When you have an older dog or cat, whether they’ve been with your family since they were a puppy or a kitten, rescued from a shelter, or recently adopted, you want to protect your animals health. One way to assist you with caring for this important member of your family is through purchasing insurance for older pets. In addition to a basic policy, you may also be able to obtain optional add-on policies for wellness visits and vaccinations.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), older pets may develop arthritis, which while painful, can be managed. Your dog or cat may be suffering from arthritis if they exhibit one or more of these signs:
- Walking stiffly
- Leg favoring
Cats, for example, may not be able to groom themselves well when they have arthritis, according to the AVMA, so if your cat has unkempt fur, this may be a possible sign. Since unkempt fur may also be a sign that they’re suffering with a different illness or condition, it’s important to take them in to see their veterinarian. Regular veterinary visits are an important facet of pet care.
If your veterinarian has determined that your dog or cat has arthritis, then they may make several pet care recommendations. Your veterinarian may, for example, recommend medication as well as low-impact exercise, according to the AVMA. It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations and ask questions to ensure that you understand the pain management plan that they’ve created to benefit your pet.
An important aspect of providing good pet care is managing your pet’s weight. If your dog or cat has a few extra pounds and they have been diagnosed with arthritis, losing this extra weight may make a major difference with reducing joint pressure and pain. Losing extra pounds may also make a profound impact with potential weight-related issues, including diabetes and heart disease.
Your veterinarian may also recommend some type of physical therapy, such as swimming or walking on a treadmill. Another treatment option that your veterinarian may recommend includes alternative medicine, such as acupuncture. Many acupuncturists also specialize in veterinary medicine.
There are other things that you can do, according to the AVMA, to make your dog or cat more comfortable. These include providing soft bedding, gentle play, and massages. You may also want to assist them with grooming or take them to a groomer. Ramps are also helpful so your pets can reach their favorite spot on the couch or more easily move up and down indoor and outdoor steps.
When you notice that your dog or cat isn’t behaving like their usual self, or if you believe they’re exhibiting signs of arthritis, the AVMA stresses the importance of taking them to the veterinarian. It’s important for your beloved pet to receive a proper diagnosis so that they can receive the right type of treatment for their condition. If your pet receives an early diagnosis for arthritis, this can make a major difference with their pain management plan and overall comfort level.