5 Signs That Your Cat is Suffering From Arthritis

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Arthritis is a fairly uncommon condition in cats. It affects about three in every ten cats. Arthritis may affect cats as they age due to disintegration of the joints. However, there have been cases where it has occurred in younger cats due to infection or trauma. It is important that you are aware of signs associated with arthritis so you can spot the same in case your cat develops the condition. While arthritis is a long-standing condition which does not have any cure once it has set in, given the right treatment, medications and a few lifestyle changes, you can contain the pain and discomfort that it is causing to your pet. Here are some signs of arthritis that you want to watch out for:

Finds it difficult to climb up the stairs

If you cat faces difficulties in climbing up the stairs or stops jumping onto perches and countertops all of a sudden, then it could be a sign of arthritis. Your cat may be hesitant about moving as freely as before due to the pain and discomfort.

Is not keen on playing

Cats with arthritis tend to tire much faster than when they were healthy. Your cat may show signs of lethargy, where it is not as keen on playing as it was before. You may find them sleeping for much longer than usual, and they may also show difficulty in finding a comfortable position to sleep in.

Limps when it walks

Does your cat limp when it walks? You will have too observe closely for this sign, as the limp may be conspicuous right after your cat gets up to move around, rather than a while after, when it is already warmed up.

Shows reduced grooming

Does the coat of hair on your cat appear unkept? Cats with arthritis have a tendency to not groom themselves, resulting in a disheveled appearance, but this is not always the case. Some other cats have a tendency to lick, bite and chew in areas that are causing pain. They may lick, bite or chew on the area till it shows up as some swollen skin or a bald patch.

Is easily irritable

Does your cat have a case of “bad moods” off late? It could be due to arthritis pain. Cats are wired to not show any signs of weakness or pain, so they can guard themselves in case they are attacked. So, what you are assuming to be as just foul mood could actually be as a result of painful joints. Cats may show their irritability by snapping or biting when you approach them or try to hold them, or if it causes more pain when you handle them.

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Why Is My Dog Afraid of Animals All The Time?

 

Why Is Your Dog Afraid Of Animals?

A dog’s fear of other animals can have a big impact on their life, and your life too. Some dogs are afraid of all animals. Other dogs are only afraid of unfamiliar animals. And still others are afraid of certain species: many dogs are afraid of cats!

The way your dog shows fear will depend on your particular dog. Some dogs exhibit classic fear behaviors: tail tucking, trembling, panting, lip licking, trying to escape, whining, and hiding. Other dogs respond to fear by becoming aggressive. Rather than waiting for an attack to happen, they go on the defense and growl, bark, lunge, or bite.

RELATED STORY: Reading Dog Body Language

Clearly, a dog’s fear of other animals can be dangerous. A dog who is afraid and exhibiting fear behaviors could become a target for other animals. A dog who becomes aggressive when afraid may hurt other animals or people.

So what causes a dog to become afraid of other animals, and what can you do to help!

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a dog becoming afraid of other animals:

  • Lack of regular exposure to other animals: Even if you socialize your dog early, they may still become fearful if they do not have regular continued exposure to other animals.
  • Genetic predisposition: Some dogs are just born more anxious or timid. In many cases, these are traits passed on by the parents. So even if your dog is well-socialized, they may still tend to be fearful of other animals.
  • Traumatic event involving another animal: If a young dog gets into a fight with another dog at a young age and is badly injured, they may live to fear all dogs. In some cases, a dog may even become fearful if an animal was near them when something frightening happened, even if the animal was not directly involved.
  • Unknown cause: In some cases, you may not be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your dog’s fear.

RELATED STORY: How We Misunderstand Dog Aggression

What to Do if Your Dog Is Afraid of Other Animals

The first thing to do is correctly identify your dog’s fear of animals. Some pet parents mistake their dog’s fear for aggression and will punish or yell at their dog when it growls or barks at other animals, thus making the dog more afraid and their future reactions to animals worse.

So first things first: study your dog’s behavior and try to find the source of the problem.

Once your correctly identify your dog’s fear, you can go from there:

  • Manage your dog’s behavior: especially if your dog becomes aggressive when afraid. Keep your dog on a leash, stay a good distance from other people and animals, and stay calm. If you grip the leash tighter or tense up when another animal turns the corner, your dog will notice and tense up, too.
  • Do not punish your dog for being afraid: again, it can only make the problem worse. On that same note, you should not constantly reassure your dog when they are afraid. Your dog will not understand and may only become more anxious.
  • Do not force your dog to be around other animals if they are afraid. Many pet parents think that they can fix their dog’s problem by forcing exposure to other animals, and if the dog has never acted aggressive before, what’s the harm? The problem is that forcing a dog into an uncomfortable situation can actually increase their fear, and even if you’ve never seen it before, there is a good chance the dog could respond with aggression.
  • You may need the help of a trainer or animal behaviorist to correct your dog’s fear. Desensitization and counter-conditioning training — in which you to teach your dog that good things rather than bad things happen around other animals — can be very successful, but challenging to carry out.

Is your dog afraid of other animals? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

 

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