With everything that is going on right now, you may be nervous about taking your pet to the vet. While most vet clinics are still open and able to see your pet, here are a few at-home tips to help support your aging pup with mobility issues.
Dogs can develop mobility issues from several underlying causes. Two common ones are arthritis and weakness due to nerve degeneration. To keep your dog more comfortable:
1. Maintain a healthy weight. With most of the family at home, it is very easy to show your pet love with extra treats. Try to replace some calorie-rich treats with baby carrots or cooked green beans. Maintaining a healthy weight will help your pet be more comfortable when walking.
2. Traction is key. Do you have hardwood floors or tile that cause your pup to slip and slide? Try rugs or yoga mats around their typical walking areas to provide more traction. You can order 100-foot lengths of yoga mat from online sources.
3. A front- and rear-harness like the Help ‘Em Up Harness (Heron’s Crossing is not affiliated in any way; experience has shown its effectiveness) will let a pet parent assist a pet that has poor balance or has trouble going up and down stairs.
4. Maintain muscle mass. Your pet may not be able to go for a two-mile jog anymore, but walks, even short ones, can help to maintain muscle mass. Muscle will help to lessen the side effects of arthritis and nerve degeneration. Short walks, starting even up and down the driveway will help. As your pet gets stronger, you can start going longer distances. It may be best to make small loops so that you can easily make it home if your pup gets tired.
5. Massage – like a lot of people, pets enjoy and can benefit from massage. Gently massaging your pet’s muscles can help to relieve pain and increase mobility. It is also a wonderful way to bond with your sweet pup.
These tips can help your pet be stronger and more comfortable. None of these are substitutes for an exam and direct recommendations or prescriptions from your veterinarian. If you feel like your pet is in pain or mobility issues are worsening, not improving, please contact your veterinarian.