty mornings. Take a look at our handy guide for some tips on how to create a winter-specific treatment plan for your pup. Or, keep reading to discover some of the best things you can do to battle the cold and improve your dogs mobility.
1. Get cosy
The cold temperatures can make it more difficult to move. Thats why its so important to warm up your dog by providing comfy and snug accessories for instance, pet-safe heating pads and blankets. Place your dogs padded bed close to the radiators, fireplace or any toasty spots in your home while they dream the night away. The extra warmth might encourage more movement, or at the very least will keep your dog cosy.
Clothing such as waterproof jackets and coats can also help to keep the joints warm. Smaller breeds and senior dogs are more likely need a little extra warmth when going on winter walkies. If you find that your dogs extra chilly after a walk, make sure to warm them up when you get home. Discover more must-dos for when you get home from a winter walk in our cold weather recovery tips.
2. Let them rest
Your dog probably wont want to do a huge amount of exercise if the cold temperatures are making their joints stiffer. Thats why its so important to give them enough time to relax.
3. Give them some extra love
4. Keep them trim
5. Try a supplement
Treating Arthritis In Dogs
As your veterinarian will explain, there are a variety of different options to treat arthritis in dogs. Your plan may include a combination of management solutions and ultimately will depend on your dog and his specific situation. That being said, these are some of the most common ways to manage arthritis pain in dogs.
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Physical And Alternative Therapy To Treat Arthritis In Dogs
In addition to diet, supplements, and medications, there are also therapy treatment options available to help manage a dogs arthritis pain. Physical therapy, like appropriate forms of regular exercise, as mentioned earlier can be extremely beneficial for dogs with arthritis. Many owners also find hydrotherapy, or water therapy, helpful.
Holistic therapies, like acupuncture, can be useful as well. Acupressure and targeted pulsed electromagnetic field therapy are other alternative options that may be useful for the treatment of arthritis in dogs.
Help For Dogs With Arthritis
As the weather turns colder and the days become shorter, many of our pets begin to move more slowly and less frequently. Dogs with previous or current injuries, dysplasia and arthritis can be affected by weather changes because of inflammation and joint and soft tissue changes that may have taken place over the years. Warm, high pressure weather causes the tissues to be flexible and move easily. Dogs are more active and generally feel better in those warm, sunny months. But as the cold air and low pressure move in, joints can swell and tissues become less flexible. This can lead to stiffness, pain, and generally less activity. Decreased activity levels can start a spiral that causes more pain, less activity, and atrophy or wasting of the muscles from disuse.
Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is inflammation of the joint or joints, caused by a wearing down of the cartilage and joint surfaces. It affects 20% to 30% of the canine population. Cartilage covers the joint surfaces to protect and provide a cushion for the boney surfaces as they move and compress against one another. Normal cartilage is very resilient to pressure and provides a cushion between bones during weight bearing activities. As long as a joint moves in perfect congruency, there is little wear and tear on the cartilage.
This article appeared in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of Mile High Dog magazine.
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