Natural Arthritis Support for Your Pet
Arthritis is a common health complaint in older pets. While many prescription arthritis medications are available, many people prefer to use less invasive methods to help their pets. Some of these include making changes in the home to improve access for the sick animal; others involve natural supplements and diet changes. Some people even advocate massage therapy and acupuncture to help ease suffering of afflicted animals.
Making Life Easier for Your Arthritic Pet
Arthritis makes it difficult for your pet to move around. To make life easier, keep everything it needs on the main floor, so your pet won't have to climb any stairs. Try to eliminate slick or slippery surfaces. Make sure your pet has a comfortable bed that will support joints. Cold temperatures and drafts can worsen arthritis. Keep your pet and your home warm. Reduce drafts by keeping windows and doors closed and by changing out your insulation.
Exercise and Diet for Arthritis
Exercise is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. Any extra weight will only add pressure to the joints, so weight management is key for pets with arthritis. Regular exercise is a good way to keep your pet at a healthy weight. Exercise also strengthens the muscles, making them better able to support aching joints. Frequent activity keeps the joints from becoming too stiff and can help keep your pet limber. However, be careful not to do too much. Exercise that is too strenuous can do more harm than good by causing more damage to the joints. Feeding your pet a good diet is also essential. While it helps with issues of weight control, a balanced diet will also give your pet's body what it needs to heal naturally and keep energy levels up.
Supplements for Pet Arthritis
Some veterinarians also recommend nutritional supplements for pets with arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin are especially popular for treating osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is one of the main components of cartilage. The theory holds that extra glucosamine makes it easier for the chondrocytes (cartilage-forming cells in the joint) to make more cartilage. Chondroitin augments this process, as well as inhibiting certain enzymes believed to be involved in the destruction of cartilage. Some researchers believe that giving your pet a supplement of glucosamine and chondroitin can not only halt the progression of osteoarthritis, but actually reverse the damage that has already been done. In order to keep the condition from returning, a life-long regimen of these supplements is required. Fortunately, they have very few side effects, but still, you should always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any supplements.
Arthritis and Complementary Healing Methods
Massage therapy can be very beneficial to arthritic pets. However, it must be performed correctly so as not to cause pain or permanent damage. Ask your veterinarian about proper techniques, or take your pet to a licensed animal massage therapist. Some evidence indicates that acupuncture may be beneficial to arthritic pets. If you decide to explore this option, make sure the acupuncturist has experience working with animals.
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