Deep snow + Older dog = OUCH!

With the recent foot of snow we have in the area, I have seen many many old dogs present for “not being able to walk.” Is it just the cold weather? Probably not. The past couple days I realized just how hard deep snow can be on old dogs. Why? It is common for older dogs to have some level of arthritis in the lower back or rear legs. Many dogs compensate well and don’t show symptoms…they just shuffle their back feet along and fake it. (Dogs want to please us, and are very talented when it comes to hiding pain.) Add a foot of snow into that mix, and they now have to pick up their legs, taking them through an entirely different range of motion. They can’t do the compensatory shuffle that they have been, so their pain flares up from this extra motion. Imagine walking normally for several months, with some discomfort in your hips, knees, or back. Then one day you have to march every single step you take with your knees high. You would be sore the next day…. maybe to the point of barely being able to stand! Take-home message – if your dog doesn’t want to move around much after running around in the snow, it could be a symptom of something that has been lurking under the radar! Best to get him checked out and, most importantly, get some pain relief for the poor kid!