Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rainy Weather Achy Bones Blues

Boo Boo, a very sweet and sleepy flat-coated retriever
I didn't need to open the door to know that there was a chill in the air, I could already tell from just watching my senior dog rock back and forth once to get momentum enough to stand.

Just like people with arthritis, dogs exhibit some of the same symptoms with this affliction.

A day or two before and after it rained, I knew that we were going to need a little extra time and help getting going in the morning. The best preventative medicine for my old dog (and yours) is enough exercise to help them maintain their muscle tone. As dogs get older muscle mass decreases, so it's important to not skimp on the exercise for as long as they'll have it. Even if stairs are no longer part of their regimen, hit the slopes by traversing a path or two with gradual inclines and decline to work out all of their muscle groups. Replace a couple of longer walks with more shorter walks to make sure that they have enough time to relieve themselves properly, as well as meeting and greeting the neighbors.

Keeping their weight down is another important factor. The less pounding away at their arthritic joints the better.

I can tell you from experience that the rainy season is a rough time for your older, arthritic dog, but it is manageable. Check with your veterinarian to see what they can do to help alleviate the pain. There are a number of meds out there that will help take the edge off, but since they vary in effectiveness, sometimes according to breed, it's best that you work with a professional in selecting the one that is right for your senior pooch.