Much like horses, joints are a vital part of our dogs’ skeletal systems. Your dog’s joints allow them to keep up with the active lifestyle that so many of us live, but as a result, their joints can experience lot of wear and tear as well. Learn more about the common joint concerns in dogs and how a proactive care approach can help keep your pup moving comfortably well into their senior years.
Types of Joint Concerns in Dogs
Developmental joint problems are caused by improper development of the joints while your dog is young, which is often rooted in their genetics, and may result in more serious injuries. Many breeds are predisposed to some variety of joint issues that can cause them pain. While these issues are more commonly known in large dogs, smaller breeds can be predisposed as well.
Degenerative joint issues are caused by repeated use over time of your dog's joints, including the wearing down of cartilage or the injury of tendons. While this can be a natural part of aging, it shouldn’t be ignored as it can cause irritation and pain. Dogs with very active lifestyles may experience an increased rate of wear and tear that can lead to injuries down the road.
Keep in mind any age and any breed can experience joint concerns, even if they have the energy of a puppy or appear to be stoic, the signs of discomfort may be subtle.
Common Signs of Joint Discomfort:
- Irritability or Depression
- Loss of Appetite
- Favoring a leg such as limping or lifting in the air
- Difficulty trying to sit down or stand up
- Struggling to jump into the car
- Frequent slipping
- Licking, chewing, or biting at the area
If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog, it is a good idea to work with your veterinarian. While the specific treatments will vary from case to case, the main goal should be to try to help get them back to their regular level of activity and mobility.
Preventative Care for your Dog’s Joints
Work Closely with your Vet.
Developing a preventative care plan with your dog's vet can go a long way in keeping your dog’s joints in good shape for years to come. It is best take preventative measures early to maintain health rather than attempt to restore it after problems arise.
Start a Proper Diet Early On.
Owners that feed too much or feed too rich of a diet during the puppy stage can cause them to gain weight faster than their bones can handle, which can lead to orthopedic problems as they get older. Routine vet visits can also help ensure early detection of any joint related concerns.
Provide Consistent Exercise.
This is especially important for your dog's long-term health, as well-developed muscles around their joints will actually help to reduce the load joints have to bear themselves. This goes hand in hand with maintaining a healthy weight for your dog. Obesity can put strain on their joints resulting in faster wear and tear. Keeping your dog trim not only helps prevent issues from occurring, but can also help alleviate discomfort for dogs already experiencing joint concerns.
Consider a Joint Supplement.
At MVP, we know our dogs are family, and we want to ensure they’re happy, healthy, and comfortable. We believe starting your pup on a joint supplement can help keep your dog moving fluid and comfortably throughout all stages of life. Some of the best ingredients to look for in a joint supplement include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, and Hyaluronic Acid to help maintain joint cartilage and connective tissues. Our canine supplements are formulated with these key ingredients to target joint health and offered as chewable tablets and meal form. Learn more about MVP’s Fido-Flex HA tablets and Fido-Flex HA meal.