Most, if not all, aging dogs suffer from joint pain and arthritis just like people usually do. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to help your aging dog’s joint problems. Here are a few ways to care for your senior dog’s joint health.
As you get older, you may likely experience joint pain. This is mainly due to the decrease of lubricating fluid inside the joints. Years of usual wear and tear also cause the cartilage that cushions the bones and line the joint to become thinner. Apart from that, the ligaments also get shorter and lose some flexibility. All of these aspects make joint movement become less flexible and stiffer, resulting in joint pain and inflammation.
Humans are not the only species that experience this? Believe it or not, your beloved pet dog can also experience the same joint problems as they age.
Most, if not all, aging dogs suffer from joint pain and arthritis just as people typically do. Around 60% of all dogs in the US experience joint problems like arthritis or dysplasia which can not only cause limping, pain, and decreased energy levels but can also seriously diminish the quality of life for your pet.
Prevention and recognition of early signs are critical to managing and treating this joint pain. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to help your aging pet. You only need to search Google to find a wide array of dog supplements on the market as well as natural herbs that can help promote better joint health.
If your dog is one of the 60%, here are some tips our expert veterinarian, Dr. Erin West on our board has suggested for you.
Always Keep an Eye on Your Dog’s Weight
A large majority of big breeds and overweight dogs suffer from joint problems whether they are old or young. If your dog is quite overweight, help her or him get rid of those extra pounds. The excess weight can cause more strain and stress on the joints health, which in turn will cause the pain. And if your dog already has signs of arthritis, this excess weight can make the situation even worse!
Apart from exercise and keeping your dog active, picking the right food to serve your pet can also help them slim down. One food trick you can follow is to add a little unsweetened and un-canned pumpkin into your dog’s dinner. Pumpkin is rich in vitamins and minerals, which help boost your dog’s immune system and improve overall health. This nutrient-dense food has low-calorie content, as it is 94% water. Likewise, it is a good source of fiber which can help make your dog feel full easily and will help your pet curb their appetite. This is why pumpkin is considered a weight-loss friendly food, for humans and pets alike!
Another trick is to give your pet foods that are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and moderate in fat, and some fruits and vegetables that can be safe for your dog, this can be good for the health of our furry friends as well.
One other effective way to help your dog trim down is to cut down meal portions. Think “tapa” plates! But don’t do it abruptly. Instead, do it gradually. Cut down portions little by little each day until such time you reach the desired portion size. This way, it won’t be hard for your dog to adjust and at the same time, you will feel less guilty feeding your pet less food than they usually eat.
Truly, obese dogs can sometimes look cuter and more adorable than lean ones. But, if you truly consider the negative health effects that your overweight dog is likely to suffer from, you will surely think twice.
Give Your Dog the Right Supplements
Dogs typically receive a good amount of nutrition from their foods, but to ensure they receive the right amount of daily nutrients, a good all-around supplement is suggested. This is especially true for aging dogs. Apart from multivitamin supplements, it also helps to give your dog supplements that support pet joint health.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements contain powerful fish oils, which offer a potent antioxidant punch. This supplement cannot only help relieve painful joints; it likewise will promote weight loss and prevent/treat other diseases.
The best pet joint supplements are those that contain MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin. These types of joint supplements help promote a healthy joint and improve joint function while reducing swelling, pain, and stiffness.
Pain and inflammation are not the only problems you need to deal with when your senior dog has a joint disease. You also need to address the root of almost all dog diseases, which is the chronic, hidden inflammation. For this, you will need a joint supplement that contains ingredients that has a rich amount of anti-inflammatory properties like turmeric root. Turmeric is not only beneficial in alleviating low-grade inflammation, it likewise aids in protecting your dogs’ joints and hips, allowing them to enjoy a pain-free, healthier, and happier life.
Make Your Place More Dog-Friendly and Safe
Dogs, even the senior ones, enjoy jumping on different pieces of furniture like tables, sofas, and chairs. Jumping on and off the furniture (most especially the high ones) can take its toll on the joints of your dog. Also, you can read household tips to keep your pets safe. Further, you can prevent your dog from hurting themselves by making it easier for them to get on and off their favorite spot and do things they really love doing.
For instance, if your dog loves sitting on the sofa, provide a step or a ramp so they won’t have to exert more pressure on the joints to jump on and off. Also make sure that the ramp or step is not slippery because if it is, it can cause your senior dog to slip or get injured, requiring your pet to exert more foot pressure to avoid a fall, thus making the inflammation and pain worse. A smart idea is to pick a step or ramp with a detachable rubber grip or with carpet attached. This could be a simple DIY project you could install yourself, that will bring long-term benefit to your senior pet.
If you travel with your dog from time to time, it also helps to provide an appropriate ramp or step, making it easier for your pet to get into and out of your vehicle. A folding or carpeted ramp or step is the most ideal option.
Prevention is Better Than an Ounce of Cure
You surely have heard the popular saying “prevention is better than an ounce of cure.” Though you cannot be 100% sure that your pet will not be afflicted with some type of joint problem in the later parts of their life, you can do something to prevent it or at least minimize the risks.
We understand how fulfilling it feels for pet owners to have a very talented puppy… like, “see how high my dog jumps or how fast my dog runs” at a very young age, however, no matter how rewarding this may sound, all these activities have their own risks. Letting your puppy run too hard, jump too high, or exercise too much before their joints and bones are matured enough to handle the excessive motions, can lead to joint injury.
Needless to say, if you want to protect your dog from joint pain and injury now and in their senior age, you should carefully supervise daily exercise routines and don’t allow your pet to do things that can ruin the health of their joints.
Give Your Dog a Mollycoddling Massage
Yes, you read it right! Massage is not only for you but for your beloved pets as well. Massage can help ease pain caused by inflammation, especially for senior dogs. A regular massage can likewise help lower your dog’s risk to various joint and muscle problems, as well as prevent joints and muscle stiffness which is among the contributing factors for arthritis. Not only that, a good massage will help alleviate sore muscles, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure levels for your pet. Try a 5 to 10-minute daily massage, which can help relax and rejuvenate your senior dog.
Giving your dog a mollycoddling massage is not only beneficial for them but also for you! It can also be an effective way to release your stress and tension and to spend quality time with your pet. It is likewise an excellent way to identify what is normal in your dog and what is not.
Massaging your dog on a regular basis enables you to note new lumps, sore areas, or bumps that are unusual. When doing the massage, take note of the different layers of your dog’s body – from their hair to skin, from their fats and muscle down to the bones. See if there are any changes. This also allows you to give more precise information to the veterinarian.
When doing the massage, make sure not to exert sudden or direct force over the inflamed area. Instead, try to warm the tissue first by gently petting the surrounding area. You can then apply gentle compressions (in a pumping motion) over the affected area using your palm. This will help release the tension from the tendons around the joint and move the fluids through the muscles. Finish off by petting the area once again to soothe and relax the nerves.
Lastly, Keep Your Dog Active
Inactivity is one of the contributing factors to joint stiffness and pain. To prevent joint problems in senior dogs, make sure that he or she does not only stay in one place all day long. Encourage your pet to be active and let them move their joints and muscles. Let them exercise or play whenever you are available. Exercise does a body good, in both humans and pets.
Bobbie is a true entrepreneur. She’s always connecting products and people and building relationships. Her career in media and marketing spans over 20 years, and she has also owned a media agency since 2005. Her ultimate goal was to put together a “dream team” of experts in each of their fields from which support and knowledge could be drawn. This team is dedicated to creating the very best in support nutraceuticals for both humans and pets. More Natural Healing was formed with this goal in mind! It’s not just farm to table, but rather farm to science to a formula, to you.