Pets

If your dog is grumpy or limp­ing, aching joints could be to blame

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents - BY MARISSA LALIBERTE

HU­MANS AREN’T THE ONLY ONES

who can get arthri­tis. Watch out for these signs in your pet.

SLOW MOVE­MENTS

When it hurts to get up, a dog will move more slowly to avoid pain, says vet­eri­nar­ian Dr Katy Nel­son. If you aren’t keen to give your dog drugs, other treat­ment op­tions in­clude hy­drother­apy, acupunc­ture and mas­sage.

BUNNY HOP­PING

Less move­ment means less arthri­tis pain. That’s why some dogs, es­pe­cially smaller breeds, will change their stance to ‘bunny hop’ down the steps, says Dr Nel­son. “If your dog is re­luc­tant to jump up or go up stairs, it could be the hips that are af­fected. If your pet hates go­ing down the stairs, it could be a sign of arthritic shoul­ders or el­bows.”

CHANG­ING GAIT OR POS­TURE

Some ca­nines with arthri­tis will limp, but oth­ers will have sub­tler gait changes. The dog’s head might start to bob be­cause the weight is for­ward. Or, it might leave its rear a lit­tle lower or hold its stom­ach differently.

EATING LESS

Get­ting up to eat might not be worth the pain if your dog has bad arthri­tis. If you have a big dog with an arthri­tis di­ag­no­sis, el­e­vate its bowl off the ground so it doesn’t have to bend to the floor.

WEIGHT

Mov­ing less could make your dog lose mus­cle mass or gain weight. Car­ry­ing ex­tra weight puts stress on your dog’s joints and causes in­flam­ma­tion. To help your dog lose weight, try swap­ping its long walks for short bursts of ex­er­cise or swim­ming.

24 P. |

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