DOG / nutrition
A Guide to Supporting Your Dog's Hip and Joint Health
As much as we want them to stay their spunky, playful selves, senior dogs can sometimes develop aches and pains caused by aging. Just like humans, our four legged friends’ bodies can deteriorate over time, leaving them with uncomfortable and often painful joints. So, is there anything you can do to help your dog? Well, as much as we wish you could travel back in time and reverse all the risk factors that have led to an arthritis diagnosis, there’s no way to completely cure your pup’s disease and eliminate discomfort. However, switching them to a dog food that specifically aims to support your dog’s joint health can help them live their best life. Learn about canine arthritis as well as how dog food for joint health not only nourish their body, but help support their joints as well.
Arthritis and the Older Dog
Does your dog suffer from aches and pains, creaky joints and stiffness? It could be caused by canine arthritis. Aging dogs can suffer from some of the same problems some aging humans do. Though canine arthritis is caused by a variety of factors, it’s most commonly seen in older dogs.
What is Canine Arthritis?
Canine arthritis is basically the deterioration of cartilage that causes friction between two bones. Think of cartilage as a cushiony barrier between the two bones that make up a joint such as an elbow, hip or knee. As dogs get older, the cartilage in their joints begins to deteriorate. When the cartilage is damaged, it can cause their bones to rub together, which produces inflammation and pain. This joint pain may affect a dog’s mobility, often limiting their ability to play, run or even walk.
What causes Canine Arthritis?
It may seem like aging is the most common cause of canine arthritis, but getting older isn’t the only culprit. Besides aging, there are many factors that can increase your dog’s risk of developing arthritis. These include breed, size, autoimmune disorders, injury, diet and weight.
Some larger breeds are more likely to suffer from joint pain and arthritis. They include:
- Great Dane
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Doberman Pinscher
If your dog’s breed is listed above, it’s important to take preventative measures while they’re young to help decrease the likelihood of developing joint problems later in life. Things you can do to help include: helping them maintain a healthy weight, feeding them a diet full of Omega-3 fatty acids, and giving them regular exercise.
What are the Signs of Canine Arthritis?
If your furry best friend starts displaying the signs below, they may have canine arthritis. You should contact your veterinarian for an evaluation and proper diagnosis if your dog displays any of the following symptoms and behaviors:
- Stiffness, limping, or difficulty with physical activity
- Reluctance to play, run or jump
- Irritability or other behavioral changes
- Suddenly having accidents in the house
- Decreased muscle mass
- More lethargic than usual
- Weight gain
How to Prevent Dog Arthritis From the Start
There are several ways that you can prevent arthritis from the start.
- Weight Control - The best and most effective way to prevent arthritis and mitigate the symptoms is to make sure your pup stays at a healthy weight.
- Well-Rounded Diet - Making sure your pup always has everything they need nutritionally is a great way to make sure they stay at a healthy weight and have all of the nutrients they need to have a strong and healthy body.
- Regular Vet Check-ins - Your vet is always the best resource when it comes to anything surrounding your pup’s health. They can give you the best advice on your dog's lifestyle and diet to get your pup on the right track.
Benefits of a Hip and Joint Health Diet for Your Dog
Some studies suggest that certain ingredients may provide support to dogs suffering from joint pain. Make sure you give your dog food that is rich in natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids to support their joint health.
The bottom line? Dog food for joint health is specifically formulated to support your pet’s joint function by providing them with the nutrients they need for joint health.
Quick Tips for Optimal Hip and Joint Health in Dogs:
- Talk to your vet about the best diet and weight for your dog.
- Look for dog foods labeled “hip and joint health,” which contain Omega-3 fatty acids, plus other ingredients that may promote healthy joints.
- Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight. Even a few extra pounds, especially on a dog prone to joint problems, can be painful.
- Provide an orthopedic dog bed for support and comfort.
If your dog is experiencing symptoms of arthritis or seems to be having hip or joint pain, consult with your veterinarian. Ask about what arthritis treatment is available for your dog that could provide added relief.
Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.