Pets by Nature | 5 Tips to Improve Joint Health

5 Tips to Improve Joint Health

5 Tips to Improve Joint Health for Dogs

Courtesy of Modern Dog Magazine

Joint health for dogs! There are many different reasons why a dog might develop joint problems. These mainly fall under two categories—developmental, where the joints don’t develop properly, and degenerative, where the cartilage around the joints deteriorates over a long period of time (think arthritis and osteoarthritis). Developmental joint problems include issues like hip and elbow dysplasia and are typically genetically inherited conditions. The exact cause of degenerative joint problems is not known, but there are several reasons the condition might worsen.

These include:

  • Old age
  • Excess weight
  • Stress on joints from excess physical activity (this is especially common with working and sporting dogs)

What are the Symptoms of Poor Joint Health for Dogs?

  • Difficulty standing up or lying down
  • Stiff, slow walking or limping
  • Lethargy, including no longer enjoying their favorite games or toys
  • Increased irritability or crying when touched

Some breeds are more prone to having joint problems than others. Joint health for dogs typically larger breeds such as Great Danes, Newfoundlands, and Rottweilers, however some smaller breeds like the Dachshund can be predisposed to joint problems as well. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, make an appointment to see your vet. They can advise you on the best course of action for your situation.

Top Tips For Improving Joint Health for Dogs:

1. Weight Management
Just like with humans, excess weight can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Extra weight puts extra pressure on your dog’s joints, so if your dog is overweight, even a little, getting his weight down is the first step to improving his joint health. Make sure your pup is getting enough exercise in the way of walks and play, but make sure not to overdo it as this can also cause stress on the joints. Take a good look at the ingredients in your dog’s food and how much you’re feeding him. If his food has lots of artificial colours and flavours, preservatives, and chemicals, consider switching to something more natural.

2. Supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin are imperative to improving joint health. Glucosamine is a natural compound that helps relieve pain and stimulates the growth of cartilage cells (the cushioning between joints). Chondroitin is a chemical found in cartilage that helps inhibit the cells that damage cartilage. Manufacturers of these supplements often combine the two ingredients for the best results. There are of course other supplements that can help improve joint health in dogs but these two are the foundations of most of them. Talk to your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

3. Improved Accessibility
When anyone, human, canine, or otherwise, is experiencing joint pain, climbing on or off furniture can be incredibly difficult. For pets with chronic joint pain, consider getting an easy-access bed without bolsters around all sides they have to climb over. If your dog typically sleeps in your bed with you, try using a ramp so that rather than jumping up and off the bed, which puts stress on the joints, your dog can simply walk up or down the ramp.

Click below to read the other tips for improving Joint Health for Dogs:

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