When it comes to dog joint health, we want to keep our pets as mobile and free from pain and inflammation as possible. Most dogs will suffer from joint issues at some point in their life. Arthritis affects dogs as commonly as it does humans. We have put together some frequently asked questions regarding dog joint health causes and treatments. As always, if you suspect your pet is suffering from a health issue, contact your veterinarian for a check-up.
What is Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis or OA, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, is a progressive condition that causes inflammation in the joints. This condition develops because of a breakdown in cartilage. Cartilage acts as a cushion between our joints. There are a number of factors including age, stress, injury, and disease, that occur. As the cartilage in the joints breaks down it can lead to an increase in pain, loss of range of motion, and inflammation.
Just like humans, pets can develop arthritis. In fact, this is a very common condition affecting nearly two-thirds of pets in their lifetime. While any joint in your pet’s body can develop arthritis, it commonly occurs in the limbs and hips.
Which pets are at higher risk for developing arthritis?
While any pet can develop arthritis as they age, there are some factors that play into whether or not your dog will suffer from this condition. These include:
- Age. Typically middle-aged to senior pets are diagnosed with arthritis.
- Breed. Medium to Large breed dogs have a higher chance of developing arthritis, especially Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Newfoundlanders, and German Shepherds.
- Obesity. Pets that are overweight have a greater chance of arthritis due to the increased stress placed on their joints.
- Injuries or illnesses. Fractures, sprains, and some illnesses such as Lyme Disease can increase the chances that your pet will develop arthritis.
- Repetitive stress from activities. Dogs who engage in agility sports such as, dock-diving and obstacle courses have a tendency to develop arthritis. This is due to the added physical stress these activities put on their joints.
What are the signs of joint problems?
Often times, people notice their dogs are doing fewer activities or having more difficulty with a once common activity. Your dog may develop a problem getting up on the couch, bed or handling stairs. With more active dogs, maybe they are not running as long with their owner, or they don’t want to play as long at a park.
From there it may progress to lameness. This may include holding a limb up or putting less weight on a limb. Limping or hobbling are also signs of joint problems. These are the most common things you may see. Rarely do you see overt pain as the first complaint. Usually, it’s a slow and degenerative process.
What are the common treatments for osteoarthritis or joint problems?
It varies. Depending on the severity veterinarians divide it into surgical and non-operative treatments. Surgical treatments can range from arthroscopic cleaning of a joint all the way up to total joint replacement.
On the non-surgical side, there are different factors to consider. First and foremost, and the one that has the most effect on the non-surgical side, is weight management and body condition. Trying to get your dog to an ideal weight will decrease the stress on the joints. This can also decrease the inflammation because fat is a source of inflammation in the joints. With body conditioning, you try to get the dogs’ strength built up. That’s because the muscle mass and muscle function will help protect the joints and help the overall function as well. Then there are various types of medications. As for drugs, there are anti-inflammatories, analgesics, and pain relievers.
Are there any vitamins or supplements to improve dog joint health?
Yes. Many studies have shown that all-natural ingredients, such as glucosamine helps when there’s arthritis present. Glucosamine is a supplement commonly recommended to improve joint health and ease joint discomfort. There are many studies on its effectiveness in helping form and repair joint cartilage. As our pets age, the natural production of glucosamine in their body shows. Ongoing joint wear and tear and slower cartilage repair time can lead to limited joint movement, flexibility and joint discomfort. Glucosamine supplementation can help to support cartilage and joint mobility and maintains muscles. It can also be a preventative and slow down the progression of arthritis.
We believe our product Flexpet is the best joint supplement on the market when it comes to dog joint health. Our Flexpet joint care supplements are highly reviewed and they are made in the USA from human-grade US sourced ingredients. Not only do they repair joints, but they also boost pets’ energy and immune system levels. Learn more about which of our formulas to use here.
How can I tell if a supplement is helping my dog?
- Mobility: Is your dog more active than before? Does he or she have less difficulty getting up after resting? Does your dog jump more and climb stairs easier?
- Limping: Is your dog limping less and willing to put more weight on his joints?
- Joint Licking: Some dogs lick their sore joints. If this was the case for your dog, have you observed a decrease in joint licking and chewing?
- Behavioral Changes: Has your dog’s mood improved or aggression level dropped?
At Flexpet, we care about you and your pets. We want to help you keep them as healthy as possible. We have a fantastic and knowledgeable customer care team available to answer any of your questions about our joint supplement products and how they may help your dog or cat. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, or contact us by phone at 1-800-505-0575.