dog laying in bed.

The colder months of the year can be more difficult for pets with chronic pain. Conditions like osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia can flare up when the temperatures drop. Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital has some winter pain management tips for pets, though, that are sure to help.

Why Is Winter So Bad?

As the weather turns colder and the days darker here in New Jersey, many people and pets alike will experience worsening of their chronic pain symptoms. But what do the seasons have to do with it, anyways?

Pain is often worse in the winter months due to a few factors:

  • Cold temperatures heighten pain sensitivity
  • Cooler temperatures reduce circulation
  • Muscle spasms are more frequently experienced in the cold
  • Drops in barometric pressure can affect the joints
  • Decreased activity levels can increase stiffness
  • Colder temperatures decrease the viscosity of the joint fluid, making motion more difficult

It’s not all in your head! While the winter doesn’t in and of itself create a problem, the colder weather definitely exacerbates existing issues. This decreased mobility and pain can then, in turn, lead to decreased activity levels, which also worsen the problem.

Winter Pain Management Tips for Pets

So how can you, as your pet’s caretaker, provide better pain relief for your pet in the winter?

There are definitely some things that you can do:

  • Contact us to make an appointment to evaluate whether your pet’s pain management program is optimal going into the cooler months. Tweaking supplements, medications, and other adjunctive therapies can ensure that you are entering the cold months ready to do battle.
  • Consider a physical rehabilitation program for your pet. 
  • Help improve your pet’s circulation by providing warmth. A cozy coat, heated bed or blanket that is monitored for safety, or moist heat therapy for achy joints. 
  • Encourage gentle activity every day. Even if you can’t get your pet out for a walk, encourage them to walk around your house. Maybe play a game of hide-the-treat or coach them through some training commands.
  • Encourage stretching every day to help stiff joints and muscles stay more limber.
  • Give your pet a doggy massage to improve circulation and overall comfort.  

With our cold weather pet pain remedies, your pet is sure to stay more comfortable even as the mercury drops. Who knows, you may just find some benefit from some of these tips as well. As always, let us know if you feel like your pet is not doing well, no matter the season. We are here to help.