Top Ten Tips for Pets with Arthritis


1.     Exercise: is important to maintain the ligaments and muscles. Little and often so your pet does not tire. If you pet is collapsing toward the end of a walk this is too long. Hydrotherapy is a great way to exercise in an environment where there is decreased weight bearing. This spares the joint and works the muscles. The underwater treadmill is especially effective at activating those lazy muscles. This lasts for a period of time when they are outside the treadmill. For this reason regular maintenance in the underwater treadmill together with daily walks gets the best results for muscle building.

2.     Non slip flooring : Laminates, woods, bamboo and tiles might be easier to clean but they can be extremely hazardous for an old weak pet. Arthritic pets generally have some muscle weakness and this means they do not have the strength to stabilise on slippery floors. They tend to loose confidence and can slip and injure themselves. I recommend either non slips rugs or sticky pawz (rubber socks). This helps with traction and will prevent slipping.

3.     Sleeping and feeding: Provide a soft but firm bed. This will help support the bones and joints allowing your pet to rest comfortably. One can also try heated mats or pet pads that apply therapy while your pet sleeps e.g. magnetic therapy pet pad . Make sure your pet is warm and lying in a draft free area. Raise the food and water bowls so it is easier for your pet to eat and drink. This is especially important if your pet suffers from arthritis in the front legs and neck. Make sure the floor is not slippery where your pet eats and drinks.

  1. Ramps and stairs: Going up and down the stairs can be challenging when your pet is weak and arthritic. Consider putting a ramp with non slip rubber matting. This is also advised for use when getting in and out of the car. If this is not practical then consider a full body harness to assist you pet. These can be left on 24 hours a day. With two handles it allows you to give your pet a helping hand when needed. Harnesses must distribute the weight evenly through the pelvis. Avoid using a towel under the belly. This compresses the abdominal organs and causes pressure at the lumbosacral joint.
  2.    Massage:   This increases flexibility and improves circulation, comfort and performance. Book your pet in for a full body massage once a month and ask the therapist to teach you the basics so that you can maintain them between visits.
  3.  Feed and Weight control:  Arthritis is more of a problem in pets that are overweight. Ask your vet about specific low calorie food for your pet or consider a specific joint diet with added Omega’s and joint supplements.


7. Supplements: There are many natural supplements that may help your pet ranging from chondroitin and glucosamine to natural pain killers and anti-inflammatories.   Allopathic medications  have serious side effects  and should be used minimally.

Some examples of products:

  1. Down time: Old pets also need to rest. Try give them some time everyday to chill and relax without young children or puppies jumping on them.

9. Grooming: It can be difficult for old pets to groom themselves especially in those hard to reach places. Make sure you brush them or have them groomed. Be sure the groomer has experience with older pets. One slip and they could injure themselves.
10.Medication: Always have a supply of anti-inflammatories and painkillers at hand. Ask your vet to supply you with these. e.g Rimadyl, petcam etc. Use only when needed

  1. TotallyAnimalSUSHIlighter2[1]