How to keep your dog’s joints healthy

  • Posted on
  • By Robin Vorrink
How to keep your dog’s joints healthy

Joint problems are very common for dogs. Usually only at a later age, but young dogs can also suffer from it. Some breeds are more prone to joint problems than others. Especially large dogs are susceptible. In this blog you can read what kinds of joint problems there are, how they arise, how to recognize them and finally how to prevent and treat them.

Different types

The most common type when it comes to joint problems, is osteoarthritis. This is a joint deterioration that arises from incorrect or excessive strain on the joints.

Osteoarthritis can be associated with hip dysplasia. Especially fast-growing, large dogs are often susceptible to hip dysplasia. In this issue, the head of the hip joint no longer fits properly into its socket. This can cause a lot of pain.

Elbow dysplasia is also very common, especially in larger dogs. In this condition the bone in the elbow is incorrectly developed. As a result, the bones in the elbow do not fit properly  together which can lead to splintering of bones or pieces of cartilage. These remain wandering in the elbow, which is very painful for your pet.


Causes

Dogs can develop joint problems from an early age, especially if there is a genetic predisposition. This can be caused by too much or improper activity as a fast-growing puppy, such as long walks, lots of jumping, climbing stairs and cornering. Too much walking on slippery surfaces also puts a wrong kind of strain on the joints of your dog.

Some breeds are prone to joint problems. Among these breeds are for example Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Bulldogs. These breeds require additional attention to the prevention of joint problems.

Obesity also increases the risk of joint problems.

There are also acute causes for joint problems, such as slipping, falling or an accident. The risk of injury can be made significantly smaller if your dog gets the proper nutrition and exercise.


Symptoms

Dogs that suffer from joint problems, can show the following symptoms:
 

  • Trouble getting up, especially after long periods of inactivity / are (starting pain)
  • Walking with stiff legs or limping
  • Gets tired easily while walking
  • Whining or growling when moving a joint a certain way

Prevention

When purchasing a puppy, it’s important to check what the genetic abnormalities are within the breed. It is also important that your dog gets proper nutrition, without unnecessary additives like calcium. Young dogs that receive the wrong food may grow too quickly, giving them an increased risk of joint problems. The feed must contain the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus, and possibly anti-inflammatory fatty acids so that your dog receives the proper nutrients to grow in a healthy way. Also, make sure your dog stays at a healthy weight by giving them the proper amount of food and enough movement.

Furthermore, it is important that your dog doesn’t make too long walks as a puppy. An easy rule of thumb for the walking time in minutes for a puppy is the age of the puppy in weeks. This way, the walking time gets a little bit longer each week so that the joints of your puppy can develop in a healthy way.

If your dog is prone to joint problems, it is wise to have a rough surface in the house so that the risk gets limited.


Treatment

If you notice that your dog is moving less flexibly or has difficulty standing up, you can choose to give your animal a special dietary feed such as Royal Canin Mobility C2P+. For the best results, it’s recommended to give the food for a minimum period of six weeks. Another option is to continue using the dog’s regular diet, combined with supplements such as Fortiflex, Seraquin or Doils Joint. When the symptoms are more severe or if you don’t trust the situation, a visit to the vet is recommended.


A dog with healthy joints is a happy dog!


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