Joint Care Tips for Dogs
As dogs age, their gradual lack of mobility is one of the more visible signs of their years starting to catch up with them. This is a common occurrence with senior dogs. Caring for and understanding your fur'iends joints can have a dramatic positive effect on their overall movement.
There are various reasons why pets develop joint problems in their later adult life-stages. We want to share with you the most common health reasons that can affect your dog's joints as well as some tips on keeping your dog's joints in the best possible condition.
How to identify your dog's mobility problem:
The most common form of joint disease in ageing dogs is degenerative joint disease; this disease is progressive and causes few, if any, noticeable symptoms in the early stages.
Osteoarthritis is another common form of joint and musculoskeletal disease in dogs and usually occurs at ages 7 and older. Symptoms include stiffness and limitations in motion especially when it’s cold or damp and after lying down for long periods. Certain breeds as well as athletic, working and overweight dogs are more susceptible to osteoarthritis.
Arthritis is a general term for abnormal changes in the joint. These changes occur when cartilage is worn away faster than it can be replaced. Cartilage acts as a cushion to protect the bones. When it wears away, joints become swollen and painful. Primary arthritis develops from the normal wear and tear of a joint with age and time so taking preventative measures from a young age is always advised to help maintain the healthy joints.
Although arthritis is not curable, early treatment is key — without it, your dog will continue to lose cartilage resulting in the need for more aggressive treatments like surgery.
The following are just a few things that may have a detrimental impact on your dog's joints:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Trauma occurring from falls and jumping mishaps
- Torn ligaments
- Chronic dislocating patella (Slipped knee cap)
Signs of arthritis in dogs:
- Hesitates to go up and down stairs
- Lagging behind or tiring easily during walks
- Prefers to lie down rather than sit or stand
- Stiffness, especially after resting
- Whimpers, growls or snaps when touched in the affected area
Dog Food and Canine Joint Care:
Studies have shown that premium pet foods rich in certain fatty acids and Glucosamine and Chondroitin can reduce joint inflammation as well as damage caused by osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are natural substances that help repair cartilage. They can be found naturally in high-quality proteins including chicken meal, fish meal and lamb meal. You can also find foods specially formulated for hip and joint health with added levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
The food your dog eats plays a vital role in his/her overall health and well-being. Balanced nutrition forms an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle for dogs. For accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for your dog’s arthritis and joint mobility health.
Veterinarians will often prescribe steroidal or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for these conditions. These drugs are highly effective, but, as with most medication, sometimes have unfortunate side-effects and long term use can be extremely damaging to the dog.
Sometimes, an alternative exists. Herbal or natural substances don’t always work – sometimes the disease is just too far advanced and beyond what natural medicine can help with. But in a lot of cases, there are natural products which go a long way towards helping to heal these problems. These could also be considered when looking at taking preventative measures for younger dogs.
These are some of the natural substances that help:
This is a root of a plant that grows in the Kalahari Desert – an African export that is used world-wide to alleviate the pain and inflammation of arthritis and related conditions.
MSM is a naturally occurring, sulphur-containing substance that helps in a variety of diseases, including allergies and joint diseases. No one is absolutely sure exactly how it works, but it has been proven to work in a number of highly professional clinical trials.
Glucosamine sulphate is a very small building block of cartilage. So, when cartilage is damaged, by disease or injury, glucosamine sulphate helps in the rebuilding process.
Fenugreek is a lesser known herb which is extremely effective in assisting in alleviating sore joints.
Evening Primrose Oil
Containing Omega 6 oils, EPO has been scientifically proven to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
These natural substances may be tricky to come by, however, our stores stock OTC Joint Care Products with those ingeredients such as;
Mobiflex Powder and tablets contain Glucosamine and Condroitin Sulphate which aids in slowing down joint degeneration, Green-Lipped Mussel Consentrate for an anti-inflamatory effect and MSM to help with joint flexibility.
You can find these at http://www.vetsmart.co.za/product/kyron-mobiflex
If you prefer taking a more herbal approach you can have a look at Ricky Litchfield capsules that contain Buchu and Salmon oil for an anti-inflammatory effect.
You can find this at http://www.vetsmart.co.za/product/ricky-litchfield-anti-inflammatory-cap...
There are many other products specifically for joint care such as GCS-Dog, Regal Joint Health Remedy, Orthoplex Plus and more. Pop in to one of our branches and our friendly sales assistance will point you in the right directions. Keep in mind that it takes at least 6 weeks before you will see a noticeable difference.
*Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a consultation with your veterinarian. It is best to contact your veterinarian immediately should you have any concerns or queries regarding your pet's health.