Maintaining Joint Health

Dec 18, 2019 | Dog Health, Nutrients

We all love it whenever our dog comes running at us after a tiring day at work. So it’s only natural to look for ways to maintain your pet’s bone and joint health. 

Joints provide structure to your pet’s body to let your dogs walk, jump, and move freely without feeling pain. They also allow your furry companion to perform simple to complicated exercises.

There are several parts of a joint, and each element plays a crucial role in your dog’s mobility and strength. The connecting bones give your pet’s body stability, while the cartilage, a connective tissue, prevents these bones from colliding with each other. With the help of this firm tissue, animals can move without experiencing pain and inflammation. Lastly, the synovium and synovial fluid lubricate the bones and cartilage, decreasing the risk for arthritis. However, since the joints are often used, they are prone to disease and trauma.

It’s easy to recognize if your furry companion suffers from joint health issues. Limping, standing with only the two front legs, and refusal to perform simple exercises are some of the telltale signs. You may also notice swollen joints, and in extreme cases, muscle degeneration occurs. Since they experience severe pain, the risk for depression heightens. Thus, we can all agree that healthy joints significantly contribute to an animal’s improved quality of life.

So, how can you maintain your dog’s optimal joint health in an effort to prevent painful and debilitating disease progression? Read on to learn about our top five tips on how to promote your dog’s joint health.

1. Provide Healthy Natural Food and Snacks

Excess weight puts unnecessary pressure on the bones and surrounding structures, so it’s important to prevent your dog from being overweight. Obesity also leads to various health problems, such as arthritis and chronic pain.

To prevent these debilitating issues, it’s advisable to introduce your pets to healthy and natural  food, such as turmeric, fish oil, and parsley.

  • Turmeric

    Yellow-orange in color, turmeric is a widely-available spice often found in your kitchen cabinet. It contains curcumin, which helps in preventing inflamed joints. You can incorporate this ingredient by mixing it with the food or extra virgin olive oil. Blend the turmeric and oil with ground pepper to make a paste that you can add to your dog’s wet food.

  • Fish oil

    Salmon has omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent inflammation and improve mobility. The Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) present in salmon lower the risk of arthritis among dogs.

2. Right amount of exercise

Too much of everything is bad, even for your furry companion. It’s important to be knowledgeable regarding your dog’s breed, so you’ll know how much exercise it needs. Like Yorkshire terrier and Siberian husky, high-energy breeds require more exercise than low-energy breeds, such as Poodles and Bulldogs.

Allowing your dog to perform the right amount of exercise avoids overuse of muscles, bones, and joints. It’s enough to take your dog for a walk for 30 to 45 minutes each day. If you have a busy day, play fetch with your dog, using a ball or other toys.

3. Massage your dog

A simple massage provides excellent joint care for dogs since it increases blood supply to the joints. Besides the health benefits your dog can receive from massages, it also strengthens your bond.

Since dogs are more sensitive than humans, specific techniques are needed to provide them with the utmost comfort. Before starting the massage, ensure that your dog is relaxed by talking to him or her using a soft voice. Then, apply circular motions to your pet’s neck, shoulders, chest, front legs, back, back legs, and tail area. Always remember to maintain gentle pressure during the massage.

4. Use ramps and carpets

Overuse of bones and their surrounding structures may lead to joint disease or trauma. Ramps and stairs can help with this issue since they limit the number of leaps and amount of force your dog is exposed to each day. We recommend installing heavy-duty ramps next to your bed if your furry companion loves sleeping in your room. It’s also advisable to bring a dog ramp whenever you travel with your pets. This way, it will be easier for them to go in and out of the vehicle.

Aside from ramps, it would help if you also considered putting carpet over your floor to help decrease the risk of joint injury should your dog slip or slide. It reduces tension to different parts of your dog’s body, such as the knees and elbows.

5. Introduce supplements to your dog

Often, animals can’t get all the nutrients they need from their food alone. This is why it’s a great idea to incorporate supplements to achieve optimal joint health for dogs. But, it’s still important to contact a veterinarian and ask for recommendations. Some of the most common dog supplements include:

    • Glucosamine

      This natural chemical compound regulates the synthesis of collagen, a protein found in your dog’s connective tissues. When searching for this supplement, you’ll come across glucosamine hydrochloride (HCl) since this is a more concentrated form, and thus, ideal for animals.

    • Chondroitin

      Chondroitin is also found naturally in humans and animals. Usually, glucosamine supplements also include chondroitin, so it’s not difficult to find this dietary supplement. It is responsible for providing elasticity to your pets’ tissues, allowing them to experience pain-free mobility.

    • MSM

      Like the two supplements mentioned above, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is also found naturally in your dog’s body. It is a known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory component, which prevents joint disorders among animals.

Providing healthy food, introducing supplements, ensuring the right amount of exercise, massaging your dog, and using ramps and carpets are some of the ways in which you can maintain your pet’s healthy joints. Follow these tips to lower the risk of dog joint disease and allow your pet to live a pain-free life!

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