Treating Osteoarthritis with Diet and Exercise

As your pet ages, we want to keep our four-legged family member moving and active as long as possible. One common ailment that can sideline your dog or cat in the later years is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. As owners, it’s a disease to be wary of, but there are several steps you can take to prevent osteoarthritis.

Signs of Osteoarthritis

This painful disease causes inflammation and swelling in your pet’s joints. It’s common in older and overweight pets. Osteoarthritis typically targets larger breed dogs, but you will find it in canines of all sizes. It also affects about 90% of cats over the ages of 12. You may notice limping, swelling in your pet’s joints, or their refusal to use a limb.

There are other obvious signs of Osteoarthritis in your dog or cat:
  • Lameness, limping, or joint stiffness
  • Slow to get up
  • Hesitant to play or climb stairs
  • Unsteady or lack of balance when urinating or defecating
  • Irritated when touched near the joints
Another common sign in osteoarthritis is simply a lower level of activity, particularly in cats.


How You Can Help Your Pet With Osteoarthritis

 
  • Watch your pet’s weight.
    The first line of defense against joint issues is preventive care. Naturally, as your dog or cat gets older, his or her joints will wear and be susceptible to diseases like osteoarthritis. However, keeping an ideal weight and fighting pet obesity will help put less strain on your pet’s bones.
  • Consider a specialized diet.
    Some specialized diets can help your pet cope with osteoarthritis. Foods like ROYAL CANIN® MOBILITY SUPPORT JS are filled with a researched amount of supplemental nutrients including EPA, DHA and phosphorus. These nutrients help your pet manage joint disease. Specialized diets will also help your pet reach an ideal weight to take stress off his or her joints. Upon diagnosis, your veterinarian may be able to recommend an ideal food or guide you to a nutritional expert who can give you more information on feeding according to this health condition.
  • Exercise daily.
    Staying active with your pet can go a long way when treating joint diseases. Exercise and physical therapy both increase joint mobility.

Talk to your veterinarian about Osteoarthritis

If you see your pet showing signs of Osteoarthritis or any joint pain, contact your local Banfield Pet Hospital and schedule and appointment with your veterinarian. You can discuss an exercise regimen and possible new diet with your vet.
Also ask about choosing a Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan® that best serves your pet’s unique needs and predispositions.

Learn More

You can also learn more about joint pain and other pet health issues in our Nutrition section and by reading the articles below.
Research provided by ROYAL CANIN®, a registered trademark of Royal Canin USA.