Mindful Living for Old Pets: A Holistic Pet Care Guide to Understanding and Managing Joint Stiffness

By Marty Grosjean
Joint Stiffness

Pets suffering from joint stiffness and other effects of arthritis can see their quality of life decrease drastically as it becomes very difficult to do simple things like walk up stairs, jump, or stand up and sit down without significant pain and discomfort, They soon lose interest in the activities that once brought them happiness and joy, like running and playing or taking a walk around the block on a nice sunny day.

Joint pain and stiffness can affect both dogs and cats and the condition often gets much worse as pets age, leaving them at risk of developing other health conditions such as obesity which only aggravates the discomfort and inflammation of joint stiffness as the legs are forced to carry more weight.

But your pet doesn’t need to suffer the effects of aging and a lack of mobility caused by joint stiffness and degenerative joint disease. You can take steps right now to keep your pet comfortable and increase their quality of life, free of joint pain, through a variety of holistic health methods that work to protect your pet’s joints and reduce stiffness and discomfort due to arthritis and inflammation.

Symptoms of Joint Stiffness in Your Pet

Cats, in particular, are very good at hiding their pain as a natural instinct for surviving in the wild and even now their domesticated counterparts tend to refrain from making their pain known. But they do have little “tells”, these behavioral indicators revealing that something is wrong and the symptoms are concurrent with joint pain and stiffness.

The same thing with dogs, though they may be somewhat more forthcoming about their symptoms, their ability to explain what’s wrong is limited and it’s up to responsible pet owners to keep a keen eye on their pet to notice the red flags and tell-tale signs that a dog or cat is having trouble with their joints.

For cats, the signs may be subtle such as a shift in their grooming routine or a decreased ability to jump up or down. You may notice some difficulty in their ability to climb up and down stairs, and see marked changes in their willingness and capabilities for running and/or chasing after toys and other pets in the home with whom they used to play.

For dogs, the signs are likely to be more visible and straightforward. If your dog tends to limp or favor one side after physical activity, that could be a sign of joint stiffness. Dogs will also exhibit difficulty walking up and down stairs, jumping, and showing signs of laboring to get up from their favorite bed and moving slower than usual to do so.

A common trait in both cats and dogs is a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed and participated in often, as well as signs of irritability when approached or touched by anyone else in the home whether it’s you or some other family member or another animal who comes too near when the pet is feeling pain, stiffness, and discomfort.

Holistic Options for Managing Joint Stiffness in Your Pet

If you notice your pet presenting the above symptoms, consider the following options for taking an holistic approach to reducing the inflammation and pain that comes with joint stiffness and arthritis:

Diet and Exercise

The first thing to do is help your pet shed the extra pound and keep them off. This will prevent your pet from putting additional weight on stiff, aching joints. Pets who gain weight, especially in their later years, increase their risks of developing degenerative joint disease and other forms of arthritis.

A balanced diet that puts a focus on maintaining a healthy weight for your pet’s age and breed and plenty of physical activity that doesn’t overexert your pet can both be critical for helping your pet regain mobility and reduce the effects of joint stiffness.

Nutritional Supplements

Dietary supplements containing ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, green lipped mussels, and anti-inflammatory herbs have been shown to be effective for promoting positive joint health, reducing inflammation, and increasing mobility in pets. Your holistic veterinarian can recommend healthy options and dosing guidelines.

Therapeutic Aids

There are a variety of helpful holistic therapies to give your pet relief in reducing the pain and limited mobility that can come with joint stiffness and arthritis. Avoiding pharmaceutical pain medications in favor of more holistic options like acupuncture and physiotherapy are good choices for ensuring your pet’s health and safety.

Bioresonance energy therapy is also another great option for alleviating pain and inflammation by using bioenergetic frequencies to interact with your pet’s biofield. This non-toxic option works on a cellular level and embraces the same principles as many traditional Chinese medicinal techniques that place an emphasis on the proper flow of energy through our meridians to diagnose and treat illness, bodily dysfunction, and pain. Available in a collar tag or topical spray, bioresonance technology has been an important part of the healthcare industries throughout Europe for more than two decades due to its efficacy as an all-natural method of healing.

Emotional Support and Care

Joint stiffness and discomfort can have an adverse impact on you and your pet. We never want to see our pets suffer in pain and they truly want to enjoy all of the activity and stimulation they used to participate in before they were limited by joint dysfunction. It’s up to you as their caregiver and friend to be patient and give your pet extra love and time, keep them busy and mentally engaged with activities that don’t put a tremendous physical strain on them.

Provide a safe and comfortable home environment to accommodate your pet’s limitations. Place food and water bowls where they are easy to reach and provide a step stool or ramp to make it easier to access areas in the home where they would have normally jumped up on, such as a couch, a bed, or a windowsill. Try not to deny your pet comforts they used to have just because they are no longer physically able to access them

Moving Forward

Joint stiffness and inflammation can be managed and your pet doesn’t have to miss out on a long, happy life. Stay vigilant about watching for changes in behavioral patterns and provide a warm and comfortable environment that is customized for your pet’s limited capabilities. But above all, provide your pet with love, care, and remain committed to maintaining a high quality of life by promoting good joint health through holistic treatments and plenty of physical activity. Movement is often the best medicine for warding off joint stiffness, arthritis, and inflammation. The more your pet moves, the better it is for their overall health and well being.