When fall comes the light softens; the fields and forests dress in brown, red, and ocres; the season for picking mushrooms begins; and the sun doesn’t hit as hardly as in the summer. Everything is inviting to go out and take a walk with our dogs, but … in case of old animals, can we walk them just the same, or should we take into account some special consideration?
Arthrosis and Pain
According to veterinary statistics, over 80 % of dogs older than 8 years suffer arthrosis in some of their joints.
Quite often, owners are not aware that their pets have arthrosis because they regard the decrease of activity in their animals as a natural consequence of aging. But old age is not a disease.
If an animal is moving less and less, doesn’t run after the ball anymore, or doesn’t jump onto the couch, it’s because they can’t — and they can’t because they are in pain. This is a pain that comes from afar; which we have not detected because in the beginning it was light, and has increased little by little. It has become chronic and our pet has got used to it. They coexist with their pain.
What Happens in Fall?
When fall arrives, with the change of shades also come the cold and humidity, and the aching joints suffer. The effects of arthrosis, therefore, become harsher.
If you notice that your dog has trouble moving, tell your vet about it. They will determine what and where the problem is, and will recommend the most suitable treatment for your pet.
How to Prepare the Walk
When you and your dog are going out together to revel in the forest, keep in mind a few basic recommendations:
- If you think that your dog has pain that day, leave the walk for another time, and give him the rest and pain treatment recommended by your vet.
- Adapt the distance, time, and difficulty of the walk to the state of your animal.
- Before you start help them warm their joints and muscles:
- wrap them warm if it’s cold — but remember that we live in a Mediterranean climate, so you can unwrap them once they have warmed up
- massage softly the affected joint or joints.
- Doing a couple of preparatory exercises before starting will be good for them: make your pet sit and get up four or five times — and do not forget to reward their effort with a little treat!
- Start slow, and little by little they will reach the rhythm that is most comfortable for them.
- After the walk, massage their whole body again softly; your pet will appreciate that. It’s very pleasant for the both of you, and it reinforces your bond!
Have a nice walk!