As your dog ages, they become more and more susceptible to joint stiffness. This is typically caused by everyday wear and tear – or sometimes genetics – and can cause severe discomfort and immobility.
What’s worse, when winter comes around, your dog’s joints weaken. Read on to find out why the cold weather worsens joints, and how to keep your pup happy, healthy and active, even when it’s chilly outside…
Why cold weather affects your dog’s joints
Animal experts aren’t 100% sure what causes increased discomfort when it’s cold. In fact, the same thing happens in humans. But here are a few potential causes:
- A drop in air pressure. This causes tissues in your dog’s body to swell and makes moving much more difficult.
- Rigid muscles. Even in dogs who don’t suffer from joint stiffness, the cold can cause muscles to become tense. For dogs with existing stiffness, this can be difficult to manage.
- A lack of exercise. Freezing temperatures mean staying indoors, short walks – or no walks at all – and a lot of lounging around. But dogs with joint stiffness need movement to stretch and warm up their muscles, as this helps to reduce stiffness.
Exercising your dog when it’s cold
The single most important thing when it comes to your dog’s joints is to keep them moving. Although your canine companion might not want to – or even if they feel stiff at first – moving around, stretching and strengthening their muscles will all help to reduce the amount of stiffness they feel.
Plus, dogs love a routine. If your dog did a lot of exercise in the warm, summer months, a lack of activity when it’s cold is likely to lower their mood. Try to go on at least one walk per day. If you can, go at midday rather than the evening or morning, when it’s warmer.
If the weather is too harsh – think snow, strong winds or freezing temperatures – encourage your dog to exercise at home. Or, if there are any in your local area, book your dog into a dog hydrotherapy class. Swimming is one the absolute best exercises for stiff joints – in dogs and in humans. The water acts as an aid, supporting your dog’s body. It lowers the strain on their joints, and lets them make movements that would otherwise cause discomfort. What’s more, it builds muscle strength, stimulates blood flow and helps to loosen their joints.
Not sure if your local swimming pool does doggy sessions? Talk to your vet. All canine hydrotherapists need veterinary approval, so your vet will likely know whether there are classes in the area.
Other ways to battle the cold
During the winter months, you’ll probably spot your senior dog struggling more than usual – this is especially true right after they wake up on those frosty mornings. Take a look at our handy guide for some tips on how to create a winter-specific treatment plan for your pup. Or, keep reading to discover some of the best things you can do to battle the cold and improve your dog’s mobility.
1. Get cosy
The cold temperatures can make it more difficult to move. That’s why it’s so important to warm up your dog by providing comfy and snug accessories – for instance, pet-safe heating pads and blankets. Place your dog’s padded bed close to the radiators, fireplace or any toasty spots in your home while they dream the night away. The extra warmth might encourage more movement, or at the very least will keep your dog cosy.
Clothing – such as waterproof jackets and coats – can also help to keep the joints warm. Smaller breeds and senior dogs are more likely need a little extra warmth when going on winter walkies. If you find that your dog’s extra chilly after a walk, make sure to warm them up when you get home. Discover more must-dos for when you get home from a winter walk in our cold weather recovery tips.
2. Let them rest
Your dog probably won’t want to do a huge amount of exercise if the cold temperatures are making their joints stiffer. That’s why it’s so important to give them enough time to relax.
In winter, it’s even more vital that your dog has a comfortable, ergonomic bed to lie down in. We recommend choosing one that’s specially designed to support stiff joints. Plus, you should make sure their bed is big enough for them to fully stretch out in. And a couple of beds around the house might be beneficial if your dog likes to switch up their location throughout the day.
If your dog likes to snuggle on the sofa or on your bed, lifting them up is better for their stiff joints than jumping or straining. The best solution is a dog ramp or dog stairs to help your furry friend reach their favourite spots.
3. Give them some extra love
We all need a little extra care and attention when it’s cold outside. And your dog is no different. A relaxing pamper can do your dog’s joints the world of good. Start your spa session with some relaxing music and a head-and-shoulder massage. Then treat their claws to a trim, before a gentle massage of the legs and toes. If your dog has any problem areas – such as the knees, elbows or hips – a massage can loosen stiff muscles and make it easier for them to move.
Or why not try an alternative treatment like physical therapy, herbal baths or acupuncture? Want to know which home remedies work and which ones are just myths? We’ve got all the information you’ll need in this handy guide.
4. Keep them trim
During the cold months – and especially during the festive season – people and their pets tend to move a little less and eat a little more. But did you know that overweight dogs are significantly more likely to suffer with joint stiffness? In addition to the extra weight in each step, excess fat can increase inflammation and discomfort.
If you’re unsure on how to stop your dog from packing on the pounds over winter, reach out to your vet. They’d be happy to help!
5. Try a supplement
If your dog isn’t already taking joint supplements, winter might be the perfect time to start. Our YuMOVE range for dog joints is specially designed to increase mobility, support overall joint health and soothe stiffness.
How YuMOVE helps your dog’s joints
The biggest benefit of YuMOVE? It works. But don’t just take our word for it. We have thousands of happy customers all around the world. Just take a look at our reviews on Trustpilot – we’re rated ‘Excellent’.
What’s more, the efficacy of our all-natural formula has been proven by a clinical study from the Royal Veterinary College. In fact, we’re so confident YuMOVE will make a difference to your dog, that we offer a 60-day Money Back Guarantee.
What makes YuMOVE so special?
It’s all down to the Green Lipped Mussels we use. It’s a common ingredient in joint supplements, but our variety is especially powerful. That’s why it’s been given a name you won’t find elsewhere – ActivEase® Green Lipped Mussel. ActivEase® is our promise to you. A promise that we can offer you a superior ingredient to our competitors, for a number of reasons:
- We sustainably farm our mussels in one specific area. It took us numerous trips to New Zealand to identify the bay we wanted to farm our mussels in. The decision was only made once we knew that the water quality made for better quality shellfish, and when we were convinced of the best times of year to harvest.
- We also use a super-speedy extraction method that dries our Green Lipped Mussel and transforms it into a powder in just 30 seconds, without the use of heat. The result? A much fresher, much higher concentration of joint-soothing Omega-3s.
In a nutshell, we’re proud to say that not only do we use the world’s best Green Lipped Mussels, but our farming and production methods put us a cut above the rest.
Want some more practical guidance on looking after your dog this winter? Take a look at our guide to walking your dog in the dark.