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Have you noticed your senior dog seeming a little stiff lately? The unfortunate reality is that 80% of dogs over the age of 8 (that’s 56 in people years) suffer from joint problems.
With this in mind, we as pet owners need to prepare ourselves to care for and support our dogs if they develop joint problems. From diet to exercise and beyond, there are quite a few simple ways we can promote joint health for dogs.
Read on to learn how to help your pet stay healthy and active for years to come.
Arthritis is the most-common culprit in joint problems in dogs. Arthritis causes inflammation of your dog’s joints and can be extremely painful as it becomes more advanced. Fortunately, certain foods help reduce inflammation and, in turn, keep your dog comfortable and mobile.
Sweet potatoes, alfalfa, blueberries, moringa, celery and papaya all contain antioxidants that fight inflammation, reduce cell damage and build muscle. Working these foods into your dog’s diet could be beneficial for him.
At the same time, you should avoid giving your dog foods that have adverse effects on his joints. Foods containing added sugar, preservatives, grains and corn are thought to have detrimental effects on dogs with arthritis. Sugar and carbohydrates can lead to inflammation, which only aggravates your dog’s joints further. Fatty proteins and omega-6 fatty acids can also have negative effects because they promote weight gain, which is not ideal.
Always consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s diet, since abrupt changes may shock your dog’s system.
Exercise is an important part of promoting joint health in dogs. Not only does exercise help keep your dog lean, so there is less weight on his aging joints; it also keeps him limber and helps prolong his mobility.
Regular, light exercise keeps your dog’s muscles toned, promotes circulation to his joints, and keeps his tendons and ligaments flexible.
You may wish to consult with your veterinarian to ensure you don’t push your dog too hard. However, short, low-impact exercise sessions are likely to be beneficial to your pet. This includes activities like short walks, swimming and gentle play.
After each activity session, take note of how your dog seems to feel. If he’s completely flattened, make your next exercise session a little shorter. If he seems to experience discomfort, consider a different type of activity. It may take some experimentation before you find the right routine.
In addition to managing your dog’s diet and exercise, you might want to consider supplements, which may be helpful in promoting healthy joints. Substances like fish oil and coconut oil are thought to fight inflammation while helping to lubricate joints. Spices like turmeric and ginger are believed to be natural pain relievers.
CBD products also might help maintain joint mobility. Purity Preferred offers a proprietary Hip & Joint Formula that was designed specifically to support joint mobility in dogs and might help reduce discomfort associated with daily exercise and activity.
Remember: While these substances may be beneficial, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian before incorporating anything new into your dog’s diet.
While aging is inevitable, you can do a few things to help prolong your dog’s joint health and mobility for as long as possible.
Keep your dog active — exercise promotes strong muscles and bones, as well as healthy joints and a myriad of other health benefits.
Feeding your dog a healthy diet is another way to prolong his joint health. Don’t load him up on empty calories. Instead, consult with your veterinarian to find a balanced diet filled with wholesome, natural ingredients. Adjust your dog’s diet as he ages to ensure he receives the nutrients he needs for his current life stage.
Finally, ensure your dog maintains a healthy body weight throughout his life. Obesity can cause stress on your dog’s joints and lead to a host of other health problems. If your dog stays lean and active, he is much more likely to age gracefully and comfortably.
There might not be a formula for eternal youth, but with a healthy diet regular exercise routine, and the right supplements, you and your dog are sure to have many more rewarding years ahead.
Janine DeVault is a freelance pet writer, animal rescue advocate, and former celebrity dog walker. She lives in Mexico with her three rescue pets: Maia, Fosi, and Kesi.
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