pet joint problems

Joint problems – what are the signs?

Joint problems – what are the signs?

The cold weather often exacerbates health problems in humans as well as animals so, it is best to be aware of your pet’s health needs before the temperature falls, particularly if they have a pre-existing condition.
Cats are particularly good at hiding symptoms of pain and joint problems are often misdiagnosed in all animals as a “slowing down” due to age so make sure you are aware of the signs and symptoms of joint problems. They include:
Difficulty Moving – movements that were once easy may become problematic. For example, dogs may find stepping up or down stairs or getting into the car difficult.
Cats that once were interested in high perches will begin to seek out spots lower down or on the floor. This may lead to accidents outside the litter box or your pet being unable to get outside to eliminate quickly enough.
Irritability or depression – Due to the pain your pet may become irritable and may lash out, particularly if you touch the affected area.
Licking, Chewing & Biting – Your pet may bite, chew or lick the area that is painful, occasionally to the point where the skin is inflamed and hairless.

Decline in grooming habits –
your pet may be grooming less because they may not be able to reach certain areas of their bodies without pain.
You may notice this as a matting of their fur along their hips, back and hindquarters.
Lack of appetite – If your pet is feeling unwell or hurting they are more likely to have a decreased appetite and so may eat less
Heat seeking behaviour – Warmth tends to help arthritic joints so you may find your pet actively seeking out sunny spots, heat vents or radiators.
There are a variety of ways in which you can help your pet if they already have joint issues and to help prevent joint problems developing, these include:
For pets with joint issues:

Look after your pet’s nail and foot care –overgrown nails may cause problems with your pet’s gait, which may cause joint issues or make joint problems worse
Make your home easier to move around – provide ramps or position furniture in order to help your pets navigate their home more easily
Help to groom your pet – your pet will find grooming difficult so pay attention to their coat and help them keep clean and tidy – See our page on grooming for more information
Keep your pet warm – warmth helps alleviate the pain caused by joint problems
Weight management and diet – make sure your pet does not put any excess weight on their joints by giving them a healthy diet. Regular exercise can help with their weight too! See our pages on Weight management for cats and dogs.
Supplements – there are breeds that are predisposed to joint issues so if you supplement their diet you may help slow or prevent any issues occurring


adobestock_90767963Prevent and treat Illness and injuries – Supervise your pet’s activities so injuries can be prevented and if any occur they are treated promptly so joints aren’t damaged further.
If you also keep an eye on your pet’s health, with help from a regular check up by a vet, you can keep any illnesses and injuries that may damage their joints at bay.
We have written an advice page on joint problems in your pet, which should give you further information. However, if you do notice any changes in your pet’s behaviour or any new physical problems always seek advice from your vet.