Loving your four-legged friend means giving them the best care possible. From enrichment and training to diet and exercise, you pour a lot into your pooch to ensure your canine is as healthy as can be. And to take the best care of your dog, you need to take special care of its joints! Keeping your dog’s joints loosened up and ready for action is one of the best ways to take care of a dog as it ages.
Unfortunately, some dog breeds are even more susceptible to joint issues from birth, while others develop them as they age. Luckily, you don’t have to leave your dog’s joint health up to chance. While the answers aren’t always cut and dry, there are important steps you can take to improve your dog’s joint health. All while keeping them feeling their best at any age.
Here are the top five things you can do to improve your dog’s joint health and ensure a long, happy life.
Insight into The Anatomy of a Dog
Dogs typically have over 300 bones, with cartilage and ligaments joining them all together. Longer-tailed dogs have a few more bones than their smaller counterparts. Dogs’ joints not only help distribute weight and increase their range of motion, but they also act as shock absorbers! Your doggy’s joints protect it every step. Taking the necessary steps to improve a dog’s joint health is pivotal. Learning about their anatomy, being creative, and adding a daily supplement to their regimen keep your dog’s joints strong.
Ensure They’re Receiving the Right Vitamins & Minerals
Your dog’s diet directly impacts their physical and mental well-being. To improve your dog’s joint health, you want to ensure its food includes essential vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatories. While some of these vital must-haves occur naturally in foods, others come in the form of supplements that can be added to your dog’s diet. Here are a few supplements proven to improve joint health in dogs.
- Glucosamine – This helps reduce inflammation while encouraging the cartilage to absorb and retain water to provide an adequate cushion in the joints. A natural source of glucosamine is bone broth, but you can also get a prescription from your veterinarian.
- Chondroitin – Chondroitin works alongside glucosamine to reduce stiffness and fight deterioration of the entire joint. It occurs naturally in the chewy gristle of animal bones but can also be prescribed by your dog’s veterinarian.
- Green-Lipped Mussel – This New Zealand shellfish is a powerful anti-inflammatory rich in omega 3’s and antioxidants which also work to reduce pain. You can purchase this muscle from a seafood retailer or purchase the capsule supplement online. Green-lipped mussels also contain chondroitin.
Help Them Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
It’s natural to want to spoil Fido but those few additional pounds can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Carrying excess weight puts added pressure on your dog’s joints, accelerating cartilage deterioration. This can restrict the range of motion potentially making movement painful.
Managing your dog’s weight through diet and exercise can alleviate existing joint pain and prevent the onset of arthritic symptoms. It’s best to feed your dog a healthy diet with the necessary supplements and exercise them at least three times per week.
Dogs who are overweight are more likely to experience early-onset osteoarthritis and other arthritic conditions. Regular physical activity plays a vital role in keeping your pooch healthy and happy, but it is important to get Fido the right type of exercise. Low impact movements, such as walking, are the most beneficial to improving your dog’s joint health.
If your dog is older or you live in a warmer geographic location, then swimming is a great option for physical activity and many dogs love it. Hydrotherapy or water-based activities lighten the load on your pooch’s joints. But they still get the benefit of regular exercise.
Give Them Lots of Access to Water
Providing access to an adequate supply of fresh drinking water is essential to improving your dog’s joint health. Proper hydration is the key to keeping joints lubricated and correctly functioning. Water also aids in the proper digestion of food for the reuptake of essential vitamins and minerals.
Dehydration in dogs can cause tension in the tendons and ligaments increasing the chance of pain and injury. A healthy canine typically requires approximately one ounce of clean drinking water per pound of body weight per day. More is better but one ounce per pound of body weight is the minimum requirement.
Get Acquainted with Your Dog’s Veterinarian
Your precious pooch should be accustomed to regular visits to the veterinarian’s office. Routine exams give the veterinarian the opportunity to catch potential problems early and nip them in the bud. They will be able to diagnose musculoskeletal issues, changes in gait, and even dysplasia at the earliest possible time.
Some issues can be remedied altogether while others must be properly managed. Allowing your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s joint health gives your dog the best chance to live a happy, healthy pain-free life. One of the most important ways to improve a dog’s joint health is to make regular visits to the veterinarian who may prescribe joint supplements.
Keep Your Dog’s Joints Healthy
Your dog is an important part of your family, and you want to provide the best care possible. The quality of life and lifespan of your four-legged friend is directly related to its physical health. It’s important to take care of your dog by improving or maintaining joint health throughout every stage of life. Some breeds are predisposed to certain conditions. These conditions need additional care to keep their joints functioning their best. Other breeds tend to require more joint care during their senior years as their joints degenerate over time.
Ensure your dog is drinking plenty of water to keep joints lubricated while getting the right vitamins and minerals with a proper diet. Have some fun doing low-impact activities by taking regular walks or enjoying some hydrotherapy when the weather is warm. You don’t have to leave your dog’s joint health up to chance. Show your dog some love by taking the necessary steps to improve and maintain its joint health.