Just like humans, as our dogs get older, they get to the point where the mind is willing but the body isn’t quite as able!
Not surprisingly it’s the joints that take the brunt of it, as they have to support the body 24/7, whether at work, play or relaxing. I know that our glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM based supplement for dogs helps alleviate the pain and increases the flexibility in damaged or arthritic joints.
Unfortunately, many people think they are being kind to their ageing, aching pooch by curbing their exercise and giving them a supplement to help ease the pain, without realizing that they could actually be making things worse for the pet they love so much. Joint supplements MUST go hand in hand (or paw in paw!) with exercise, which is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay.
In addition, there are other things you can do to help take the strain off your old faithful’s joints and prevent painful accidents that could worsen their condition.
So, if you’ve got an ageing pooch suffering with stiffness or arthritis, or one that has previously undergone surgery for broken bones or torn ligaments, please check out the top tips below and see if you can help stop your furry best friend suffering in silence.
Top Tips to Help Ease Your Dog’s Painful Joints
● Exercise for shorter periods but at regular intervals
Exercise is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay.
Pain reduces mobility, which leads to muscle wastage and weakening of the surrounding ligaments and tendons; the joints then become less stable, leading to more wear & tear, more joint decay and more pain.
Exercise is therefore essential to keep the muscle tone necessary to support the joints, prevent the decay from worsening and lessen their pain.
Keep your fido active but take care not to over exert – your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the length and frequency of exercise based on your furry friend’s condition.
● Provide a cushioned bed and position away from drafts
Most dogs sleep 12 hours a day. Ease your pet’s pain by adding extra fleece or blankets to their bed, and be sure to keep their bed away from windows and other drafty locations.
● Apply a warm water bottle for 15 minutes twice a day
This relaxes the muscles and also promotes blood circulation for faster healing. You can easily tuck one under their blanket when they go to rest after exercise and believe me, dogs love this comfort just as much as us humans!
● Help them with obstacles and heights
So they can continue to enjoy their exercise and woodland walks, why not treat them to a harness coat with a strong handle, so you can help them out of water, lift them over obstacles like fallen trees, in and out of vehicles and up steps, without putting pressure on painful joints. Also, attaching the leash to the harness provides more control, helps to stop them pulling and relieves strain on their neck. Another great bonus is the harness will help keep them dry, warm and promote good blood circulation at the same time!
Jumping up onto porches or even into the car trunk can be even more difficult and painful, as they put more weight on their hind legs. For larger dogs, lifting them up may not be an option if they are too heavy for you (or you may be suffering from aching joints yourself!) In this case a ramp is an ideal solution to provide a gradient they can manage and help you at the same time.
● Provide traction on slippery floors
Dogs, especially those with hip dysplasia, often have a hard time on slippery floors, such as vinyl, polished wood, tile or laminate, so lay carpet down or put a pet gate to keep them out of the area.
If your dog doesn’t travel in a crate, then you can install carpet or a non-slip liner on the back seat or cargo area of larger vehicles, SUVs, station wagons and vans, to provide better stability for your 4-legged friend and prevent them from being thrown around when you’re on the move.
● Keep your dog out of damp, chilly weather
It’s not actually the cold and wet that causes the problem but fluid pressure within the joint. It’s the drop in atmospheric pressure that allows the joint tissues to swell, causing stiffness and discomfort. It’s not always possible to walk your dog at the most favorable times of the day, so just make sure they are kept warm or maybe consider indoor alternatives.
Swimming allows the natural movement of muscles and joints in a buoyant environment and helps to build muscle around diseased joints, which in turn relieves the pressure on them when walking or running. The water’s warmer too so blood vessels can do their job properly, supplying healing nutrients to muscles and skin. It certainly helped my dog’s recovery from a cruciate ligament operation and it’s also a fun way to help a slightly porky pooch lose weight!
Important: Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s suitability for hydrotherapy, just in case there’s a valid reason why they should not swim arm or maybe consider indoor alternatives.
Massage the muscles around your dog’s hip joints, gently rubbing in a circular motion with your fingertips for ten minutes at the most. BUT pay attention to your companion’s response – If massage seems to irritate your dog’s hip, don’t continue.
● Healthy Balanced Diet
Weight control is very important as extra weight puts more stress on the joints. A FidoActive supplement nugget can be given as a healthy treat instead of their normal titbits, so your best friend won’t think they’re in the ‘dog house’!
● Positioning of feeding stations
Dog arthritis can be prevalent in any major joint; if your dog has shoulder or neck pain, raise up their water and food dishes so they don’t have to bend over.
● Regular Check-ups
Remember to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian – not all conditions are visible to the eye in the early stages and you could save your best friend a lot of unnecessary pain.
I hope you find some of these tips help you to manage your dog’s pain and help them enjoy a happier and more active life.
Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always!
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