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For any pet owner, providing a loving and comfortable environment is just one small way of returning the unconditional love and devotion our four-footed companions endlessly provide. For some of these faithful friends, as the years creep closer to old age, they can begin to show signs of achy joints and various level of discomfort associated with arthritis. Perhaps you have noticed that they are a little stiff after a nap, or that they appear to have some pain or stiffness in cold or damp weather. Whatever you have witnessed, seeing your loved one in pain breaks your heart and you simply want to provide some level of relief. Of course, your vet must be an integral part of any dog or cat's physical needs program. But in my quest to provide as much relief and comfort possible for my aging pals, I have found a few low tech tips that are particularly effective at providing relief.

Just like in humans, one of the best forms of relief for joint pain is providing warmth. You may think this sounds non-sophisticated, but it works. It is particularly important to provide warmth to your pet's body during colder temperatures or on damp days. This type of weather can cause joints to become especially stiff or swollen. The heat works to relax muscles and their spasms which are caused by the pain. Relaxed muscles relieve stress on the joints and provide overall improved joint flexibility. The heat also allows blood vessels to expand increasing circulation to the affected areas. Although a hot water bottle can be used, this is a very temporary heat source, quickly dissipating and requires constant attention. The best way to provide continual warmth is through a heated dog bed or a heated cat bed. Once your pet begins to feel the soothing warmth on his sore and painful joints, his heated pet bed will became an oasis of relief. The heated pet bed will also give your dog or cat relief from sleeping on the hard surface of the floor which tends to only aggravates the arthritic condition. Arthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints and if your pet continues to sleep on floors that are hard and cold this could actually cause the arthritis to worsen. Lastly, the soothing warmth will have a calming effect on your pet and allow for a restful sleep.

An essential part of the plan I have placed my aging pets on is nutritional supplements. Just like in humans, nutritional elements can affect the wellness of your pet's body and its ability to support joint health. The most common natural supplement recommended for the relief of arthritis in dogs and cats is glucosamine. Glucosamine is the primary glue that keeps connective tissue and bone together and may help alleviate joint pain and discomfort. It has also been reported to be useful in the prevention of arthritis. Additionally, Sea Cucumber and Shark Cartilage are both reported to be excellent sources of a host of minerals and protein that may supply the therapeutic protection for joints and the surrounding tissues our pet needs. I have given all three of these supplements to my arthritic pets and have found positive response and relief for my pets each time I have used them.

I believe one of my dog's favorite forms of relief from arthritis pain is slow and gentle massage. Slow and gentle massage is the only type of massage we should conduct ourselves. Anything more intense should be done by a professional or under instruction from your veterinarian. Massage not only provides a loving bond between you and your pet, but it loosens and relaxes the muscles which will tighten with the onset of pain. The blending of massage and a heated pet bed will definitely provide a winning combination.

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