Managing Your Pets Pain
Pets cannot tell us they hurt, and even if they could, they might not want to. Pets, as animals will instinctively try to hide their pain. Our pets want to make us happy so they will jump up to greet us and play because we ask them to, even if they don’t really feel well enough to.
Signs of pain can be difficult to spot and difficult to measure. Often as owners we notice acute pain; sprained muscle or a sore paw but chronic pain goes largely unnoticed.
Chronic pain is often related to diseases that occur with age. The changes associated with pain happen slowly over time. Pets might not enjoy being picked up as much as they used to or fussed on a certain part of their body. They might struggle to climb stairs or jump on the furniture. Dogs might be less willing to exercise, maybe they don’t jump up as readily to greet you. Cats might not use their old high up resting places anymore or go outside as often as they did. Recognising the early signs of your pet’s pain allows you to manage it.
If you are concerned, the first thing we suggest is a vet visit for a full clinical assessment. Your vet can offer anti-inflammatory pain relief medication but there are things you can do at home to help as well.
Feeding a food that supports joints if you pet is arthritic is a great start, as is reducing their weight if they are a little overweight.
Regular physiotherapy or hydrotherapy sessions can help strengthen their muscles and improve range of their movement as well as reduce pain.
As cats sleep much of the time it is often difficult to see they are in pain. A closed in cosy house (even a cardboard box with a blanket) low down gives somewhere safe for cats that can’t jump up high. A litter tray in the house to save trips outside also helps, especially in cold weather.
Dogs are usually real people pleasers and will do whatever their owner asks of them even if they are going to suffer for three days afterwards. Watch your dog when you are out walking, don’t take them further or make them walk / run faster than they are able to do comfortably.
Games such as fetch and tug-of-war should be tailored to your dogs’ ability, don’t overdo it even if they seem to want to!
If you have small dogs who feel the sofa and your bed are their beds, invest in a set of doggie steps so they don’t have to jump. Also this means you won’t have to lift them which can also be uncomfortable. A comfortable bed on the floor might just entice them to stay safely on the floor, we stock special orthopaedic mattress to support sore joints. Contact us to find out what we have in stock.
Raised food bowls help those with shoulder, neck and elbow pain.
Toe grips prevent old / weak dogs from slipping and jarring their joints.
Look for the silent clues that you pet is hurting and help them. None of us would want our pets to suffer.