The cold has set in - heaters are on (loadshedding permitting), blankets, jackets, beanies and scarves are out. But what about our pets? Many spend most of the day outdoors, either playing or napping, and unfortunately they are unable to tell us if they are cold or are in pain as a result of the weather. Dr Guy Fyvie, Veterinary Affairs Manager for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, says that the cold affects older pets and those with mobility issues even more.
“Even though our pets are unable to tell us when they are in pain, their behaviour can indicate joint pain,” Fyvie says.
If your pet is showing any of the below symptoms, it’s recommended you take your pet to the vet for a check-up and assessment. He says pet parents should be on the lookout for:
Difficulty getting up after lying down for extended periods of time, stiffness, limping, just slowing down and ‘slipping’ on smooth floors
Increased irritability and general grumpiness
Reluctance to climb up or down the stairs or jump in the car
Swollen joints and excessive licking over a sore joint
Loss of muscle mass (especially on the affected limb)
Not expressing usual enjoyment when playing or going for walks
Sleeping more than usual
Grooms with difficulty
89% of pet parents who have participated in the Hill’s Prescription Diet Mobility food initiative, for pets with arthritis, saw an improvement in their pet's mobility in just 21 days.
Fyvie provides the following tips for caring for pets this winter :
Feeding the right food to support joints and mobility – The food your pet eats plays an important role in their overall health and well-being. Hill’s Prescription Diet Mobility food is made with high levels of specific Omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamine and Chondroitin. It is the only food clinically proven to improve mobility in as little as 21 days in dogs and 28 days in cats*. Visit www.HillsMobility.co.za to see if your pet qualifies to receive a free bag of Hill’s Prescription Diet Mobility food.
Exercise and watching calories –The more time our pets spend curled up, the stiffer their joints can become and the easier it will be for them to put on weight. So it is important to still try to include a brisk walk with your dog or playing catch and a couple of playing sessions with a feathered toy with your cat.
Check water regularly – In very cold places around the country, especially in areas where frost is common, make sure your pets’ water does not freeze over.
A warm bed – A warm and sheltered area that is out of the cold, wet and wind is important, while a nice fluffy blanket over their bed will provide extra warmth and comfort.
For more information on joint care for pets with mobility issues and to find out about Hill’s Prescription Diet Mobility free bag offer visit www.HillsMobility.co.za