Dog joint pain – why is it worse in winter?
At the beginning of joint pain, it can just be a mild discomfort, however as they get older, the pain can increase over time. This is especially the case in puppy’s that are overweight due to the added pressure on their joints.
If your dog begins to slow 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.
It is believed from some scientists can change within the body can be triggered by colder weather amplify pain signals. When it is cold, the body’s sympathetic nerves constrict blood vessels in limbs to concentration on the vital organs keeping warm, increasing the pain felt in the joints. So, it is important to keep your dog warm, in turn preventing the symptoms worsening.
As dogs tend to have less exercise in the winter, the body’s circulation is not as good meaning less oxygen and nutrients get to the joints. It is suggested that you take your dog for 2 shorter walks rather than one longer one to try and avoid stiffness. It is advisable to keep your dog on shorter walks on a lead rather than walking them off lead for them to have uncontrolled exercise such as constantly chasing after a ball, will help to reduce the stress on their joints.
In people, when winter hits most people have symptoms of SAD – seasonal affective disorder – which is linked to levels of melatonin in the body. This hormone is responsible for the sleep cycle; levels of this are lower in the day and higher at night making us feel sleepy.
Throughout winter, there are fewer hours of daylight and a consequent, our melatonin levels can be affected. It has been suggested from research that this can happen in dogs too. It is important to remember that pets with joint pain, low mood has also been linked to higher levels of perceived pain.
People’s Dispensary of Sick Animals (PDSA) carried out a survey which showed that owners think their pets get depressed during the winter. Half of the owners reported that their pets slept for longer and a fifth said their dogs were less active during these months. Another study showed that dogs can recognise human emotions and therefore can mirror them.
Like people, extra weight can place pressure on your pet’s joints. So the longer you allow your dog to be overweight, the worse the joint pain. During the winter months, we tend to more less and in turn, out dogs move less, too. Going out, exercising and eating a more controlled diet may benefit you dog, plus you! Losing weight will help keep any unnecessary pain of their joints. However, it is very important that you speak to your vet first as there could be foods which could upset their stomach. If you have a breed of dog which is prone to having joint issues, it might be worth considering a joint health supplement to support their short- and long-term mobility.
BestLyfe have their own pet bundle; this includes Dog Furfect, Dog Joint Care + and Dog Multivitamin. The aim of this bundle is to provide three types of supplements supporting joints, vitality and a healthy coat. The bundle only costs £0.42 per day. Each supplement can also be purchased individually as well as multivitamin aimed at senior pets aged 7+. If you feel that your dog could benefit from taking a supplement, head over to our website not to order yours now!