Joint Health for Dogs: How to Keep Your Furry Friend up to Speed
Your dog’s joints are built for activity. Whether it's running, jumping, or romping around, our canine companions' joints are designed to keep your dog moving. As pet parents, we love to join in on the fun. Regular releases of energy are not only a ton of fun, they're a great way to help our furry friends maintain an active lifestyle.
Of course, those joints can only go so far without some help. Over time, all that activity and playtime will impact your best friend's joints. Those aches and pains can not only slow your dog down, but also cause him to abandon the activities he loved in the past. That's why it's absolutely essential that we do what we can to help support our best friend's joints.
Good joint health is crucial to the well-being of our canine pals. Whether your dog is a new addition or a longtime family member, it is important to learn about joint health in dogs and how we can help our best friends. Here is what you should know about joint health in dogs, and how you can support your dog’s joints.
What Signs Indicate My Dog Needs Joint Support?
Like people, dogs have cartilage in their joints. This cartilage covers and protects the joints, allowing your dog to move without discomfort. Like many parts of the body, cartilage can be affected by natural wear and tear or certain injuries that can worsen any joints problems. These problems can include arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other serious issues.
Your dog may not be able to talk, but there are ways for him to communicate. For example, walking slower or not going up and down stairs are two big indicators that your dog may benefit from joint health support. You may also notice:
- He stands up slowly after sleeping
- He doesn’t jump on the couch or into the car as easily or often as before
- He won’t run or play as long or as much as in the past
- He lags behind when you go out for walks
Are Certain Dogs More Prone to Joint Health Problems?
Just like their human counterparts, senior dogs are more likely to deal with joint stiffness and pain than their younger cohorts. Your dog is simply not as likely to have that same spring in his step after years of boundless energy and laps around the yard. That is why it is especially important to monitor joint health for dogs, as they get older. In addition to wear and tear seen in older dogs, joint issues can also be hereditary, showing up even in young dogs.
As your furry friend ages, his joints may not be able to keep up with his need for speed, often slowing him down during normal activities. Many pet parents assume that their dog getting older and slowing down is inevitable, when your older dog may really need some joint health support.
While dogs of all sizes may experience the aches and pains of joint problems, certain types of dogs are more likely to deal with these types of issues. Larger breeds, such as Golden Retrievers and Saint Bernards, are more prone to issues like hip dysplasia. In addition, overweight dogs will naturally put more pressure on their joints. Dogs with longer backbones and shorter legs, including Dachshunds and Basset Hounds, can have back problems due to the way they carry their weight.
How to Keep Your Dog's Joints Healthy: 3 Ways to Support Your Friend
Nobody wants to see their furry friend dealing with the aches and pains associated with joint issues. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can help support your dog’s joint health and a variety of ways dogs can benefit.
Joint health additions
Adding products that are specifically formulated to support joint health and immune function, like Bil-Jac BreakThru® Joint Health Formula, is an excellent first step. BreakThru Joint Health is made with calcium, vitamin D, and protein to help support healthy joint and musculoskeletal functions in your dog. BreakThru also contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
As with any hip and joint product for your dog, you will need to follow the instructions closely and give BreakThru to your furry friend once a day for the best results. BreakThru Joint Health & Immune Function Formula is available regionally. Find a store near you by using the Bil-Jac Store Locator or call Customer Service for further assistance at 1-800-321-1002 if there is not a store near you.
Safe exercise habits
Exercise is a tricky balancing act when your dog has joint pain. Too much exercise can wear down your buddy’s joints or worsen existing conditions. Too little exercise, and your dog isn’t getting the activity he needs to keep his muscles strong and maintain a healthy weight.
If your dog is showing signs of joint issues, you’ll need to modify his exercise routine to give his joints a break. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can keep your pup active while protecting his joints:
- Avoid high impact exercises if you notice signs of joint pain. Activities with a lot of running and jumping can pose problems.
- Focus on short activity sessions instead of long periods of exercise. For example, try taking several short walks instead of a long one.
- Swimming is a great way for your dog to stay active without putting nearly as much pressure on his body. Just make sure to practice water safety while you have fun!
- Indoor games can limit the amount of exertion on joints without sacrificing on stimulation. Try out some fun indoor activities like hide and seek or teaching your dog a new trick.
- It never hurts to relax. Make sure your dog has a nice, comfy spot to stay after exercising. A nice massage can also help him relax and be comfortable.
Reduced fat dog food for joint health support
No pet parent wants to see their dog experiencing discomfort because of an unhealthy diet or lifestyle. The more your dog weighs, the more pressure he’ll feel on his joints. Obesity also leads to other serious health issues as well, which adds even more importance to mealtime.
If your dog is overweight it's time to revisit what he has for dinner. One of the best ways to help support your dog’s healthy weight is to feed your furry friend a food with lower fat. Dry dog foods such as Bil-Jac Reduced Fat can help your dog maintain a healthy weight and ease the burden on your dog’s joints.
Support around the house
Certain obstacles are a bit harder to deal with when your dog deals with joint pain. One way to support your four-legged friend is to make his living environment a little friendlier on his joints.
There are many products to help your dog be more comfortable if they are experiencing discomfort. Supportive bedding, ramps to get into cars, and steps are all different ways to improve mobility and make it easier on your dog's joint challenges. Take some time to think about the different obstacles that your dog faces in your home. By making a few adjustments, you can spare his joints some extra work and make his day a lot more comfortable.
Adding the Pep Back into Your Dog’s Everyday Life
It’s never fun for pet parents to watch their four-legged family members slow down at any age, but a little awareness of joint health and how to support the dogs we love can go a long way! With a little extra information and a whole lot of love, we can do what we can to protect our precious pooches and help them live long, happy lives.