Joint problems are a natural part of getting older, and they can occur for lots of reasons. Dogs do a lot of running and playing over the years, so it’s natural that their joints suffer a lot of wear and tear. Obesity or certain hereditary illnesses can also cause joints to become weaker or painful over time. Your dog may also develop osteoarthritis, or ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears from overuse. However, don’t despair – there are plenty of things you can do to help your dog feel better.
How to recognise joint problems
Before you can help your dog, you need to recognise the problem. This can be harder than it sounds, as dogs can be good at hiding their pain and discomfort. Joint problems can affect many aspects of your dog’s life, so you might notice your dog is less interested in doing normal dog things like playing, going walkies or even settling down to sleep. You may also notice that your dog is holding a paw or leg in a strange or awkward position. If you notice this kind of behaviour in your dog, you should consult a vet to find out exactly what the problem is.
It’s possible that your dog’s joint issues might be influenced by something missing in their diet. As dogs age, their dietary needs change, and depending on their size, activity level and weight, they may need a little extra nutritional help. There are many complete diets on the market that contain the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can keep your dog’s joints healthy.
Chondroitin and glucosamine are two of the most important ingredients you should be looking out for in your dog’s food. These natural nutrients are commonly found in cartilage, and are used to relieve joint pain and restore cartilage. Chondroitin and glucosamine are also used to treat arthritis in humans.
Supplements and treats
If your dog is happy with its current diet and you don’t fancy a change, you could also try specialist joint care snacks and treats. There are plenty of these on the market, and your dog will definitely appreciate an extra treat now and then! Another option is adding a supplement to your dog’s diet. These are generally available as powders or tablets, and contain a concentrated nutrient mix to keep your dog’s bones and ligaments healthy.
You can also make things easier for your dog around the house and car, by providing helpful extra furniture such as car ramps or steps. One of the most significant things you can do to help is to provide your dog with a comfy, supportive place to rest and sleep. An orthopaedic dog bed with memory foam supports the joints and helps ease those niggling aches and pains to encourage a good night’s sleep.
Joint problems in dogs are definitely something to take seriously, but there’s no need to worry – there are plenty of solutions to help your dog feel better!