As we age, things that used to be difficult become harder. Running, walking, or even sitting can all be painful. It is the same for our pets, the only difference being that they cannot tell us about it. Although we cannot reverse the effects of aging in our canine friends, it is possible to ensure their joints remain as healthy as possible. So, in this article, we are going to look at some things you can do to keep your dog active and enthusiastic as long as possible.
Make Necessary Accommodations
As dogs grow older, they also become heavier, even if they are within their recommended weight brackets. Because of this, they end up putting a lot of strain on their joints when doing things like jumping on the sofa. To reduce the risk of dogs injuring themselves, it is a great idea to make a few necessary adjustments.
Installing ramps is a great option for smaller and aging dogs. Ramps or steps can be installed close to beds, furniture, or be kept in the car to make it easier for your dog to get on and off. If you have steps leading to your house, you should also consider installing ramps to help your dog.
Slippery floors can cause issues for aging dogs or those with joint issues. This is because, as a dog tries to slow down while running, the extra effort required to slow down on a slippery floor can put a lot of strain on their joints. Laying rugs, switching to pet-friendly flooring, or using traction strips are all great options you can explore.
Adjust Their Diet
Certain dog breeds can grow and gain weight too fast, which puts a lot of strain on their immature joints. Adult dogs can also put on a lot of weight if they are overfed or fed the wrong type of food. Obesity strains the joints and can make it harder for dogs to exercise as a way of keeping their ideal weight.
Choosing the correct diet can also help slow down the progression of joint problems such as arthritis or even help prevent these joint problems.
Incorporate Supplements Into Their Diets
As your dog ages, it is advisable to include supplements as part of their diet. Depending on the ingredients in the supplements, the supplement you choose can make your pets healthier and ensure they have fewer joint problems as they age.
The supplement you choose should contain ingredients that help support cartilage, tendon, and ligament health to support joint health and mobility. The supplement should contain glucosamine (to help support the production of cartilage), chondroitin (to help support glucosamine as an absorption aid), and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is especially important because it is a natural part of the fluid that cushions the joints of your furry friend. Supplements that contain hyaluronic acid for dogs, therefore, are an integral part of helping lubricate the joints and aid their function.
The supplements should also contain other beneficial ingredients such as Vitamins E and C (which are important antioxidants) and manganese. This health guide by YuMOVE does a great job of explaining why all of these ingredients are important for the health of your pet’s joints and how they work together to enhance joint health and ease mobility. YuMOVE makes joint support products for dogs so they can run, play, walk, climb, and play with ease. YuMOVE also creates hip and joint supplements for dogs under veterinary care and is involved in getting aging and less-active dogs moving.
Exercise Them Right
Exercise plays a major role in determining the longevity of your pet’s health. The two main reasons why you should exercise your dog is to help them maintain a healthy weight and to help slow down the rate of decline of their joints and muscles.
Exercising your dog to help them lose weight is fairly straightforward but trying to slow the eventual muscle and joint decline requires a more nuanced approach. One approach that is gaining a lot of popularity is hydrotherapy or swimming. Water-based activities help your dog work their muscles and joints while eliminating the impact that comes from activities such as walking or running.
Switch up their walks. Walking your dog is a great way to exercise them but you might have to adjust your routine as they age. For example, older dogs would benefit more from walking in the park than they would from walking on a steep incline.
For older dogs, it is a good idea to avoid throwing Frisbees or balls too high. Doing so compels your dog to jump, which might end up causing an injury or aggravating stiff joints.
Lastly, try to avoid hard pivoting or jerking when your dog is on a leash because this can burden their joints. If this is a problem, try alternative exercises.
Keep Them Moving
Even as you adjust your dog’s exercise routines and activities, it is important to keep them moving. Joint problems and arthritis usually follow a cycle. If a dog is in pain, they might stop exercising, which leads to weight gain. The increased weight can put extra strain on the joints and make the cause of the initial pain worse.
Gentle exercise is recommended in dogs that are in pain, helps them keep their ideal weight, and has been shown to help them feel better. Also, exercise increases the amount of joint lubrication which can help ease pain caused by issues such as arthritis.
Treat Issues that Come Up
You should take your dog to the vet if you suspect they are injured. This can help ensure the problem does not get out of control and prevent any joint issues that may have been caused by the injury. Dogs that have been in serious accidents, such as falls or being hit by a car, need special treatment, lots of rest, or even surgery to ensure they regain their mobility once they heal.
Give Them a Massage
Many dog owners do not know about the concept of offering their dogs a massage. Just as with humans, your pet’s joints stiffen when they sleep especially if they are older. It is, therefore, a good idea to give them a gentle massage after they wake up to help loosen them up.
Professional dog massage therapists are also an option to explore. A professional massage can help reduce pain and increase flexibility and circulation.
Schedule Regular Vet Visits
Although there is a lot you can do to ensure your dog’s joints remain healthy and young, there are a lot of benefits that come with taking your pet to the veterinary regularly. Regular vet examinations can ensure the early detection of joint problems. This gives the vet a chance to diagnose the exact issue and help you come with a treatment and recovery plan.
Additionally, the vet can teach you how to recognize pain and discomfort so you can bring your pet in for a check-up as soon as you notice anything out of the ordinary.
While joint issues will likely come up as your dog ages, there is a lot you can do to put them off as long as possible or ease your dog’s pain and discomfort if they appear. Although you might have to make some adjustments or schedule vet visits, all of it is worth it for your faithful furry friend.