We all slow down as we get older. But it’s tough to watch your dog find walking and playing problematic as arthritis or joint pain creep in. It can be even harder if your dog starts finding it difficult to get around while they’re still young.
Adjusting your dog’s diet and lifestyle can help look after their joints, ease their pain, and keep them moving. Here’s our veterinary and nutritionist team’s top advice for incorporating joint care into your dog’s routine.
What’s good for dogs with arthritis?
Joint care support for dogs should include:
Being overweight puts more strain on joints, making them stiffer and more painful – so keeping your dog at a healthy weight is an important part of joint care.
A balanced diet
Food that’s packed with joint-supporting nutrients like omega-3 and natural supportive supplements can help joints move more smoothly.
Gentle, regular exercise is hugely important, even for very arthritic dogs. Moving around helps keep joints from seizing, and builds up supportive muscle for strength and healthy movement. Swimming can be especially good for joints, as long as your dog isn’t running and jumping into the water.
Physiotherapy can increase the range of movements and strengthen muscle support without putting joints under too much stress. Hydrotherapy is similar, but done in warm water – so it’s even gentler on joints.
What foods are good for dogs with arthritis?
Foods that are beneficial for dogs with arthritis include:
Fish and fish oil – rich in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that’s clinically proven to reduce inflammation in joints
Lower calorie choices – help keep your dog’s weight under control to avoid putting unnecessary strain on joints
Sweet potato, blueberries, tomatoes and peas – ingredients like these contain good levels of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E. Studies suggest these can help support joint health – cartilage health in particular. They can also help improve recovery time after exercise.
Joint care becomes more important as dogs age, so foods for senior dogs often include ingredients like these – but they’re unlikely to be in the balance your dog needs. At tails.com, we do things differently. If you tell us your dog needs joint support, we don’t just add a ‘standard’ amount – we work out the best level for your dog’s life stage.
The amount dogs need changes as they get older, so we make sure their food does too – evolving into a blend with everything your senior dog needs over time, rather than with a sudden, diet-disrupting switch.
What can I give my dog for joint pain?
When it comes to dog joint care, natural supplements can make a big difference. Depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, there are also safe and effective medication options that could significantly improve your dog’s quality of life.
What are the best natural supplements for dogs arthritis?
- Glucosamine – provides the building blocks for collagen, cartilage and joint fluid – all essential for maintaining healthy joints.
- Chondroitin – an anti-inflammatory, a source of cartilage-boosting nutrients, and a blocker of destructive enzymes that break down cartilage in the joints.
- MSM (short for Methylsulfonylmethane) – an organic form of sulphur that can have an anti-inflammatory effect, which helps support joint health.
Helpfully, tails.com dogs don’t need to take these supplements separately. We can include exactly the right amounts in their tailor-made food. For adults we slowly increase levels of joint support over time, and for older dogs who are at risk of age-related arthritis we take these levels up further still.
We do all the sums, so there’s no dinnertime weighing or counting – just a handy adjustable portion scoop that serves the recommended amount, every time. Not only does this keep supplements in the correct servings, it helps keep dogs at a healthy weight, to avoid any unnecessary strain on their joints.
Before you reach for any of the other herbal remedies us humans find helpful, be aware that many aren’t proven to have the same effects in dogs – so it’s always best to check with your vet first.
Can medication help?
Every dog is different, so always check with your vet. If your dog’s joint pain is severe, they may suggest medication to soothe inflammation and ease soreness. Regular trips to the vet are a must for dogs as they get older or develop stiff joints – even if it’s not clear they’re in any pain. Your vet will let you know exactly how often your dog needs a check-up.
How can I prevent my dog from getting joint problems?
Joint pain is something almost all dogs experience – through genetics or as a symptom of old age. Sadly you can’t prevent it altogether. But you can help keep your dog’s joints healthier for longer.
From a young age:
Make sure you include plenty of joint-friendly ingredients.
2. Keep them trim
Staying at a healthy weight reduces strain on joints and the risk of problems later on.
3. Avoid extreme exercise
Like jumping from heights, or high impact activity or prolonged running on hard surfaces. Building up fitness with regular exercise instead of intense activity once a week helps joints in the long term.
4. Treat injuries quickly
So there’s less risk of them turning into a long-term problem.
5. Super-soft bedding
The bouncier the better, as this will keep your dog’s joints from pressing against the floor.
Once you start noticing problems:
- Reduce exercise
Stick to whatever your dog can manage – but don’t cut it out altogether. Shorter, slower walks will help keep your dog mobile, so fit these in as often as you can.
2. Introduce doggy ramps
Steps into the house or jumping in to the car boot can be tough on sore, stiff joints.
3. Avoid obstacles
Slipping or tripping is even more painful with sore joints. Make sure flooring is non-slip, and that there are no raised doorways or other tricky obstacles for your dog to navigate in their day-to-day life.
All the above are great ways to keep your dog active for as long as possible. Want more tailored advice about joint support for dogs? Get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org), with our vet and nutritionist team – they know all there is to know about helping your dog move around more easily.