Healthspan October 30, 2018

In short, scientists aren’t 100% sure, but there are a number of theories that make sense both for humans and pets…

Joint pain may begin as mild discomfort, but it can become increasingly painful over time, especially in pups that are overweight due to the added pressure on joints.

If you find your dog is slowing down, having a tougher time climbing the stairs or showing a preference for shorter walks, they could be suffering with sore joints. These signs may be more prominent as the weather turns cold.

Joint pain may begin as mild discomfort, but it can become increasingly painful over time, especially in pups that are overweight due to the added pressure on joints.

If you find your dog is slowing down, having a tougher time climbing the stairs or showing a preference for shorter walks, they could be suffering with sore joints. These signs may be more prominent as the weather turns cold.

1. Sending signals

Some scientists think changes within the body – triggered by colder weather – amplify pain signals. In the cold, the body’s sympathetic nerves constrict blood vessels in limbs in order to concentrate on keeping the vital organs warm, increasing the pain felt in the joints.

Keeping your dog warm could help prevent the worsening of symptoms, so popping on a doggy jacket for walks could benefit their joints. Even having a sweater or coat at home for indoor wear may help.

2. Laying low

By generally taking less exercise in the winter, the body’s circulation is not as good, meaning less oxygen and nutrients get to the joints. Try taking them for two shorter walks rather than one longer one to avoid stiffness.

Choosing to take your dog on short, leash walks rather than long walks with uncontrolled exercise, i.e. constantly chasing after a ball or sick, could help keep the pressure off on their ligaments.

3. Grumpy and grouchy…

It’s thought that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in people is linked to the levels of melatonin in the body – the production of this hormone is prevented when light hits the eye; therefore, more melatonin is produced when it’s dark. A low mood is linked to higher levels of perceived pain. And some research has suggested dogs could suffer from SAD, too, as a result of less exposure to natural light.

A survey led by People’s Dispensary of Sick Animals (PDSA) showed owners think their pets get depressed during the winter. Half of the owners reported their pets slept for longer and 20% were less active during these months.1 Another study showed that dogs can recognise human emotions and, therefore, can mirror them.2

4. Diet control

Extra weight places a lot of pressure on already stressed joints and the longer you allow your dog to be overweight, the worse the joint pain.

We tend to move less in winter, which means our dogs move less, too. Getting out, exercising more, and eating more of a controlled diet could benefit your pup (and yourself) exponentially; shedding those pounds and keeping them off will help keep any unnecessary weight off their joints.

Make sure you consult a vet before switching their diet, as there may be foods that could upset their stomach.

So, it’s time to up the ante! This winter, keep your pets warm, keep them active and ensure they get some natural light. Consider supporting their immediate and long-term joint health with a supplement, too.


References
1 Seasonal Affective Disorder Could Leave Pets Moody In Winter.(2018). Medindia Content
2 A man’s best friend: Study shows dogs can recognize human emotions. (2018). University of Lincoln

 

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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