Dogs have lived with humans for over 30,000 years, so it's no wonder they're called man's best friend. Some of us take care of our dogs better than we do ourselves! From cuddles to baths to whole-food homemade dinner diets, it's clear that we love our dogs very much. Joint care for dogs is one of the ways you can show you love them.
A big part of taking care of a dog is ensuring they stay active, healthy and that their joints are taken care of. Joint care for dogs is important because their legs are what help them run through the park, jump into our laps, chase their tails, and scurry around when they have a case of the zoomies; it's vital to their everyday life. Let's take a look at how you can help improve joint care for your pup so they can keep that same energy every day!
Why is Joint Care for Dogs Important?
Movement is key to a dog's wellness. They use their legs to get around, which keeps them in shape, their hearts healthy, their minds stimulated, and most importantly, happy.
In fact, a study by researchers at The University of Liverpool suggests that walking your dog often can help increase their happiness. In other words: joint wellness and mobility go hand in hand!
What Can Happen if You Ignore Your Dog's Joint Health?
Ignoring the health of your dog's joints can be detrimental to their overall well-being and quality of life.
When cartilage (the cushioning tissue between bones) wears down, it can cause swelling and tenderness, making it difficult to move around due to inflammation and stiffness. Other issues can also arise, like infection of joints which also causes tissue damage to joint cartilage.
Common Causes of Reduced Mobility in Dogs
Health issues can arise based on different factors relating to a dog's breed, diet, and lifestyle. These factors can have an impact on how your dog gets around. Limited movement can even cause joint pain, which can raise further health issues down the line.
The most common factors that may lead to your dog developing joint issues are:
- Being a larger breed
- Lack of exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- Poor diet
- Being older
- Repetitive or rigorous movement
- Having previous injuries
- Joint infections
Your dog may hide their pain or discomfort, so it is important to pay attention to any changes in their behavior.
Signs of Declining Dog Joint Health
If your dog is experiencing joint trouble, you will likely notice some of these signs:
- Trouble moving (limping or difficulty getting up after sitting)
- Reluctance to run, jump, or play
- Weight gain
- Loss of muscle mass in rear limbs
- Irritability or discomfort when touched
What Can I Give My Dog for Joint Care?
Proactive measures to prevent health issues rather than restore it can be more beneficial in the long run. So what can you do to make sure your dog is healthy and stays in motion?
Healthy Food Choices
Bumping up the number of healthy foods dogs eat can do them a world of good. Specifically, foods that help with joint swelling, aches, lethargy, and other associated issues come with poor joint health.
A "superfood" is food with high nutritional value and provides multiple benefits linked to preventing certain health issues. Many of the foods that pups already love to eat are considered superfoods! Foods like sweet potatoes and plain, cooked chickpeas are tasty doggy favorites and great sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Blueberries, turmeric, and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory properties that can ease swelling and reduce the pain associated with joint issues and are also dog-friendly when given in appropriate amounts.
Brown rice is also a great diet addition because it contains proteins with amino acids, which are the building blocks for collagen, which helps protect and rebuild broken-down cartilage.
Other great sources of healthy foods that you might want to consider adding to your dog's diet include:
- Peanut butter
- Green beans
All contribute to maintaining a healthy weight and promote overall wellness. Food and treats containing these foods will boost the nutritional value of their diet and taste delicious too! Remember, before changing anything about your dog's routine, be sure to consult a veterinarian first. What is good for most dogs may not be for yours.
Even with a healthy diet, dogs may still need a little help getting all the nutrition they need. Joint wellness products for dogs can be a great way to support joint mobility and overall wellness. Things that promote healthy joints in dogs can include the following:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Amino acids
- Green-lipped mussels
- Glucosamine and chondroitin
- MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)
Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring elements of cartilage. When paired in joint supplements alongside other components, their effects can be boosted. Glucosamine MSM is particularly helpful in treating osteoarthritis issues, reducing inflammation, and repairing the wear and tear caused by exercise.
Hyaluronic acid is another key component of cartilage. It helps retain water in the body, which can help lubricate cells, including those in joint cartilage.
Another beneficial joint supplement to look for is green-lipped mussels, which are a source of glycosaminoglycans amino acids that have been shown in some studies to help with pain related to damaged joint tissues.
In addition to a healthier diet, adding CBD may also aid in joint support for your dog.
There is no single way to make sure your pup has healthy joints, but with the right blend of ingredients, the effects of a healthy diet can go a long way. Adding a little bit of CBD to your dog's daily diet can be a great way to boost the effects of a healthy lifestyle.
Goodies like our HolistaPet Joint and Mobility Care Dog Treats can be a natural way to provide additional assistance for your dog's joints. They contain many superfoods that help better joint wellness, like brown rice flour, pumpkin, and cinnamon. Cinnamon can help reduce swelling, and pumpkin promotes weight loss. And best of all, they're naturally vegan and gluten-free!
For older dogs, our Canine Mobility soft chews can be a gentler treat on their teeth and can aid with joint stiffness, as well as be a tasty addition to their diet. Our CBD oil is rich in antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and protein as a nutrient booster for dog joints and overall wellness.
What to Look For
When looking for supplements for your dog's diet, it is always important to first consult your pet's veterinarian. However, it is important to pay attention to product labels and do thorough research before shopping for anything new.
Some general guidelines include:
- Paying attention to the ingredients and where they come from: Ensuring you only give your dog safe and quality ingredients are key. If a manufacturer is not clear about what a product contains, you may want to reconsider giving them to your dog. Many companies boast about added vitamins and proteins in their products, but knowing your dog's needs and just how effective they can be are vital.
- How much to give your dog: Is the dosage amount clear? Will too much of it have other negative effects on your dog? Narrowing down the correct amount of any nutritional additive for your dog's size, age, breed, and weight should leave no room for confusion.
- How appealing is it to your pup: Dogs have a unique pallet just like we do! Are the ingredients all-natural and delicious-sounding for your four-legged friend? Look for doggy favorites like organic fruits and veggies and mouth-watering proteins that will be sure to get your dog eager for treat time!
- Is the manufacturer transparent about its products?: If you cannot easily find information about lab testing, quality inspection, or research, you may want to rethink buying their products. HolistaPet products come with Certificates of Analysis (COAs) and are veterinarian advisory board approved, giving you confidence in our pet products.
How to Improve Your Dog's Joint Health
It's never too late to start taking care of your dog's joint health! Small changes in your dog's routine can have a huge impact on their joints and quality of life.
Introducing healthy, whole foods and ingredients consistently into daily meals and treats can show a marked improvement for your pup's wellness. Measuring food intake and monitoring what they eat for a balanced diet can help maintain your dog's ideal weight.
A healthier diet can mean more energy and stronger hearts and bones. Giving our dogs the fuel they need to get into shape can positively impact your pet's wellness.
In addition to a better diet, you might also want to consider activities like exercising and daily walks. Overweight and obese dogs are more likely to suffer from joint issues and discomfort due to the strain on their bones. Your best line of defense against deteriorating joint health is making sure your dog is up and moving!
Daily stretching can be a great warm-up for dogs with already stiff hop and joint issues, especially for senior dogs. Ask your veterinarian for some massage techniques to try on your dog. The right stretching can relax the muscles and work out some of the stiffness in their joints. Stretches can ease discomfort and increase the desire to participate in physical activity.
To reduce the impact and strain that rigorous activity can have on their joints, you may want to consider assistive devices. Ramps leading upstairs or to a high couch can ease the strain that elevated climbing or jumping can have on their joint muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
When Should I Go to the Vet?
The second you see anything worrisome about your pet's wellness is a good time to see the vet — after all, they know best! While we as pet parents mean the best, that doesn't mean that we always know what is best, and it is always recommended to seek the advice of a professional first.
Increased lethargy, pain, limping, or difficulty when getting up are all obvious signs to look out for when it comes to joint health issues, but anything different about the way your pet normally acts could be a warning sign as well. Pay close attention to your pet, and always take precautions before making drastic changes to their routine or diet.
Final Thoughts - Joint Care for Dogs
While it is best to start preventative care for joint wellness issues, there is never a bad time to start taking better care of your dog. A diet rich in foods containing amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, along with other superfoods like blueberries, carrots, and green beans, can certainly help you do that.
Whether it is more exercise, taking a supplement, or taking it east, knowing what areas your dog's health can improve on is key. A combination of research, vet visits, and lots of love can be the perfect formula for a healthier, happier dog.