As dogs get older, their bodies get tired in the same way as ours. As we age, humans are always trying to maintain our quality of life by adopting a healthy lifestyle and avoiding danger, and it's time we did the same for our pooches!
One of the main health problems facing ageing dogs is the development of joint disorders. These are usually caused by the cartilage between their joints wearing out and tearing. This causes the bones to rub against each other, which can be terribly painful. The most common joint condition in dogs is osteoarthritis.
The joint problems are mainly in your furry friend's hips and knees, making it harder for your little furry friend to sit, lie down, climb or walk.
The 3 main causes of joint pain are ageing, excess weight and hereditary problems. These three different factors, which can all go hand in hand, can make a dog much more prone to developing joint problems. But this doesn't mean that a young, thin dog with no family history can't develop joint pain, which is why it's important for us to take care of our dogs, but needless to say.
There are many ways you can help slow down the degeneration of your dog's joints, some of which may even prevent further damage from occurring.
So here are our 6 simple tips for keeping your dog's joints in the best possible condition:
1/ Prevent joint pain in dogs by eating a low carbohydrate, high vegetable diet
Being overweight is one of the biggest factors in the development of joint pain in dogs, and the best way to control your dog's weight is through his diet! Choosing when and what to eat is essential to keeping your dog at a healthy weight. You can control his portions by using measuring cups or by weighing the amount of food you put in his bowl.
You also need to make sure he is getting the right nutrients. Dogs don't need a lot of carbohydrates in their diet, so try replacing dog treats with other healthy foods for them, such as a carrot or blueberries! By switching to fresh vegetables or fruit, you'll be cutting calories, adding new nutrients to his diet and giving your dog a treat!
The older a dog gets, the fewer calories he needs. It's best to ask your vet about the recommended amounts for your dog.
2/ Prevent joint pain in dogs with a scientifically proven joint supplement
Supplements are an overlooked corrective and preventive solution for joint pain in dogs. Fish oil is one ingredient to watch out for. The omega-3 in fish oil has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory ingredient, and studies have shown it to have the same effect as a painkiller on arthritis pain. And think about how we humans take our supplements; we don't wait until we have a problem or deficiency to take care of our health so do the same for your dog and don't wait until he is in pain to give him Hello Jack supplements ;)
3/ Prevent joint pain by keeping your dog active
For dogs with joint pain, it can be difficult to get up and move around. But if they don't move, it can get worse. A sedentary lifestyle can trigger a vicious circle: pain prevents them from exercising, but without exercise they gain weight and their bones stiffen.
That's why it's essential to find an exercise routine that works for them, and for you. Even a 20-minute walk a day is enough to get their joints moving and stop them stiffening. If your dog is reluctant to do this, it may be time to try a low-intensity exercise that doesn't stress the joints in the same way; swimming! There are pools that run classes where dogs are welcome, so look for one near you now! Of course, all dogs need to rest, but a proper exercise programme will help the joints move more freely and limit damage. If you are concerned about your dog's mobility, ask your vet about physiotherapy, hydrotherapy or massage techniques that may help your dog feel better.
4/ Prevent joint pain in dogs by not over-exercising.
This is very important. Playing and running around is what life is all about! But sometimes you have to stop. This is especially important for dogs that have been diagnosed with arthritis. You know your dog better than anyone else and you know when he is behaving differently. You may notice that he limps at the end of an active day or that he often licks a particular part of his body. These are just a few signs that he may have overdone it. When you spot these signs, consider reducing the amount or type of exercise he gets.
If you have a puppy, encourage plenty of activity, but it should be limited to avoid future joint problems. For example, make sure he doesn't jump from great heights too often. Jumping and falling can put pressure on the joints, putting extra stress on the developing bones in his body. This can lead to the early onset of joint and bone diseases.
A good working basis is a ratio of 5 minutes of exercise per month of their age until your puppy is fully grown. For example, if they are three months old, they can be walked for a maximum of 15 minutes twice a day. At 4 months, you can increase to 20 minutes twice a day, etc.
5/ Prevent joint pain in dogs by trimming their nails
For dogs who run around outside, nails naturally wear down to a length that doesn't interfere with their movements, but for dogs who spend more time at home, there is a risk of joint damage if the nails are not trimmed!
Something that may seem so insignificant can actually have a very big impact on the way your dog moves.
Walking can become uncomfortable for your dog's joints, due to the misalignment of his paws. Nails that are too long can push the bones out of their natural position, which can have a domino effect, as the leg bones are also connected to the spine! Trimming your pet's nails relieves pressure on the joints, keeping joints and movement healthy.
6/ Prevent joint pain in dogs by building a house that is adapted to their needs
You'd be surprised at the impact a simple change of furniture can have on your dog's joint health! By choosing a bed that is comfortable and appropriate for his size, his bones will thank you. Also, make sure the bed is in a warm part of the house to prevent the bones from stiffening.
Do you think it's cute and funny to see your dog jump on the sofa? We know it's absolutely adorable to snuggle up to him while watching TV, but have you ever thought about the consequences of that jump on his bones? One way to help them reach the sofa more easily is to use a ramp for anything they can climb on - this also works when they have to get into the car.
One more thing: The floor. Yes, it may seem a bit extreme to change the floor in your home, but it can really make a difference to your dog's physical health. If your floor is slippery, such as ceramic tiles or laminate wood, it may be worth replacing it with carpet or vinyl, which are softer and less slippery. Alternatively, you can lay down carpets, which will make each step a little easier.
Joint pain is no laughing matter, and it is up to you as a pet parent to ensure that your dog does not suffer.
It is the biggest problem facing dogs in the United States, so you shouldn't feel alone with this problem, and neither should your dog. Give your dog the support and comfort he needs to live a long and happy life!
These 6 tips should be the start of a long-term farewell to pain, so don't wait, because prevention is the key to stopping dog joint pain.