Arthritis Treatments for Pets – Are They Similar to Human Treatments?

Keeping your pet happy and healthy is an important part of being a responsible pet owner. Diseases and sickness can affect our pets as they age, causing them pain and misery as symptoms persist and increase over time. A common health problem being seen by veterinarians is arthritis in dogs. But there are often no early warning signs because dogs are more likely to stay active and attempt to ignore their aches for as long as possible before showing signs that they are in pain. This can delay treatment and cause them to suffer more. Some breeds are more susceptible to arthritis than others. Therefore, knowing your pet’s disposition to diseases will provide you with an understanding about what to look out for.

Similar to humans, most of the treatments for pets with arthritis are focused on reducing inflammation, rather than correcting structural damage to the joints, as this cannot be achieved through any supplement. Similar to humans, taking preventative supplements can assist the joints in maintaining lubrication, to slow down deterioration, while other human treatments have been found to be effective in reducing pain. While there are some human arthritis treatments being used for pets, they do have a different tolerance from that of humans, so it is important to work with a veterinarian to determine the correct treatment procedure for your pet.

Preventative Supplements

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate have been proven to be effective supplements to assist with slowing down joint deterioration. Glucosamine is available as chewable tablets, liquid, capsules and granules that can be sprinkled on food. The severity of the arthritis will determine how high the dosage will be. Using human versions of these supplements can often be ineffective, as tests have proven that they do not contain the levels required for dogs, so it is important to see your vet to get supplements that will work.

Other nutritional supplements that have been effective for treating pets as well as humans are those with fatty acids that reduce inflammation. Most pet foods often have some fatty acids in their ingredients in low levels, but when treating your pet for arthritis, an extra supplement will help as well as assisting with allergic skin diseases and kidney issues.

NSAIDS

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are the treatment that is used for both dogs and humans for treating arthritis. Pet brands for these drugs include Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Etogesic and Zubrin, to name a few. These decrease pain, fever and inflammation, depending on the dose, to keep the pet as comfortable as possible and allow it to go about its daily activities.

Acupuncture and Massage

Other less orthodox treatments have been found to be very effective in treating diseases such as arthritis in pets. Acupuncture has proven to be an extremely effective treatment in some cases, with treatments required until the severity of symptoms dissipates. Massage and heat pads can also be an effective treatment for reducing pain and swelling of the problem areas.

Achieving Mental Well-being for Your Dog Through Exercise

Anyone who has ever been a parent of a toddler, babysat one or spent any amount of time with one will know that if they do not expel some of their energy through some serious movement and activity, they could end up being a very unpleasant companion after a while. The same can be said for dogs. They need the stimulation of getting regular exercise to keep them feeling mentally well; otherwise, they could end up expressing themselves in ways that could really push the friendship.

If you weren’t aware of it already, some news that might be surprising to you is that canines are actually descended from wolves. So, in essence, our domesticated dogs that live in our homes with us are actually domesticated wolves. When we think about a wolf, we have an image of a wild creature that enjoys roaming free, exploring its surroundings, hunting and spending time with the other members of its pack.

Stimulation

When we remember its genetic roots of being a descendant of the wolf family, we can understand how the domesticated dog of today still requires a large degree of stimulation to keep it happy and to enjoy life. For most dogs, their life consists of spending a good portion of their time between four walls, the boundaries of the garden and house where they reside. Although there is often stimulating happenings going on within these areas through the humans whom they reside with, as well as the other small animals that come to visit every now and then, they can certainly do with regular opportunities for a little more.

Physical Exertion

When dogs get out exercising they do a lot more than what we do, as well as getting the opportunity to use their powerful muscles for running, jumping and physical exertion, they also use their powerful sense of smell to enjoy the smell-scapes that exists in the world outside of the fence. If you as their human owner find that you are unable to accommodate daily exercise out of the fence, be sure to spend time with them throwing a ball, stick or other toy so that they can be stimulated within their home area, to ensure that they do not get bored and start tearing up the place.

Socialisation

Another important part of exercise for dogs is the socialisation that they enjoy when they are out exploring the world with you. All those smells that they stop to sniff and the small spurts of wee that they put on as many poles as they can manage are all their way of communicating with each other, even when they are not in the same area at the same time. As we know, when dogs happen to see each other in person, their excitement is palpable because they are very sociable animals and really love the opportunity to pass the time of day with other members of their species.

All of these factors, if taken into consideration and given the attention that they are due, will contribute to a dog that enjoys good mental health, which, in turn, leads to a happier owner, so it is definitely worth exercising your dog regularly. At Durack Pet Motel, we take all of these factors into consideration when we have dogs come and stay with us, so they can be as happy here as they possibly can be.

Vaccination Programs for Ageing Pets

Vaccination against the various diseases that affect pets is an important part of being a pet owner. There are different vaccinations for the diverse variety of diseases that affect different animals during the various stages of their lives. As your pet grows older it requires particular vaccination programs to be administered to keep it in the best condition possible, so you can enjoy more time with it, and to have a happy and healthy life together.

What Are Vaccines?

Similar to humans, vaccinations for pets include antigens. These prepare the animal’s body for fighting diseases that it may encounter during its life. These antigens stimulate the body’s immune system to produce antibodies to fight the disease, so that if the animal is exposed to the disease, its body will already have the capability to fight or reduce the severity of the disease. There is no single vaccination schedule for every pet, as each pet is different, so schedules are developed according to the breed of the animal, age and medical history, as well as environment and lifestyle.

Health Problems of Older Pets

Similar to humans, as pets become older, their bodies do not work as well as they used to do and, as a result, they are more likely to suffer from illness and diseases related to their ages. Some of the diseases that can affect geriatric pets include cancer, heart disease, liver disease, kidney and urinary tract diseases, joint and bone disease, diabetes, weakness and senility. As well as physiological symptoms, ageing pets can be prone to behavioural changes, which can affect how they interact with the world around them.

Vaccination Schedules

If you have had your dog or cat properly vaccinated throughout its early life, usually as it grows older it will require boosters to the vaccinations that it has already received. The schedule for these will vary depending on the individual animal, and they will be administered by the vet who treats your pet.

It is for this reason that it is important to take your pets to the vet regularly to ensure that they have a good understanding about your pets’ individual medical history. As well as vaccinations, your vet will perform various tests to check for diseases and other medical requirements they age. At Durack Pet Motel, we encourage regular visits to the vet, especially for ageing pets, to ensure that they enjoy the best life possible.

What Are Your Pets’ Behavioural Changes Telling You?

We all know that the people in our lives change and often we experience them behaving in new ways when they are in the process of change. Humans can also tend to behave different from normal if they are not feeling as well as they usually do. They may tell you when they are sick, such as, “I’m not feeling like myself at the moment”.

Unfortunately, our pets do not possess the ability to tell us how they feel. As a result, it is up to us to be aware of behavioural changes, which could indicate an underlying medical concern that needs to be addressed. At Durack Pet Motel, we get to know your pet’s personality while it is with us so that we are aware if there is any behaviour that is out of the ordinary.

Urination Changes

One of the most common complaints that vets hear from pet owners is that their previously toilet trained animal has started urinating in the house. Sometimes owners assume that this is a behavioural change that needs to be addressed, but it could indicate a medical concern that is troubling the animal. Some underlying causes why pets may start to urinate in the house could be due to urine infection, or stones in the bladder. Changes in the frequency of urination as well as the quantity could be an indication of issues with the kidney or other organs.

Changes in Eating Habits

Another tell-tale indicator that a pet may have a medical concern is when they change their eating habits. A pet that is drinking a lot more or less water or eating a lot more or less food than usual could have a medical concern that is causing these changes to their eating behaviours. These changes could be caused by a variety of different medical issues such as organ or dental problems, so getting your pet to a vet as soon as you notice changes will assist you in getting a diagnosis and treatment as early as possible.

Less Sociable

Changes in the way that your pet behaves socially could be a big indicator of a medical issue that needs treatment. Pets that are no longer as active as they used to be could be suffering from arthritis or pain of some sort. If your dog usually sleeps on the bed but it has stopped doing so, it could be because it has trouble getting up onto the bed. A cat that takes to hiding could be trying to hide its pain or discomfort. The only way to really find out for sure what is going on with your pet is to take it to the vet for assessment and treatment; so, don’t delay if you notice sudden behavioural changes.

How Often Should Your Pet Attend the Vet?

As with humans, early detection of diseases, as well as how quickly your pet is treated, will determine the overall health and wellness of your pet. As we know with our motor vehicle, sometimes small problems if left unchecked can become larger and more expensive problems as time goes on. It is the same with our pets, signs of illness can begin with something small, which could be prevented from becoming much bigger and more debilitating to your pet’s health over time. Regular check-ups with a vet will enable you to detect diseases early so that you can seek treatment if necessary.

Early Treatment for Disease

Every one year of human life, is equal to 6 or 7 years of your pet’s life. As we know, a lot can happen in seven years, so depending on the age of your pet and what breed it is, so Durack Pet Motel advises for your pet to have a physical examination with a trained professional at least every 12 months. Different breeds of pets have different needs in terms of diet, nutrition, and lifestyle so getting as much information as you can about your pet’s health will assist you in giving it the best life possible.

What Happens at a Check Up?

During your pets visit with the veterinary professional they will do a number of different tests to ascertain its physical well-being. This will include a heartworm blood test and blood profile, blood pressure evaluation and radiographs for early detection of disease as well as a fecal examination. During the check-up, the vet will check whether your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and it is encouraged to have these updated if needed at this time.

Preventative Care

The earlier you are able to treat diseases, the quicker your pet can get back to optimal health, but preventing them from occurring is definitely the better option, saving your pet from stress and pain. During your regular visits with the veterinary professionals, they can also advise of measures that will keep your pet as healthy as possible along the way.

As with human diabetes, a glucose blood test can detect diabetes early. This can be corrected with changes to diet but, if left unmanaged, it can lead to other more serious diseases including those affecting the liver, pancreas and kidneys. Additionally, keeping your ‘finger on the pulse’ of your pet’s health will allow the vet to follow its history and be aware of changes in its overall health and wellness.

Importance of Maintaining Mobility for Overall Pet’s Wellbeing

Like humans, pets also suffer from diseases and a loss of mobility caused by old age, but unlike humans, pets are unable to use wheelchairs, walking sticks and other aids to assist them with maintaining their mobility. It is for this reason that pet owners need to assist them with maintaining mobility as best as they can, to avoid the gradual decline that often results in pets needing to be put down.

Joint Care

As pets get older they may start to have issues with their joints and bone cartilage, which if left unaddressed can lead to them losing their mobility, and being unable to move about as they are used to. For animals, this can be devastating to their ability to perform everyday functions such as going to the toilet, exercising and eating meals. By the time you notice that your pet has started to have stiffness in its joints, it is a sign that its internal resources for combating the problem may have already become too depleted.

It is for this reason that it is important to supplement your pet’s diet with the relevant supplements earlier in life, to ensure that it has reserves for when it gets older. With ingredients such as shark cartilage, glucosamine, MSM and Vitamin C, many of these supplements will assist in maintaining your pet’s wellbeing before problems start to arise that affect its mobility.

Address Issues Early

As a caring pet owner, you have the opportunity to watch how your dog moves, and to note whether it appears to have issues with its posture and how it walks or stretches. Imbalances in any area can be caused by a variety of issues and, if left unaddressed, can lead to long-term problems. Weakening of the leg muscles and restricted or inflamed joints will be noticeable in the way the animal performs its regular functions, and can be addressed immediately to avoid further damage.

Noticing changes in how your dog moves could be a good indication that there is an issue that needs to be addressed, so seeking advice from a vet or other health care professional will assist in your pet maintaining its mobility for longer.

At Durack Pet Motel, we ensure that all pets have enough exercise and that they are monitored by our trained staff to check for any issues that may affect their current or long term mobility, as they grow older.

Environmental And Lifestyle Considerations For Different Pets.

There’s an old adage that says ‘different horses for different courses’, meaning that different horses are suited to different conditions. When it comes to your pet’s lifestyle and special needs, this would be reflective on the type of environment that the breed is suited to and what it needs to be happy. Depending on the pet, the needs of the animal might be very different from what you are able to offer, so it is important to take this into consideration before choosing a pet to become your lifelong companion.

Living Arrangements

Choosing a pet that fits in with where you live is really important. For example, a Great Dane will not be happy living in a tiny apartment, and why would you want to force a large animal such as this to be squeezed into a small space? It wouldn’t be fair to either of you. Similarly, if you live in an area where there are no dog parks, or do not travel regularly to places where your dog can have a good run off the leash it will become more and more unhappy over time. This could cause it to act up, and start to destroy things in the house, which would affect your relationship with the pet.

Lifestyle

Your lifestyle will have a direct impact on the sort of pet that is suited to you. Some animals are happy to be alone and will find lots of different ways to occupy themselves without you being there, but others need more attention. If you are a person who is not home very much, it would be best to choose a pet that will not be pining for you to come home all the time. Dogs enjoy going for a walk every day, or at the very least, a few times a week. If you are not able to commit to the time and effort to do this, perhaps a different animal might be better suited to your lifestyle.

Food

Many pets require different diets, and as such, it is important that you are aware of what your pet needs for its optimal health, and are able to provide it. Different dogs and cats need specific vitamins and minerals at various times in their life, which is why there are pet foods suited to the various stages in a pet’s life. At Durack Pet Motel, we recommend that people do their research before choosing which pet is the right pet for their environment and lifestyle.

Identifying Symptoms Of Pet Allergies And Other Diseases

Like babies, animals are not able to express to us vocally when they are suffering from pain, allergic reactions or diseases. They are completely dependent on us to look after them and ensure that they are happy and healthy.

Good pet owners will have a special relationship with their pets and be aware of when they are suffering or distressed, and act accordingly to do whatever it takes to bring them back to health and wellness. Below are some common allergies and the symptoms that will be evident in your pet if it is suffering.

Atopy

Atopy is the name for the most common pet allergy in cats and dogs, and often shows up seasonally, similar to how some humans experience hay fever during the months where there are a lot of different pollens in the air. It can also be evident during certain times of the year when the dog or cat spends more time inside the house, and is irritated by dust mites.

Symptoms in dogs can include ear infections, chewing its feet, constant licking of its groin and flank area, and frequent rubbing of its face. In cats there will be facial scabbing, asthmatic wheezing and respiratory problems.

Dermatitis

Sometimes pets can experience contact dermatitis from allergic reactions to carpets, plastic or cleaners. This can cause them to have increased hair loss with patches of skin exposed with itchy blisters, followed by intense scratching. Often these patches may be in places where they have been exposed to whatever contact surface they are allergic to, such as their feet, stomach or face.

Food Allergies

On some occasions pets can experience allergies to certain foods, which are irritated by pollens, dust and other factors that they come into contact with. Symptoms of food allergies include itching on all areas of the body, skin infections and ear infections. A change in the animal’s bowl movements can also indicate a problem with food allergies.

Common Diseases in Pets

Like humans, as pets get older they are more likely to experience diseases related to their age such as kidney disease, arthritis and diabetes. Fleas and ticks can also cause extremely unpleasant diseases in pets such as Lyme disease, which is debilitating and often fatal. At Durack Pet Motel we encourage owners to take their pets to the vet for immediate treatment if they show any symptoms of allergies or diseases.

The Importance Of Routine For Dogs

It is not surprising that we often refer to a dog as ‘man’s best friend’, since our furry friends are very human-like in some ways, and are very much creatures of habit. In fact, they are a lot like babies and thrive best on routine. Having a routine in place will help your dog to feel happy and secure because it knows what is going to happen next. Like babies and toddlers, it is important to introduce changes to the dog’s routine gradually, while maintaining the basic consistency of habits, so as not to overwhelm them.

Why Your Dog Loves a Routine?

Your dog needs consistency in its life. It needs to know when it is scheduled to eat next, to be walked and to have play time, and rest time, and these times need to be consistent and regular, so that the dog does not feel stressed or anxious. Having a regular routine helps the dog to feel secure, so it is able to relax.

Adding extra activities and outings are welcomed by the dog as long as the regular routine remains the same. At Durack Pet Motel we ensure that consistency is maintained with your dog’s routine, because we understand the importance of maintaining the routine in a dog’s life.

How to Implement a Routine

Routine is all about consistency. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using the popular new concept of the ‘crate training’ method, which can be used on both puppies and older dogs. It can help the dog by providing a ‘safe’ space for it to retreat to if it starts to feel overwhelmed. The crate training will assist with other aspects of training the dog into its routine, including where it eats its food, when it is play time, when it is time to rest, and where its boundaries are within the household.

Crate training is also a great way of ensuring that your dog is kept safe from mischief during those early explorative years, so while your back is turned it can be enjoying some crate time. The idea is to make the crate a place where the dog has pleasant associations, so each time it goes near the crate or inside, reward it until it becomes a place where it feels comfortable to go for some time out. And of course, another important advantage of training your dog to feel comfortable using a crate is in the event that if you need to take your dog to the vet, on a plane ride, or if it goes on a holiday somewhere, such as the Durack Pet Motel, it will feel more relaxed.

Running With Your Dog: Make It An Active Dog

We all know the importance of taking our dog for a daily walk for keeping it fit and active. Like humans, dogs need a balanced exercise regime, because like humans, a lack of activity can affect your dog’s health and wellbeing. At Durack Pet Motel we encourage owners to keep their pets active and going for a run with your dog is a great way to keep fit yourself, while ensuring that your dog stays active and in optimum health.

Dogs are awesome running partner because they are always enthusiastic and ready to run, so they’ll be encouraging you to stay active yourself. They also will help you to keep pace, so you will get the best of your workout, while they get the opportunity to really stretch their muscles and use up some of their energy.

Is Your Dog Running Ready?

In the same way that humans need to work up gradually to regular running, your dog needs some basic training to prepare it for the regular activity of running. If you were starting to train with a friend, they would need to prepare themselves for running by doing some endurance training first. This is done through building up gradually – increasing the running time as the dog gets stronger.

The thing about dogs is that they will run for as long as you do, even if they are under physical strain. So the best place to start with getting your dog ready for running is by having a vet check, to make sure it is ready for running and to check its breathing and heart rate. As you gradually build up your dog’s endurance, you will need to keep an eye on these factors to ensure that it is not pushing itself past its limits and causing itself damage.

Things to Be Aware of

Dogs are not physically ready for running until they are at least 18 months old, which is because their bones are still developing at this time, so at this age you can start with walking and build up to the run. For dogs that are 18 months or older, start out the same way you would yourself – building gradually to a fast paced run. When dogs sweat they cool down through panting or from their feet, which is not as effective as how humans do this, so you will need to keep an eye on their respiratory and heart rate for signs of exhaustion. While running take water breaks and run in shady areas where your pets are not in the full heat of the sun.