Arthritis in Dogs – The Happiness Factor

A recent study reported in The Journal of Pain examined the relationships of marital status and marital adjustment to pain and physical and psychological disability in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Remember this is different to Osteoarthritis. See Video 1!!). The findings of this study suggested that being married in itself is not associated with better health in RA but that being in a well-adjusted or non-distressed marriage is linked with less pain and better functioning.

This is a great example of how complex an issue pain is. We can easily think of pain as either being there or not being there. Well, there are many factors that influence our perception of pain and I suspect this is true of our pets as well. Depression is well known to accompany chronic painful conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in people. Now of course, it is nigh on impossible to know if our pets experience depressive disorders but, as this study on RA pain demonstrates, environment can affect general mood and our ability to cope with pain.

How relevant is this to our pets? Difficult to know but I suspect a happy dog copes with their joint pain better than an unhappy one. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Give your pet a nice comfy bed
  2. Make sure you give them plenty of attention when you get home after a busy day
  3. Yes, an extra tummy rub wouldn’t go amiss
  4. Take them for that walk and a good sniff around even though you are tired.

OK, have you got any other suggestions? Please comment below. Hey, come on, we could get enough to make a big list of ‘Make Your Dog Happy’ suggestions. We could even make it a regular feature. Let’s not forget cats – they get arthritis too.

Best regards