Joint pain is part of the ageing process for both dogs and humans alike. Let’s look at some ways that could slow down and possibly prevent the onset of arthritis and other joint issues for your senior dog.
Joint problems are a common problem of ageing dogs. Similarly, for people, the wear and tear of a lifetime of use can injure and put a strain on the joints. This wear and tear develops into arthritis. When the cartilage becomes damaged or starts to degrade due to strain or injury, pain is the result. Pain causes us and dogs to become reluctant to move.
Big dogs are more prone to developing arthritis. Their extra weight places more stress on the joints, but all dogs are at risk. Problems like hip dysplasia may be present earlier, but may not be obvious until dogs are six or seven years old.
Hips, elbows and knees are the most common problem spots. Dogs are stoic and can endure pain without showing their feelings or complaining. Dogs almost never show signs until a lot of damage has already occurred.
Typical signs are:
- reluctance to climb stairs
- trouble getting up after sleeping
- reluctance to exercise
One cannot reverse joint disease. You can however, slow down its progression and often prevent some of the worst problems.
Here are five ways to help keep your dog’s joints healthy:
1. PREVENT JOINT INJURY
Arthritis almost always develops as a result of an injury much earlier in life, even when your dog is a puppy.
Over exercise, jumping too high, and running too hard before a puppy’s bones and joints are mature, are common causes of joint injuries. Supervise your young dog’s exercise routine.
2. MAKE ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOMMODATIONS
Even adult dogs can hurt themselves by jumping on and off the sofa, for instance. Make it easier for your dogs to do what they love without risking injury.
For example: provide a dog ramp so they can easily get into and out of the car without jumping. Offer them a footstool so they don’t have to risk the leap.
3. TREAT INJURIES PROMPTLY
Veterinarians say it’s vital to treat any suspected injury as soon as possible. This is key to reduce or prevent joint problems as your dog ages.
Some dogs may need special treatment after an injury, be forced to rest or surgical repair to heal properly. Do not delay on any proper treatment required.
4. FEED APPROPRIATE FOOD
Large breed puppies can grow too fast and become too heavy for their immature joints. Adult dogs put on too much weight when overfed. Obesity adds strain to the joints and makes it painful to exercise.
Choose a healthy, correct diet. Researched joint-supporting dietary supplements like Sashas Blend slows down the progression of arthritis or even prevent joint problems in your pets.
5. KEEP DOGS MOVING
It’s good for both you and your fur buddy.
Arthritis and joint problems develop into a vicious cycle. When it hurts to move, dogs stop exercising. This leads to weight gain which puts increased stress on the joints.
Exercise “feeds” the joint by pumping natural lubrication into the area.
Gentle exercise keeps joints limber and healthy. It helps slim down pudgy dogs and helps them feel better.
Joints generally stiffen after naps. It may help to provide a heated bed or gentle massage each morning to get your dog limber before a walk.