In arthritic dogs, wear and tear – often caused by ageing – reduces the amount of cartilage that supports the joints, causing inflammation and pain.Thankfully, there are treatments available to help pets continue to live a good quality of life.

PDSA Vet Lynne James, said: “Signs of arthritis often include a reluctance to exercise or stiffness, which is usually noticed after pets have been resting. They might be struggling to groom themselves, as they can’t bend to reach certain areas, or could be over-licking places that are painful. You might notice that they are worried about being touched or are protective when you get too close.

“Pets with arthritis become less active and may prefer to curl up in their beds instead of going out for a walk or venturing outdoors as they can feel uncomfortable and miserable. Cats and rabbits that are struggling to groom themselves properly can have coats that look dull or knotty.”

Lynne adds: “It’s worth visiting your vet if you notice any symptoms, or suspect your pet may have arthritis. It can be often be managed through medication and some simple changes to a pet’s lifestyle.”

A typical treatment plan for a pet with arthritis could include:

• Medication prescribed for your pet by their vet to reduce pain and swelling

• Prescription diets or nutritional supplements that may improve joint function or reduce inflammation

• Changes to your pet’s diet to keep them a healthy weight and size

• Regular periods of short gentle exercise

• Hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and other complementary treatments, as advised by your vet

Caring for a pet with arthritis takes understanding and patience, but with careful management and treatment, affected pets can still enjoy a good quality of life and stay happy and active into their golden years.