Dog Joint Care

Dog Joint Care: The Complete Guide to Caring for Your Four-Legged Friend’s Joints

Looking after our bones and joints is important, especially as we get older. Looking after our dogs’ joints is just as important! Without the right care, dogs can suffer serious joint pain and may be unable to chase balls, go on walks, or excitedly greet you when you come home. With the right care, our fur babies can live healthy, happy lives and keep us company for many years. 

So, what does dog joint care involve? How do you look after your dog’s joints to keep them mobile and pain-free? In this article, we’re going to outline everything you need to know about dog joint care: why it matters, signs your dog might have a joint problem, and how to give your dog’s joints the best care possible. Let’s dive in.

Why Dog Joint Care Cannot Be Overlooked by Pet Parents

There’s nothing worse than seeing your dog in pain. Often, older dogs experience joint pain that can become so severe, they struggle to stand up. Of course, aging is a normal part of life, but dogs’ joints deteriorate very quickly if they are not cared for properly. 

Research shows that joint issues affect 20% of all dogs, with a whopping 80% of dogs over eight years old being affected. Joint issues are either categorised as developmental (issues that arise as the puppy grows) or degenerative (issues resulting from age and deterioration, like arthritis). 

Devastatingly, dogs that are otherwise still healthy and happy sometimes have to be put down, just because their joints deteriorate to the point where they can’t walk or move properly. 

Risk Factors for Dog Joint Problems

While joint problems can occur in any dog, there are certain factors that make some dogs more susceptible than others. Here are the main ones: 

  • Age: As dogs age, their joints become more worn and they are much more likely to develop painful conditions like degenerative joint disease (DJD). 
  • Breed: Certain breeds are more susceptible to joint problems, including Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Spaniels, and Rottweilers. 
  • Weight: Overweight dogs are more likely to develop joint issues because more weight and stress is being placed on their weight-bearing joints. 
  • Diet: Dogs with a poor diet may be more likely to develop joint issues, possibly because of the link between a poor diet and weight gain. 
  • Common Signs Your Dog is Suffering From Joint-Related Problems

    Treating your dog’s joint issue as soon as you see the first signs can have a huge impact on their quality of life, and how long you get to spend together. Here are some of the signs you should look out for and treat immediately to keep your dog chasing seagulls for years to come: 

  • Limping: You might notice your dog limping or favouring one side of its body. This one is especially common in older dogs. 
  • Inability to walk on stairs or jump: If your dog can’t walk up or down stairs, it may be due to a joint problem. The same goes if they can’t jump up into the car any more. 
  • Favouring their front legs: One of the most common forms of arthritis is hip dysplasia, which causes your dog to favour its front legs.
  • Depression or mood changes: When we’re in pain, it affects our mood. Dogs are no different. Your dog may seem disinterested in their favourite activities, or irritable. 
  • Licking their joints: Dogs lick themselves to heal wounds. Sometimes, they don’t realize their joint pain isn’t a wound and may like the sore joint. 
  • What Does Joint Care for Dogs Entail? Tips for Caring for Your Four-Legged Friend

    So, what does dog joint care involve? Understanding how to protect your dog’s joints is so important for their overall health and prolonged quality of life. To keep that tail wagging every morning, let’s look at the different elements of dog joint care and what you need to do to keep your pooch mobile and pain-free.

    Focus on Proper Nutrition

    Nutrition is essential for every aspect of your dog’s health, including their joints. If your dog doesn’t get the right nutrients, it might lead to weight gain, inflammation, or bone weaknesses, all of which can quickly lead to serious joint issues. So, how do you make sure this doesn’t happen? 

    First of all, it’s very important to understand that dogs have different nutrition requirements at different stages of their lives. For example, when your adorable, chubby puppy is growing, it needs puppy food which is specifically formulated to promote healthy bone growth and joint development. Older dogs, on the other hand, need lower-calorie foods to stay within a healthy weight range to avoid stressing weight-bearing joints. 

    Make sure you change your dog’s diet as its requirements change (your vet can help with this) and remember to switch foods very slowly - gradually transition from one to the other over a two-week period. Also, avoid feeding your dog processed foods, as these can contain preservatives and high sugar levels which can cause pain and inflammation in the joints. 

    Get Them Regular Exercise

    Exercising your dog is one of the most important responsibilities of having a fur baby. Exercise not only provides mental stimulation and helps to keep your dog within a healthy weight range, but it also can help keep your dog’s muscles and joints strong. 

    Of course, if your dog already has joint issues, running or games of fetch might no longer be suitable. But there are still plenty of other types of exercise you can try - many dogs love to swim, and this is a low-impact exercise that’s easy on your pup’s joints. Also, slow walks through the neighbourhood, or even a leisurely hike, are great options. 

    The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on their breed, size, and age. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day, and increase this if your dog seems restless, bored, or isn’t tired at the end of the day.

    Practice Weight Management

    As mentioned, extra weight can put unnecessary stress on your dog’s joints, which causes the joints to deteriorate more quickly. Keeping your dog within a healthy weight range is an important element of dog joint care and can keep your pup more mobile for longer. 

    The best ways to manage your dog’s weight are through diet and exercise. Make sure your dog is eating the recommended amount of dry food of their breed, age, and size, and limit the number of snacks and treats you give them. Monitor your dog’s weight and reduce their food intake if necessary. 

    Harness the Power of Joint Supplements

    Even if you feed your dog the best quality, premium dog food, it’s hard to make sure they are getting enough of all the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy joints. That’s why joint supplements are an important addition to your dog’s diet. Joint supplements reduce inflammation and pain, improve joint mobility, lubricate the joints, and help to slow down the development of arthritis. 

    Supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids can be the most effective. Glucosamine reduces inflammation and increases the amount of fluid around the joint, which reduces joint stiffness and pain for your dog. Chondroitin naturally reduces pain, stiffness, tenderness, and swelling. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease inflammation and pain around the joints. 

    Finding supplements containing these quality ingredients and no harmful additives can be a struggle. Plus, they have to taste great or your pup won’t be interested in them at all! It can be frustrating to spend a small fortune on supplements that don’t improve your dog’s health, while watching their joint pain slowly increase as time goes on. Luckily, there’s a brand right here in Australia that offers quality joint supplements for dogs that actually work. 

    At Mighty Munch, we have a great selection of joint supplements for dogs that can keep your four-legged friend enjoying life, pain-free. Our recipes are professionally formulated with high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to protect your dog’s joints for longer. Our dog meal topper is specially designed to help maintain joint health and support mobility in your dog, without the use of any nasty added fillers, artificial colours, or flavouring. 

    The best way to keep your dog mobile is to combine our Hip & Joint meal topper with our proprietary fish oil formulation. This winning combo not only helps to protect joints, but also reduces inflammation thanks to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the fish oil. 

    To protect your fur baby’s overall health, try our Joint & Coat Bundle - a combination of our best-selling Hip & Joint meal topper and our Dog Probiotics meal topper. This combo not only protects your dog’s joints, but also gives them a smoother coat and healthier gut. 

    Get Regular Check-Ups

    Of course, you should schedule an appointment with your vet if you notice any changes in your dog’s mobility or behaviour. However, it’s important to also get regular check-ups for your dog, even if they seem normal and healthy. A vet may notice changes in mobility or pain reflexes that you don’t spot yourself. 

    One of the reasons why check-ups are so important is that many joint conditions can be treated if they are detected early enough. Regular check-ups are the best way to make sure any joint issues your dog is developing are detected as early as possible. Follow your vet’s guidelines regarding how often you should schedule a check-up for your pooch. 

    Create A Joint-Friendly Environment

    One of the most effective ways to help protect your dog’s joints is to reduce the amount of stress that they have to put on their joints. Things like jumping and walking up and down stairs can put unnecessary stress on your dog’s joints. 

    Make sure it’s easy for them to get around your house, and that their bed is easily accessible. If they are welcome on your bed, consider putting some steps beside the bed so your dog doesn’t have to jump up and down to access the bed. 

    If you have stairs or steps, consider installing a ramp instead (it can be as simple as a wide plank of wood). Dogs also put a lot of stress on their joints when they are hopping into and out of the car - either pick your dog up for this, or get some steps to make it easier for them. 

    Are There Any Other Treatments for Dog Joint Issues?

    For some dog joint issues, surgery is an option. However, this is usually very expensive and isn’t guaranteed to work. Usually, surgery is reserved for dogs that are in severe pain and can no longer work. Most of the time, surgery doesn’t actually fix the cause of the joint issue, but can at least make a dog more comfortable. 

    Other medications may also be an option for treating your dog’s joint pain. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and glucocorticoids. If you believe your dog is in significant pain and you can’t control it with diet or exercise, you may want to discuss medication options with your vet.

    When to See a Vet

    An important part of dog joint care is to see your vet regularly for check-ups. But besides your scheduled check-ups, you should also book an appointment whenever you notice changes in the way your dog is walking or moving. If they are favouring one side, seem slow to get up, or just aren’t moving as much as normal, give your vet a call. 

    Wrapping Up Our Guide to Dog Joint Care

    So, that wraps up our guide to dog joint care. As you can see, protecting your dog’s joints is so important to ensure they live a long, happy life and don’t get slowed down by mobility issues. One of the most effective ways to protect your dog’s joints is with supplements that can be easily added to their regular meals. 

    Mighty Munch has a premium selection of dog supplements and meal toppers that are packed full of ingredients designed to protect your dog’s joints. They also offer dog collagen meal toppers to give your dog a smooth, sleek coat, and probiotics for dogs to promote healthy digestion. 

    Put your best friend’s health first. Get your joint supplements from Mighty Munch today.

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