Cold Weather and Arthritis in Dogs: A Guide for Pet Owners
Cold weather can affect a pet in several ways. Some pets may take more time to adjust to the cooler weather, or you may notice a change in your furry friend’s behavior. However, with a disease like arthritis in dogs, the disease can affect your pet’s health and general well-being. Fortunately, we got in touch with the Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Caroline Wilde put together to learn about cold weather and arthritis in dogs.
Cold Weather and Arthritis in Dogs
What is arthritis in dogs?
Arthritis can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. Whether you have a Labrador Retriever, mixed breed, or pug, Wilde can break down everything you need to know about canine arthritis.
“Arthritis is inflammation of the joints, which in some cases can cause severe pain. It can affect dogs of all sizes and joints. Arthritis can be a normal age-related change or it can be related to the progression of joint diseases such as hip dysplasia or cross disease. It can also develop secondary to non-orthopedic conditions like Lyme disease or a bone infection. “
In fact, arthritis can affect every dog differently, some may come on suddenly while others slowly have trouble jumping off the couch or bed. Keep a journal and write down what your pet is doing so your pet’s vet can make the correct diagnosis if necessary.
Signs of arthritis
You may notice that your best friend is moving more slowly or is not as excited about going for a walk. Could it be arthritis? In fact, your dog may not always let you know that he is in pain. Wilde points out several signs to look out for in dogs with arthritis.
Consider the following:
- Rise slowly
- Decreased exercise tolerance
- Slow down walks
- Reluctance to go up and down the stairs
- Lameness seems to improve with increased activity. For example, your dog may appear to be “warming up”. Also, because of arthritic pain, dogs generally don’t speak until the condition is advanced or severe.
Every dog is different and can communicate its wishes and needs differently. Of course, when your dog is fine, some can be clingy while others can withdraw.
If your pet behaves differently, speak to your veterinarian. You can determine the next best steps for your furry friend. For more information on pet relief, check out this Dog Pain Relief Guide.
How Can Cold Weather Affect Dogs With Arthritis?
While the weather is getting chilly outside, you might want to be outside, stretch your legs, and enjoy some fun activities with your best friend. Obviously, depending on how your furry friend is feeling, you’re not sure whether going outside is a good idea.
Indeed, “For reasons unknown, cold weather appears to cause signs of arthritis that are more severe. The cold weather can lead to decreased activity, which can lead to increased stiffness of the joints, ”says Wilde.
If your pet has been diagnosed with arthritis and you want to avoid the cooler weather, consider doing some indoor activities with your best friend. Read here how to keep your canine product entertained.
Best Practices To Help Your Furry Friend During The Cold Season
Whether you have an energetic dog or a couch potato who loves to laze around, getting out and exercising outdoors can still be helpful. Wilde delves into some tips to help out your best friend in cooler weather.
- Keep in mind that dogs can get cold even with their fur coat built in. In cold climates, you can protect your dog from the cold with fur, sweaters and booties.
- Booties are especially important in areas where there is puddle, snow, or ice. The salt that can be placed on sidewalks can be very irritating to the skin and paw pads, and it can also be toxic if the dogs lick it off. Hence, boots can be especially important when there is snow or ice.
- A cozy bed with lots of pillows and blankets to snuggle up to can be beneficial for your pet.
- Make sure your arthritic pet stays active, as decreased activity can lead to weight gain and make the stiffening of the joints appear worse. If it’s too cold to take your pet outside, consider a daycare that is aware of your arthritic dog’s needs.
- Maintaining an ideal weight is an important part of treating arthritis in dogs at any time of the year.
- Ask your veterinarian if your dog can benefit from treatment for arthritis, including but not limited to medications, joint supplements, and rehabilitation therapy.
Cold Weather and Arthritis in Dogs: Every Dog is Different
Fall, winter, summer, or spring, every dog may react differently to their arthritis. Some dogs’ arthritis can flare up in damp weather, while others can experience pain in the beginning of spring.
But when you watch over your furry friend, consult your veterinarian, and give your pet the recommended treatment (and loads of cuddling and cuddling), your best friend is sure to enjoy your companionship and positivity.
For more information on dogs, see Heart Murmur in Dogs: A Guide for Pet Owners
About the author
is a digital content writer and publisher for Trupanion. She spends her work day writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, getting inspiration from pets, and luckily hanging out with her rescue dogs all day. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been published on the DOGTV blog, the KitNipBox blog, the Get Your Pet blog and Fansided, among others.