One of the most common maladies to afflict dogs is chronic joint pain, especially in their hips. At least 15 of the most popular breeds have a greater than 40 percent chance of experiencing hip pain issues, according to the Canine Health Information Center. And since dogs make their owners better people, we owe it to our best friends to find ways to ease their pain.
Signs Of Canine Joint Issues
While most dogs, like humans, are at risk of increasing joint pain in the hips and elbows as they age, some larger mixed or working breeds are more susceptible, like German Shepherds, Golden and Labrador retrievers and Great Danes. Common signs of joint issues include a slight limp, reluctance to climb stairs and difficulty standing from a lying position.
Hip dysplasia is considered the mother of all orthopedic dog diseases for being so common and so arthritically crippling. Dysplasia occurs when the ball of the thigh bone isn’t properly aligned with the hip socket causing a moderate limp at first. There’s usually no way to prevent hip dysplasia because it is almost always inherited, but there are many options when it comes to treatment and management.
Vitamins To Soothe A Dog’s Aching Joints
There are many natural supplements that can provide relief to dogs suffering from joint pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two compounds beneficial for your dog’s joint health that bolster cartilage to reduce inflammation while also cushioning joints to decrease deterioration. If dogs resist pill swallowing, there are other delivery systems to get the same goodness like powders, soft chews or liquids that can be mixed into their daily meal.
CBD oil, derived from the cannabis plant has become a hip, new compound praised for its anti-inflammatory effects. Another oil shown to reduce stiffness and support joint lubrication is Omega-3 found in fatty fish oils like salmon or cod liver. Any oil can be added to the dinner bowl for easy consumption.
Managing Joint Problems Naturally
Beyond vitamins, there are simple, sensible ways to help reduce joint pain. If your pup is overweight, his bones and joints will have to bear more strain. Keeping a strict measure on his daily food intake (and resisting the temptation to feed him table scraps) is the best way to maintain an ideal weight and reduce joint stress.
Regular exercise is also vitally important to support the strength of muscles around the joints. If your pup has been diagnosed with arthritis, even low-impact exercise helps preserve flexibility and strength. In addition, choose grass, sand or soil to walk your dog as these softer surfaces won’t create as much joint impact as asphalt or concrete.
You may also want to consider swimming for your dog, which still provides exercise without any joint pressure. Back home, install dog-friendly ramps to familiar resting spots like sofas or beds to reduce ligament damage from jumping. Also keeping Fido warm with a blanket as he sleeps will soothe aching joints.
A dog’s joints are as fragile as humans, but pups cannot communicate their pain vocally, so owners must watch for arthritic signs. While not curable, hip and joint pain can be managed. Finding new, restorative routines along with safe supplemental solutions are keys to keeping your best friend happy, healthy and active for as long as possible.