Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



  Winter Can Be a Pain - Literally 



Cold winter weather can aggravate health problems in pets in different ways. We often think of the arthritic older dog with bad hips having more trouble in the cold weather. Other problems can be worsened by the cold in dogs as well as cats and show up in unusual ways.

Arthritis worsens in cold weather due to a couple of factors. Changes in the barometric pressure causes changes to the joint fluid pressure also So, that increases pressure on the joint and can increase the pain that is felt in the joint. Cold weather also decreases circulation to the toes, and surface of the skin which then decreases the ability to carry the medication, or natural fluids in the body to help the joints work better. Muscles are literally stiffer due to holding tight against the cold. Larger breed dogs that have trouble with how their nerves are working to their legs often have more trouble in the cold as well. Cats do get arthritis, and will also have more trouble getting up on their perches, in and out of the litter box, or up and down stairs.

There are different things that you can do to help your pet out in the cold weather. Before increasing prescription medication or starting any over the counter medication talk to your veterinarian. More is not always better and may have some side effects. There are other supplements and comfort care that you can do to help your pet. Give your big dog time to physically get up walk around in the home a little before taking them out for toileting. If they need to get right out, take them out but keep it limited to 5 minutes, bring them in then let them out again 10 to 15 minutes later as needed. Give them a half hour or so after any medication given before a longer walk so the medications are in their system working. There are diets that are fortified and designed for joint care, and joint supplements that are also helpful. It is best to talk to your veterinary staff for recommendations on the best brand and amount.

Heated beds, ramps, moving litter boxes up stairs, and making moving around the home easier is not spoiling your pet. It really hurts at times for your pet to get up the stairs to sleep in your room, so making life easier is pain relief, not spoiling. Pets are good at finding ways of just accommodating their limits so if you notice your dog not coming up the stairs, or avoiding laying on the hard floor, it is usually because they are dealing with something painful. Sometimes a simple accommodation is all your pet needs to feel better.

If your pet is moves a littler slower in the winter, doesn't like to climb steps or jump, or shows other signs of pain, please give us a call at 217-253-3221.

- written by Dr. Sally Foote

Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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